The HCG Diet
The HCG diet is an extreme diet meant to cause very fast weight loss of up to 1–2 pounds (0.45–1 kg) per day.
Its proponents claim that it boosts metabolism and fat loss without inducing hunger
HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone present at high levels during early pregnancy.
It tells a woman's body it's pregnant and maintains the production of hormones that are important for fetal development. It has also been used to treat fertility issues
How it works: The diet is split into three phases. During the first phase, you begin taking HCG supplements.
During the second phase, you follow an ultra-low-calorie diet of only 500 calories per day, along with HCG supplement drops, pellets, injections, or sprays. The weight loss phase is prescribed for 3–6 weeks at a time.
In the third phase, you stop taking HCG and slowly increase your food intake.
Weight loss: The HCG diet does cause weight loss, but multiple studies conclude that the weight loss is due to the ultra-low-calorie diet alone — not the HCG hormone
Furthermore, HCG was not found to reduce hunger.
Other benefits: Aside from weight loss, there are no documented benefits of the HCG diet.
The downside: Like most other ultra-low-calorie diets, the HCG diet may cause muscle loss, which results in a reduced ability to burn calories
Such severe calorie restriction further reduces the number of calories your body burns. This is because your body thinks it's starving and therefore attempts to preserve energy
In addition, most HCG products on the market are scams and don't contain any HCG. Only injections are able to raise blood levels of this hormone.
Moreover, the diet has many side effects, including headaches, fatigue, and depression. There is also one report of a woman developing blood clots, most likely caused by the diet
The FDA disapproves of this diet, labeling it dangerous, illegal, and fraudulent