HCG: how effective is it?Posted: February 1, 2010 in Obesity Medicine by Craig Primack MD FACP
Every week we get several questions from patients about The HCG Diet. They have friends on it, and want to know if it is safe and effective. Why don’t we use HCG?
As medical bariatricians, specialists in weight loss, we evaluate every available tool for weight loss. We critically look at all of the medical studies, and rate that tool for safety and effectiveness. We place the safety of our patients first, and never use a modality in which the risks outweigh the benefits. All patients need to be informed of the risks of treatment, and the likelihood of benefit.
Next, we look to controlled studies to determine if that tool is going to lead to weight loss in the majority of patients using it. We have done such an evaluation, and determined that HCG is possibly safe, but probably ineffective. There are several studies that show lack of weight loss on HCG over and above the weight loss obtained from the aggressive diet that is part of such a program. In other words, it is the 500 calorie diet that leads to weight loss, not the HCG. HCG adds little to the diet. The only group who appears to show benefit on HCG is in men with low testosterone. This group appears to gain some muscle. For a good summary of the studies, refer to the American Society of Bariatric Physicians Statement on the use of HCG.