HGA and Medical Weight Loss

Each week we’ll be pulling out one of your emails from our mail bag and featuring them here. Feel free to submit as many questions as you would like. All questions having to do with Nutrition, Weight Loss and Obesity-related health conditions are fair game.

“Dr. Kim,

I see so many places that offer HCG for weight loss? Why do you not offer it? Does it not help with weight loss?"

- Laurie T., Rancho Santa Margarita, California

Dear Laurie:

This is a question I get asked frequently during my lectures. The answer is unequivocal—HCG does not benefit weight loss in any way.   

HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It’s also commonly known as the human pregnancy hormone. The urine pregnancy test that people use to check if they are pregnant detects HCG in the urine.

It was first brought to national attention by a British physician named Albert Simeons. He had used it in conjunction with an extremely low calorie diet (500 calories per day) for weight loss. Although he never conducted formative studies on the use of HCG for weight loss, he published a book in 1954 describing the methods he used to help people lose weight. It became popular because he reportedly had helped many celebrities lose weight using this method.

There have been subsequent studies looking at the use of HCG for weight loss. There were several scientific papers published in the 1970s that compared the use of HCG against a placebo and found that there were no differences in the amount of weight loss. In a report evaluating several studies of HCG for weight loss, a well known obesity researcher, George Bray, M.D. stated that, “Four double-blind studies have shown that HCG has no significant effect on weight.”

So if HCG has been proven, so clearly, not to help with weight loss, why do so many weight loss clinics offer it? Two reasons: hope and marketing. As you know, many people are willing to try just about anything to get a tiny waist or lose weight in general. When something exotic such as this comes along, people are hopeful that this will be the magic bullet that helps them lose weight. On the other side of the coin, you have people like Kevin Trudeau. He published several books (Weight Loss Cures and Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About), which tout the benefits of such “natural” remedies as HCG. Both books made it on the Amazon and New York Times bestsellers list. However, Mr. Trudeau was convicted of a felony in 2007 for making fraudulent claims in his books.

So that’s the skinny on HCG. It’s a supplement that has gained a lot of notoriety and given hope to a lot of hopeful people. However, it’s been clearly proven to have no effect on weight loss.

Visit our weekend weight loss center!

Leave your comment
Created on: 11/25/2012 8:44 AM
What is the name of the pills you prescribe?