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hCG dieters love rapid weight loss; dietitians worry about the effects

December 25th, 2010 7:37 pm by Marci Gore

hCG dieters love rapid weight loss; dietitians worry about the effects

Yolanda Young lost 12 pounds in 24 days by injecting herself with the hormone hCG and eating a very low-calorie diet. Dr. Tom Rogers supervised Young's progress on the diet. Photo by Erica Yoon.




John Mykytka has lost 80 pounds by taking a shot of a hormone that suppresses the appetite and triggers the body’s use of fat for fuel. For him, the hCG diet was a great way to lose the weight he'd been wanting to shed for a number of years.


“I’m a lot like everybody else. I’ve been on diets before. You see what diet is popular, and you try it for a while, and yeah, you lose the weight, but then you lose interest within a couple of weeks, and you go right back to you old habits and you gain the weight back. It’s a never-ending downward spiral,” Mykytka said.


The hCG diet has been around for several decades, but has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. It involves a daily injection of the hCG hormone that the patient gives himself, typically in the stomach, and a very low-calorie diet.


The first cycle of the diet typically lasts 26 to 40 days, depending on how much weight you need to lose. If, after 40 days, more weight loss is desired, patients can do another 26- to 40-day cycle, but only after waiting six weeks to allow the body enough time to rid itself of the hCG. Many patients report losing 40 pounds in the first cycle.


The concept of the diet is based on research done more than 50 years ago by the British endocrinologist A.T.W. Simeons. While studying severely malnourished women in India, Simeons discovered that although the women themselves were underweight, they were giving birth to perfectly healthy babies.



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