Revive Reviews: The HCG Diet

While we try to remain un-biased when reviewing diets, the HCG is one that gets us angry right away, so we have no “pros” to list!

It involves injections of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women that helps keep the pregnancy viable until the placenta is formed.
The rationale with HCG and weight loss is tied to a theory that if HCG is injected it mobilizes stored fat around the abdomen and hips and help promote rapid weight loss. In addition to HCG injections one must also follow a 500kcal diet- which is dangerously low. According to the theory you will not feel hungry as the HCG injections will help reduce your appetite leaving you feeling completely satisfied and you will lose weight.


Anyone will lose weight in the short term if they restrict their calories to 500 per day. However if you chronically do this, you are more likely to gain weight versus lose it. The reason for this is that you end up losing more muscle than fat when you severely restrict calories. Muscle burns more energy and so the less muscle you have the less calories your body requires to sustain life. This is why people who yo-yo diet end up gaining weight even when they are limiting the amount of calories they eat.

HCG for weight loss is not regulated in Canada as there is no scientific evidence to support its use for weight loss. Side effects include testicular tumors, ovarian hyperstimulation, ovarian cysts, fluid on your lungs, , headaches, irritability, depression, aggressive behaviour, elevated liver enzymes, low blood pressure, constipation, low blood sugar, low thyroid levels.

Need we say more?


Ready to Ditch the Diet for Good?

Revive Wellness is a team of passionate and evidence-based Registered Dietitians specialized in nutrition and wellness coaching for the Edmonton area.

1. Steom Mark, et al. Ineffectiveness of human chorionic gonadotropin in weight reduction: a double blind study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 29: September 1976, pp 940-948.
2. Goodbar, Nancy H, et al. Effect of the Human Chorionic Gonadotroin Diet on Patient Outcomes. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. May 2013, volume 47, e23.