H-C-G Diet. Is it too good to be true?

Imagine being able to lose weight from all your trouble spots: Belly, hips, thighs and arms, all without feeling hungry.

Sound too good to be true?

Some doctors say it is, but a growing portion of medical professionals disagree and are offering the diet at their practice.

Tammy Settles was 180 pounds heavier just one year ago when she turned to is the HCG Diet.

HCG is a pregnancy hormone that, among other things, burns the mom's belly fat to feed the baby if the mother isn't getting enough nutrients.

Now women who aren't pregnant, and men as well, are using that hormone, giving themselves daily injections while only eating 500 calories a day.

"Making them put on a 500 calorie diet, to make it look like they're starving, so that the body thinks it has to feed the baby," explains Dr. Peter Fontinos.

Dr. Fontinos is the medical director of Revita Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He's treated hundreds of patients, who believe it or not, say they are not hungry while on the HCG diet.

"In actuality you're not eating just 500 calories, you're eating 500 calories plus your own body fat which is equivalent to 1500, 4000 calories," he says.

Other doctors say there's no clinical evidence the diet works.

"It's very clear from more than a dozen studies that the hormone does nothing, but it's really 500 calorie a day diet that causes dramatic short term weight loss," says Dr. Louis Aronne, Director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at NY-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

This use of the hormone is not FDA approved.

Representatives for the agency say, "HCG has not been demonstrated to be an effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity."

Still, supporters say patients provide all the proof.

"The success rate is 99.9% here at the clinic, the success rate with other fad diets is nominal," says Revita Aging CEO Don Nicholas.

The diet costs roughly $1,000 per session.

Patients following the diet are on the injections and restricted diet for at least 26 days, but no more than 40.

There are risks involved including an increased risk for blood clots, depression, and a life-threatening condition called ovarian hyperstimulation.

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  • by Willow Location: Bay County on Mar 29, 2011 at 05:14 PM
    I have been on the HCG diet off and on over the past year. I take the injections and stick to the 500 calorie diet. I know it doesn't sound like a lot but you learn what you can eat and you're not hungry.You can still eat your three meals a day and there's very low calorie desserts that are delicious out there. All the Smart One meals and Lean Cusine meals are actually really good. I am a firm believer in this diet. I have lost over fifty pounds. I have been on every diet there is and taken every diet pill known to man and this is the only thing that provided positive results. This diet definitely works and I've experienced no side effects what so ever!!! I am definitely a fan of this diet.
  • by AL Location: FL on Mar 29, 2011 at 01:55 PM
    I would be inclined to think the weight loss is due to the 500 calorie per day intake. If i remember correctly the recommended calorie intake for the average male is 2500, and 2000 for females. So the 500 calorie per day on this diet is less than 1/4 of the recomended. It does not help that most fast food lunches usually end up being over 1200 calories by its self. Then go back to school or work and end up sitting at a desk. HMMMM cant understand where the extra pounds are coming from.
  • by sam Location: pc on Mar 29, 2011 at 01:00 PM
    Danger, Will Robinson, danger! Anytime you put any drug or chemical in your body, you are playing Russian Roulette. As the old saying goes, "Just don't do it!".
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