Dr. Oz supports hCG diet? Lose 40 pounds in 40 days…

can injections of a pregnancy hormone help you lose weight?

Today on Dr. Oz they presented infomation on the hCG diet.

hCG is short for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a hormone that is secreted by the human embryo in a pregnant female.  Hence, it is a pregnancy hormone.

hCG is being touted as a “magic bullet” for losing weight, and there were several people on the Dr. Oz show that had been on the diet.

Some patients swore by the diet, which requires injections of hCG in addition to following a very low calorie diet of 500 calories a day.

The people who “succeeded” on the diet said they weren’t hungry (supposedly an effect of the hormone), and since they weren’t hungry they were able to stick to the P.O.W. level of caloric intake.  500 calories is a single 6″ sandwich from Subway!  That’s all you eat…all day!

If this doesn’t sound insane to you, then perhaps you are part of the group that these hucksters are aiming at to try this flat-out ridiculous diet scheme.

(And I thought Timothy Ferriss was stark raving mad for claiming you can lose 20 pounds of fat in 30 days…compared to the hCG claims, Tim almost seems to be reasonable!)

There were also some dieters that had significant side effects from the diet, including one woman who experienced hair loss, fatigue, and loss of consciousness, at which point her physician told her to stop the diet.

Dr. Oz even had a heart surgeon  present who stated that he went on the diet because he determined that the health risks of being obese (which he was) were worse than the possible side effects of the HCG diet.  (I would really wonder about a doctor like that…)

No word on if the diet worked for him…he still looked fat to me.

Also discussed was a variation of the hCG diet, where homeopathic “drops” are administered instead of injections of hCG.

As you may know, homeopathic drops by definition contain undetectable (or nearly undetectable) amounts of active ingredients.  For this reason, any weight loss seen on this variation of the diet is almost surely due to the placebo effect.

The placebo effect is real and it can result in weight loss, but you shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get placebo pills.

If you are after the placebo effect (and I hope you’re not!), save yourself a ton of money and take sugar pills instead of the very expensive homeopathic hCG drops.

One guy (a chiropracter, who just so happens to sell the homeopathic drops through his chiropractic clinic) said he lost 35 pounds in only 40 days.  (I’d have to admit, that’s one HECK of a placebo effect!) How ironic it is that he sells the drops…

First off, before you even consider the hCG diet, ask yourself one question: Do you intend to get injections of hCG (or take the homeopathic drops) for the rest of your life?

If not, then even if you do lose weight, the weight is guaranteed to come back as soon as you stop the injections (or placebo drops).

This is something that comes up again, and again, and AGAIN!

No matter what you do to lose weight, when you stop, whatever weight you lost will come back.

That’s the way the body works, folks.

Please read that last sentence again.  And again, until you are convinced of it.

If that is all you ever learn about weight loss, you are ahead of 95% of all the other people out there trying to lose weight.

Second, do you really want to eat only 500 calories a day?

Remember, that’s one 6-inch Subway sandwich…and it’s got to last ALL DAY LONG!

Even Jared, the Subway Guy, lost his weight by eating 3 Subway sandwiches a day…

Even if you can maintain such an insanely low caloric intake long enough to lose weight (and lose weight you will, eating about the same number of calories in a day as a 9 pound house cat), what do you think will happen when you go back to eating like a normal human being?

That’s right: Rebound Weight Gain, Fast and Furious!

This is great for the promoters of these diets…they now have a repeat customer.

They are hoping that YOU will take the blame for the diet not working, and give it another shot.  And another.  And another. Each time spending money on a fantasy that never comes true.

Much to Dr. Oz’s credit, he had some health professionals there as well, to discuss the possible problems with the diet.

A Registered Dietician stated that “Nobody should be eating fewer than 1200 calories a day.”  (Good for her, she’s not afraid to raise a few hackles…)

I agree 100%, and 500 calories is so low as to be rejected as malpractice if recommended by a physician.

Dr. Oz also agreed with the R.D’s statement.

Dr. Oz strongly advised NOT buying the homeopathic drops over the internet or at health food stores, not only because there is no evidence that they are effective, but also because you have no assurance of what you are actually getting in those tiny little bottles.

I took this snippet directly from Dr. Oz’s website (I’m waiting for the call from his legal department):

{“Are hCG drops legal?

No. The hormone hCG has never been approved to be in any product sold directly to consumers. The leader of the FDA’s Internet and Fraud Team has said all such products are illegal.”}

To my amazement, Dr. Oz did express his opinion that the HCG diet that requires injections of HCG needs to be reconsidered as a possible solution for “those people who have run out of options.”*

This is despite a statement from a health professional (who teaches at Harvard Medical School) that there have been 14 studies done on the HCG diet, and all have shown that it is INEFFECTIVE for weight loss.  The injections of hCG were no more effective than injections of saline solution.

Perhaps dear Mehmet Oz recently underwent a bilateral orchiectomy (removal of the testicles), and no longer has the cajones to call a fraud a fraud.

I like you Dr. Oz, but there is such a thing as being “too nice.”

Don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade.  Nothing wrong with expressing your opinion, Doc.

I guess Dr. Oz doesn’t want to close the door on anyone, even individuals and companies that promote a potentially dangerous treatment for obesity that has no scientific evidence that it even works!

Remember that obvious charlatan Kevin Trudeau?  He was popular on late-night infomercials some years back, and was slapped with numerous fines and even served time in jail for his fraudulent business practices and outright lies.  He was promoting this HCG diet.

That alone would be enough for me to say “Keep your bogus diet.  I’ll eat right and get some physical activity instead.”

Some of you might be thinking “Well, there may not be any scientific studies that say it works, but that’s not proof that it’s ineffective.”

You’re right.  And there are people that have been “healed” by faith healers and Major League Baseball players that wear titanium necklaces to improve their performance.

Remember the saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”?

Don’t fall for the hype.  Do what’s been shown to work scientifically.

*(“Those people who have run out of options?”  Do you mean people who are too lazy to eat right and get the physical activity that their bodies need?

Excuse me, but to the best of my knowledge, those are options that are available to everybody, and you don’t “run out of them“, you just give up and look for a short cut.)

Did you enjoy this post?  Do you think I was too hard on Dr. Oz?  Please tell me about it!

Robert J. Stone

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14 Responses to Dr. Oz supports hCG diet? Lose 40 pounds in 40 days…

  1. Marinka says:

    Very, very well said!! I really enjoyed reading this post!
    People always complain that a healthy diet is too expensive, but they do keep spending huge amounts of money on ineffective ‘diet solutions’ that even get them depressed because they can’t handle the recurring failure at every attempt. Which will probably result in even more weight gain, since a lot of obese people are emotional eaters. But on the other hand, they refuse to go on a diet that involves lifestyle changes, because that’s waaayyy too restricting. I guess they don’t notice how much more variation a healthy (paleo) diet can bring than their usual diet of fries, pizzas, subs and candy.

  2. KLH says:

    I think you were not hard enough on Dr. Oz! The June 27 2011 Women First Magazine has Dr. Oz on the cover (I’m getting tired of seeing him on this and Women’s World so often, as if he is the only one with any answers) and “Dr Oz’s pregnancy hormone diet; Imagine losing 1 lb every day but never feeling hungry” splashed across it. Basically, in the article, he states that he agrees with the FDA that there is no evidence (after 50 years of research) that hCG increases weight loss. He then goes on to say that it might be an option for some people. The article states, ” ‘They do incredibly well. It’s really a life-changing experience for them.’ In light of the overwhelming anecdotal evidence, Dr. Oz has acknowledged, ‘Sometimes the experience of real people doesn’t agree with the science. And sometimes it’s because the science hasn’t caught up.’ ” If this is not an endorsement, I don’t know what is. I think all the agreeing with the FDA stuff is just to protect himself legally. He has lost a lot of credibility with me. I was not a big fan to begin with, after watching book after book being churned out “You: the Owner’s Manual”, “You: Losing Weight”, “You: On a Diet”, “You: Staying Young”, “You: Being Beautiful”, and the list goes on! He should write “Me: Taking Your Money”. This hCG diet sounds dangerous, ineffective, and unsustainable. I am surprised Dr. Oz is appearing to promote this bad idea.

    • KLH- Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Is that the same “First” Magazine that always has “Lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks” or “Drop 30 pounds in time for summer” emblazoned on the front cover? I don’t recall “women” being part of the title, but perhaps I didn’t look closely. I have to agree with your assessment, it seems that it’s more lucrative for Dr. Oz to support/endorse ineffective weight loss programs than it is to dole out common-sense health advice, which he used to do quite often back when he was a frequent guest on Oprah. It’s all about the ratings and sponsorships, and nobody gets too excited about being told to eat real food and exercise, and few sponsors can make money selling unprocessed food (vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and eggs). I’ve been finding some of the games and quizzes something you might see at a child’s 5th birthday party. I’m waiting for Dr. Oz to dress up like Bozo the Clown and ride a tiny tricycle…

  3. KLH says:

    You are right, that’s the one – called “for women FIRST”. Check out this month’s cover. It has Dr. Oz in a tux looking charmingly at the camera, a slim girl in a bikini in the upper left, a large cake in the upper right, chips, dip, and deep-fried food under the cake, and a bouquet of flowers near Oz’s left hand. Maybe we can have it all: a slim bikini bod, a guy in a tux with flowers, and lots of yummy junk food! I guess I usually ignore the “Lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks” articles because I know it wouldn’t be fat loss, but I am realizing after 10 or so issues, that I probably do take the magazine too seriously. It’s because I have found helpful ideas in it that I investigate further – like deep breathing (Oxycise) exercises developed by a woman in Colorado (several years ago), taking Ribose for low energy issues, and fructose malabsorption as a possible reason for bloating and gas – that I would not have heard of otherwise. Each issue has two pages called “slimmer in seconds” that has more straightforward, good advice than a whole issue of most fashion/style magazines. But I was appalled by this latest article on hCG diet, so I seem to still have some critical thinking intact, lol. I have not watched Dr. Oz’s show and didn’t know he had one (where have I been?) I’m starting to wonder if he owns this magazine too. I just happened upon your website, after I googled “Why does Dr Oz appear to be promoting the hCG diet?” I wanted to vent. After I saw your response, I started perusing your website. I’m finding it extremely entertaining and informative. I love that you note inconsistencies (eggs have choline, but just eat the choline-less egg whites), calorie counts that don’t add up, and made-up words with lots of syllables. So cathartic.

    • Thanks for the comment! I didn’t realize Dr. Oz was posing for the cover of “For Women First”… Your approach is a good one: Read it all, take what you want and try it out. I have read a few issues of that magazine, and was amazed at the flat-out ridiculous claims for rapid weight loss, so I pretty much never went back to it. Having followed Dr. Oz for a while, I understand his approach to weight loss is this: Try to do it the right way, but if you keep failing, a fad diet might be the jump-start you need to lose weight and (hopefully!) keep it off. Dr. Oz does a lot of good by bringing lots of very important health issues (radon exposure, colon cancer, thyroid disorders) into the mainstream media for discussion, but some of his information on diet and exercise needs to get into the 21st century. And thank you so much for the kind words!

  4. Dr. Oz is a good doctor and is in a tough position when trying to inform every reader out there. The fact is that there is clinical medicine and research medicine and that sometimes they don’t reach the same conclusions is not new. The research done on HCG is bad and so the results cannot be looked at with any faith or real conclusions. There are doctors, including myself that have used HCG in clinical settings and have seen the results first hand. I do not advocate stimulants or FAD diets and I can assure you that the results seen by many of the HCG dieters is real. Many of these dieters have failed numerous other diets and then find HCG as their savior. The important thing to understand is that this is a “diet tool” that can be a great option for certain phases of weight loss but the true only way to lose and maintain is through lifestyle changes, sleep, and exercise. Dr. Oz recognizes that the research and the clinical results are not matching and it is hard for a person in the public eye to explain this to consumers that are often not educated in this field. You can tell he has seen the results as a clinician but just does not have the research to support the results. New studies will be initiated and done appropriately and we will have new data to evaluate. I use HCG as a tool in my clinics and have followed lab tests, weight loss and sense of well-being and would debate HCG use with anyone.

    • Thank you for the comment Brent. I agree with you on several of the points that you make: Dr. Oz is a good doctor and is indeed in a difficult position, and clinical practice does not always follow what might be predicted by research. You are spot on when you say “the true only way to lose and maintain is through lifestyle changes, sleep, and exercise.” I understand the utility of having a “tool” such as HCG to jump-start an individual’s weight loss, but I think it’s short-sighted and harmful to severely limit calories while administering HCG, knowing full well that such a “treatment” is not meant to be permanent (unless a patient plans to take HCG for the rest of his/her life, and understands that when they start consuming a more normal diet they will stop losing weight and probably gain back much (or all) of the weight that they lost). Much like hypnosis, or acupuncture, or one of the many other methods to effect weight loss, HCG certainly may give good results for certain individuals, but positive (and often fleeting) results for a small percentage of people does not warrant wide-spread use, especially when it is well known that VLCD’s (Very Low Calorie Diets, which the HCG diet qualifies as) are far from ideal solutions for overweight/obese individuals. As I am sure you are aware, the HCG diet works no better than a placebo (sugar pill), and though I haven’t priced the HCG drops/injections, I’m betting they are several orders of magnitude more expensive than sugar. If the only true way to lose weight and keep it off is with lifestyle changes, sleep, and exercise, why not get the patient to the goal line more directly and with much lower cost? By the way, I would like to see your long term success rates, and would be happy to post them on my blog. Thanks again for the comment!

      • anitaj says:

        I, too, would be interested in any long term results. I’m thinking that most people are not going to be able to stay on this diet and I understand that your body does become less susceptible to hcg. Once they start eating carbs, etc the spare tire and hips will be right back.

        • Anitaj, you make a very good point. Once people start eating normally (which is inevitable, as staying on this diet would result in death), the pounds come back with a vengeance, and the spare tire and hips and saddlebags hunker down for an extended stay. I always tell people to make sure the diet or eating plan (or whatevey you want to call it) they are thinking about using to lose weight is something they can maintain for the rest of their life. If not, they are most likely just wasting time and effort on a quick fix that will ultimately make them fatter in the long run. Thanks for you comment!

  5. Pingback: hCG, wherein Oz falls prey to his own fear-mongering and pageantry « Lea's World

  6. bonnie says:

    I want to buy hcg on line what do you recomend a safe spot to buy it

    • Robert J. Stone says:

      Hello Bonnie. I agree with Dr. Oz when he said “I don’t recommend buying any HCG products online.” At best you’ll be buying plain water, and at worst? Who knows… Those products are not regulated. In my opinion you would be much better off taking a 30 minute walk every day and saving your money. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Linda Grace says:

    I HAVE run out of options! I went on a 1,000 calorie a day diet. I did NOT CHEAT!!! I am not a liar, I did not do any “sleep eating” (no food missing at any time). I meticulously weighed and measured every morsel, every liquid, and every thing that went in my mouth – even sugar-free chewing gum. I noted the amount of fresh, filtered water (approximately one gallon a day when you include organic herbal teas). I gave up caffiene and any form of alcohol. No sugars, no starches, no trans-fats, no food additives, no artificial sweeteners, all organic produce, all grass-fed, organic meats (although very little of that, I ate a lot of fish, shrimp and chicken). Very limited fruit and dairy (always non-fat dairy products). I walked ot the park and back with my dogs every single day (a distance of about 2 miles, I completed it in about 20 minutes). I also did yoga exercises to increase flexibility (I have arthritis). These exercises are reported to improve limphatic drainage and blood circulation. I did a complete colon cleanse and added two tablespoons of soluble fiber to my morning tea every day.

    I gained five pounds. My blood sugar control improved MARGINALLY (I was only able to drop my insulin requirements by 10%).

    What the hell do you suggest for me?

    • Robert J. Stone says:

      Hello Linda,

      You didn’t mention the time period in which you gained 5 pounds. Was it a week, a month, or a couple of months? I don’t recommend non-fat dairy, as the fat will tend to satisfy you more and is usually cheaper in the long run. You don’t mention eating any vegetables. Big salads and veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, and zucchini are very tasty and filling (not to mention very nutritious!). Check out marksdailyapple for a lot of great info on nutrition and low-carb eating. Best of luck to you!

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