BistroMD Health Library

Get excited about reading again with fun and interesting tips from our experts, including The M.D., our dietitians, and our fitness expert. In our health library, you will find all of the information you need to achieve your goals of making a healthy lifestyle change. So, start reading and start losing!

Weight Loss

From the effects of the hormone cortisol to the role of genetics in weight loss, this category is packed with everything that you need to know about losing weight the healthy way.

The Resistance Against the HCG Diet


Recently, the FDA claimed that the HCG Diet was a dangerous method of weight loss and that it’s products should be banned in the weight loss market.

Since the popular diet gained momentum in 2009, experts and critics can’t seem to fully agree on whether or not the HCG Diet is a safe form of weight loss. Now, with criticism from obesity experts and the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, (physicians in healthy weight management), we are turning to our founding physician, Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D., for her expert opinion on this popular form of dropping pounds.

An Unsustainable Method

The main proponent of the HCG Diet is the daily injections of the pregnancy hormone hcg (human chorionic gonadotropin). Even though this is supposed to be the main component of this diet, it isn’t the main influencer causing people to lose weight.

“The main reason people see a drop in weight on this diet is due to the extremely low 500 calorie per day diet,” says Dr. Cederquist. “In most studies, the injections of HCG show no evidence of causing weight loss.”

As a board certified bariatric physician herself, Dr. Cederquist stands by the board on their stance against this diet and the dangers that come with it. This is mostly due to the diet’s lack of providing your body with the essential nutrition it needs to sustain healthy and effective weight loss.

“Instead of losing excess body fat, you lose muscle mass on this diet,” says Dr. Cederquist. “This is not a sustainable method of weight loss, as the loss of muscle mass leads to a decrease in your metabolic rate.”

This loss of muscle mass is likely due to the nutrient deficiencies that come from consuming just 500 calories per day.

Not Approved by Weight Loss Experts

As a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, Dr. Cederquist shares the same professional opinion as the board, and would never promote it as a safe and effective way to maintain long-term weight loss.

“I agree whole-heartedly with the ASBP’s stance on the HCG Diet,” says Dr. Cederquist. “Not only is the lack of nutrition dangerous, but there is no scientific evidence that indicates HCG hormones help in the weight loss process.”

In addition to the lack of scientific evidence, it is frowned upon by the FDA for weight loss physicians and even nutritional experts to prescribe supplements, drugs, or hormones that have not been approved by them

Even if the hormones are being prescribed by some physicians, many physicians along with the ASBP have spoken out against the use of HCG since its introduction into the market in 2009. This same year, the ASBP also issued a statement about the use of HCG as a treatment for obesity, saying that the HCG Diet was not a recommended way to treat obesity.

“As a practicing weight loss physician for over 15 years, my recommended approach to weight loss often is less about prescribing drugs and medication, and more about diagnosing the underlying metabolic issues present through a formal evaluation, blood tests, and other testing methods," says Dr. Cederquist. “I also teach my patients the importance of proper nutrition when it comes to weight loss. This comes through eating portion-controlled meals throughout the day that are balanced with protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.”

As an effective weight loss plan, the HCG Diet seems to fall short of success. Please consult your physician or a weight management specialist before you decide to try a diet like hcg.

Written By bistroMD Team. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on August 16, 2013.


Follow @bistroMD

Start Your Diet Today!

Reality Check - Your Free Diet Analysis

Simply answer a few questions so we can figure out your weight loss goals and provide solutions for a lighter, healthier you. Our weight loss meal plans are designed to help real people achieve real and lasting success.

as seen on...   

join our free newsletter

Get free support to help you lose weight and be healthy with our Weekly Dish on Health.

stay connected