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Hurt by the hCG Diet - What You Should Know about a Very Dangerous Diet

Updated on January 7, 2015
Apple With Tear Photo
Apple With Tear Photo | Source

The Start of the New Year

Ah, New Year's Day, that special time of year when people start looking forward to all the positive changes they might make in their lives. It is also during this time of year when your Facebook wall will fill up with friends and family 'selling' you a diet that has *really* changed their lives.

Ah, yes, I was roped into the homeopathic hCG diet during this time of year. I've shared My Story, and over the last couple years, I was surprised by how many others have been hurt by the hCG diet as well. That page has just grown to long with all I have learned about this diet.

If you are feeling pushed into this diet (and more than a 1,000 people on my other page have said somebody has tried to talk them into it), this page is for you. I am creating this page because my other page is just getting too long and the amount of information showing what a terrible diet this is keeps growing. I will be covering a bit of the same information as is on my story page. It is important to know this diet is illegal and, if you are using homeopathic drops, there is no real hCG in your drops.

Because the hCG Diet is an illegal diet, no posts advocating its use will be allowed. Forums promoting this diet are notorious for only allowing only pro-hCG comments. They delete any negative side effects posts. This page is to get a more balanced view of a diet that has hurt many people including myself.

The hCG Diet is Illegal

I have to mention this right off the bat. If there is actual hCG in the product, that makes it an illegal drug. If somebody is selling an hCG diet product, they are selling an illegal drug. Taken from the FDA's website:

"The FDA is warning consumers that over the counter HCG products marketed as weight loss aids are unproven and illegal."

For most people, buying or taking an illegal drug is reason enough to skip this diet.

Knowing that homeopathic hCG is illegal, would you still take it?

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I will not starve for this, but I will work hard for this. It may take longer doing it the healthy and right way. But it will last longer this way. It will be better. And I will be happy. Happy and beautiful.

— unknown

No Real hCG in Your Drops!

image courtesy of BonnieBBX/Pixabay
image courtesy of BonnieBBX/Pixabay | Source

For most people, the thought of purchasing an illegal drug is enough to make them shy away from this diet. But, here is the rub, there is no real hCG in your drops (if the measurements are anything like this 3x, 6x, 12x, 24x, 60x).

Like most people, I didn't understand what the measurements on my own bottle meant. Now I know and would like to share what I have learned. I shared more about this on my hCG story page but this is important to know if you are considering this diet.


If your hCG bottle has something like 3x, 6x, 12x, 24x, 60x, then you have homeopathic hCG (AKA no REAL hCG). The 'x' following each number tells you how many times it has been diluted (and shaken). So 60x would mean that the original substance has been diluted 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. According to Wikipedia's page on homeopathic dilutions:

"60x - on average, this would require giving two billion doses per second to six billion people for 4 billion years to deliver a single molecule of the original material to any patient."


So, if there is no hCG in there, what is going on? According to that same page on Wikipedia. at these measurements, the emphasis is a 'spiritual' one:

"Those favoring high dilutions emphasised vital force,and a spiritualinterpretation of disease."

Apparently, the original molecule of hCG has imprinted itself on those billions and billions of drops of water and left a 'spirit-like' essence. I have found websites that compare this to magic, voodoo, a part of new age beliefs. I know my own Christian beliefs would have prevented me from doing this had I known it was illegal but had I understand the underlying belief system behind these drops, I never would have tried this diet.

With no real hCG in the homeopathic drops...

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Because You Need To Know This - hCG Side Effects

So, based on the bottles themselves, we now realize that homeopathic hCG drops do not really have hCG in them but I've talked to women who say they are getting the real thing overseas or through injections. I've read over and over, even if you get your hCG overseas, and it is real, the molecules are still too big to absorb under the tongue so I think any oral hCG is a placebo but, still, here you go. Please, take a moment to really read about what hCG can do to you and, no matter what, please talk to your physician before beginning any fad diet, especially one as dangerous as this.

Drugs.com's Information on hCG

A Dangerous Crash Diet

Yes! The hCG Diet is a Crash Diet (AKA Fad Diet)

I had somebody recently claim that the hCG Diet was NOT a fad diet. Don't fall for it! The hCG Diet is the epitome of a dangerous fad diet.

(taken from Five Ways to Spot a Fad Diet)

A Fad Diet

- drastically cuts calories. Yes, eating 400-600 calories is not only drastically cutting calories. It is dangerous and don't buy the hype that this pulls calories from fat. My doctor said my body was cannibalizing my vital organs on this diet.

- gimmicky. Any diet using special powders, drops or what have you is gimmicky. Studies show that people taking water drops as a placebo lost the same amount of weight.

- only allowed certain combos of food. The hCG diet really limits what you can eat and is very specific on what and when to eat.

- you have to skip or replace meals. Breakfast is almost a no go on this diet. The two remaining meals are so meager that even babies are required to eat more calories per day!

- you have to cut out fat, sugar or carbs. This just screams hCG diet. Vitamin supplements don't cut it. Studies are showing that repeatedly. You need a healthy, balanced diet and the hCG diet does not even come close to promoting a healthy diet.

Yes, the hCG diet is without a doubt a dangerous fad diet.

License: CC0 Public Domain
License: CC0 Public Domain | Source

Side Effects of Crash Dieting - This Is What You Need to Know

With no real hCG in homeopathic hCG drops, you need to be more concerned about crash dieting side effects. If you look at the comments on my story page, these are the ones you see the most.

While on the road to recovery after the hCG diet, I was reading an article on crash diets. A crash diet is any diet under 1200 calories a day. This was the first real crash diet I've tried. I vaguely remember trying the cabbage soup thing right before my wedding but I really didn't have much to lose and that was such a miserable thing, I quit right away. I used the hCG Drops for a month and this was definitely a crash diet at only 500 calories a day.

So, back to that article on crash diets and why they are the most dangerous types of diets:

Crash Dieting: The Most Harmful type of Dieting!

Wow, okay, going through the side effects listed, I experienced so many of these on the hCG Diet and I never experienced them on Weight Watchers, South Beach or any of the other diets I've tried over the years.

  1. Irregular Periods - Yes! My cycle was immediately messed up from the low calories (with no real hCG in the drops, I know that wasn't it). I spotted. My periods came early and my second period on the diet was so heavy. I came close to passing out a number of times and filled pads hourly.
  2. Organ Damage - Yes! Fortunately, I went off this dangerous diet before it became more serious. I had to wear heart monitors. My doctor said this diet was causing my body to 'eat itself' (his words). Even if there had been real hCG, your organs are still at risk and my doctor has seen real damage done to the kidneys, heart and gallbladder as a result of this diet. During my time with all this, a distributor of this diet had to have gallbladder surgery.
  3. Blood Pressure - Yes! My blood pressure was seriously low which was likely why I was struggling with dizziness and trying not to faint.
  4. Anemia - Yes! Anemia has been a struggle for me since the birth of my daughter. However, we monitor it and, in fact, when I began the diet, we'd had my levels checked. They were good, actually, they were great. Normally it would take six months before I'd need another check and, yet, one month later, I was starting iron infusions. Yes, it was a result of this diet.
  5. Depression - Could be! I was treated poorly by others on this diet. I started this diet with a friend but once my side effects required a doctor's care and I was refusing to try new supplements to help, my 'friend' cut me off and has not talked to me to this day. She became a distributor though and I am sure she was worried that my side effects would affect her sales. Fortunately my family and real friends rallied and I am thankful. I've had plenty of people message or email me since then as well and they have struggled mightily with depression after this diet.
  6. Osteoporosis - Don't know. Could I have harmed my bones in only one month? You know, with everything this diet has done, I am sure it is possible, but I have increased my dairy intake once again and hope to reverse any damage done.
  7. Lowered Metabolism - Without a Doubt. My doctor introduced me to my Basil Metabolic Rate (the rate at which you burn if you laid in bed and did nothing). At that rate, any normal person would easily lose. Me? Now I'm gaining at that rate. That is not normal and that is very common for people who have done the hCG Diet. That is why so many people who have done the hCG Diet end up fatter eventually unless they start training for half marathons.
  8. Fat build up - Absolutely. After this diet, I was so cautious about what I put into my body and I was still gaining. After two weeks on this diet, you start plateauing and even have gain days. I never had gain days on WW's or SBD. On a 500-calorie diet, if you have gain days, something is clearly wrong. And, yet, everybody I did the diet with plateaued like I did and had gain days. When all was said and done, I ended up fatter than when I started. Sadly, when I got up to where I was weightwise at the start of this diet, those clothes no longer fit. It was clear by my measurements that I lost muscle and gained a lot of fat. When all was said and done, I ended up fatter than when I started.
  9. Hair Loss - No, thankfully but so many people on the hCG forum I frequented did! I kept seeing post after post about hair loss. They were assured it was perfectly normal and nothing to worry about (after which, many of those posts were deleted). I've had a number of people tell me now that hair loss affected many people who tried this diet.
  10. Platform for Eating Disorders - No but eating disorders run in my family and I can recognize the signs. I've seen people selling this diet who could easily have qualified as Anorexic. They looked sickly thin in their photos. Do enough rounds of 500-calorie diets and, yes, I believe Anorexia and Bulimia are very real possibilities for you. And, again, I've gotten messages from women frantic because they've turned to throwing up or other means to keep the weight off. When you slow your metabolism down this much, keeping that weight off is anything but easy.


Based on my experience, would I say the hCG is a crash diet? Heck yes! The biggest difference I found between my experience with Weight Watchers, South Beach Diet and the hCG Diet? With the first two diets, I had no problem keeping the weight off. It was a lifestyle change. With the hCG Diet, the battle was trying to keep the pounds from piling back on while I was while trying to get healthy again. Dangerous diet. The side effects can come on suddenly as I learned. It just isn't worth your health.


If you've had side effects from the hCG diet, how many of them were listed in the 'Crash Dieting' section above? (please, leave a comment and tell us about them)

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Report Illegal Products

If you found a website that you believe is selling an illegal dietary supplement or biological product, the FDA asks that you report it here:


Reporting Unlawful Sales of Medical Products on the Internet

If you'd like to report an e-mail promoting a medical product or supplement that you think may be illegal, you can forward the email to webcomplaints@ora.fda.gov

hCG Diet Risk in the News

Sudden Death Associated with Very Low Calorie Weight Reduction Regimens While not about the hCG diet per se, this does give one pause as to the safety of any low-calorie diet. This doesn't mean you'll die if you try the diet. Hey, I'm still here but it does make you realize there are some serious consequences to taking part in such a low-calorie diet.

Is HCG a health risk for dieters? Some doctors fear it isAfter seeing patients in the ER who had been doing this diet, some physicians are expressing concern.

The Dangers of the HCG Diet: A Cardiologist's Perspective This cardiologist has serious concerns about the hCG Diet.

Dangers of the Very Low Calorie Diet Great article that explains why so many of us had heart or gallstone formation problem while on this diet. Great article!

The Hidden Dangers of The hCG Diet Dr. Kenneth N. Woliner discusses the dangers of this diet. He also shares a bit more of the history behind the diet, including why it disappeared and recently reappeared back on the market.

HCG Diet Products Are Illegal FDA's Warning about over-the-counter hCG diets.

Does the HCG diet work - and is it safe? The Mayo Clinic's take on this diet as well as potential side effects.

The Truth About hCG for Weight Loss WebMD's take on this diet as well as potential side effects.

Five Truths About the hCG Diet as Controversy Evolves Discusses what is really true about this diet including side effects and why so many people gain back even more weight after they are done with this diet.

Long-discredited hCG diet makes a comeback An article in the Chicago Tribune about this diet.

HCG Diet: Junk Science That Just Won't Go Away An article by Dr. Braunstein, Chair of the Department of Medicine, Cedars Sinai

HCG is just an Expensive Weight Loss Placebo An article by by Dr. Steven Jepson, M.D.

Danger of Hcg Diet: Heart attack and fluid retention FDA warns "Not Safe" Please remember, heart attacks are a side effect of this diet.

HCG Diet Review - Does it Work?: No Evidence For Safety and Efficacy An article by Bill Sukala, PhD on the gimmick of the hCG diet.

HCG Diet An Evidence Based Review Want to know what research is showing about this diet? Joe Cannon put together a wonderful page with all the results.

HCG and cancer Interesting thread on eHealth by people who believe their cancers may have been caused or spread by the hCG diet.

HCG Diet Dangers: Is Fast Weight Loss Worth the Risk? An article in USNews that discusses some of the dangers of this diet.

The hCG Diet Scam Exposed Fortunately, hCG drops don't contain hCG but if they did, this article talks about what might really be expected from them.

Diet Spotlight: Does the hCG Diet Work? Prevention's warning that this diet may cost you your life.

The dangers of a 500 calorie diet. This crash diet may come with some very serious consequences. Is your weight really worth the risk?

The HCG Diet is Dangerous For the Heart Yet another article discussing the serious side effects that accompany this diet.

Research into the Dangers of Very Low Calorie Diets A collection of studies about the dangers of very low calorie diets. I experienced some of the heart affects myself. There are very real dangers with this diet.

Better Business Bureau: Be wary of diet products containing HCGEven the BBB is warning against this diet!

The Truth About the hCG Diet Plan Yet another article on why you really should avoid this diet.

Exposing Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes According to this site, the company who sold me these drops has earned an 'F' rating from the BBB.

HCG diet blamed for killing West Chester mom They believe her heart just couldn't take the very low calorie diet.

The H.C.G. ("hCG") Diet Scam Exposed One key point made here is that starvation will cause MORE fat in the long term and that certainly seems to be the case for many who have contacted me.

HCG Liquid Diet Drops by Diet Pills WatchdogConclusions: Potentially dangerous to health, Does not work for weight loss, FDA warnings, Never touch anything with hCG on the label

Herbalife: A Pyramid Scheme Disguised as a Business Opportunity I really wish I'd known more about MLMs before starting my own hCG diet. The company from which I brought my drops was started by Herbalife people.

Difficulties in adressing purging behaviour in the treatment of a patient with anorexia nervosaThis medical journal discusses anorexia in relation to the hCG diet.

Effect of the human chorionic gonadotropin diet on patient outcomes.This article came out after I had ended my own diet. This medical journal reports on an individual who developed deep vein thrombosis after only two weeks on the diet

In Summary

Reasons not to do the hCG diet:

  1. It's illegal
  2. No real hCG in the drops. It's just a 500-calorie diet which is dangerous in itself.
  3. Crash diets are dangerous, can cause serious health problems and generally cause people to get fatter.

About the 'Related Hubs' Section

The list of 'Related Hubs' underneath the ads here are chosen automatically based on the keywords found on this page. Yes, you'll find pro-hCG pages. Please, keep in mind, these are people selling the diet or pushing it. Be wary. You can go online and find A LOT of pages by people selling this diet. Their motivation is their wallets. Take to hear the many comments left here by people either hurt by this diet or made fatter by it.


Thank you!

Have You Been Harmed by this Diet or Is Somebody Trying to Talk You Into It?

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    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
      Author

      Kay 2 years ago

      Keep us updated on your book. Sounds like you were starving yourself for about 10 months off and on and I can't even begin to imagine what that does to the brain. I'm so sorry.

    • profile image

      Devastated Dieter 2 years ago

      In 2013, over the course of 10 mos, I lost 88 lbs on the HCG diet. Within one week I began having very erotic dreams. Within 5 months, I was sleeping 4 hours a night and soon that dwindled to 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. I felt euphoric, and unbeknownst to me, was experiencing an HCG-induced manic episode which led me to suddenly quit my long-term job. I lost nearly everything--my career, the vast majority of my friends, my life savings, my credit…and worst of all, my reputation. I am now 1 1/2 years post-HCG disaster and I still cannot work and I don't know if I ever will. HCG ruined my life, and the doctor who prescribed my injections of Pregnyl brand HCG is still prescribing. I could not live with myself if one more person experienced the nightmare I went through, and since my story has been ignored by the College of Medicine and Federal agencies, with my psychiatrist's encouragement I am pursuing litigation and writing a book.