Are you looking for a quick weight loss fix? The real question: Don’t we all wish there was some magic potion that could melt away stubborn fat? Of course! We are bombarded with information about quick weight loss diets and products on the Internet. We see advertisements for single products like HCG drops for weight loss. Do HCG drops really work? We may be really tempted to give these products a try, but you should know the true research and facts behind HCG drops.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, even I wish there was a single, easy-to-use product that guaranteed weight loss and fat loss. But that is just a fantasy. Don’t be discouraged, however! In this article, we will discuss tried-and-true weight loss methods that show positive results time and time again. Skip to the last section if you want to avoid the fad diet analysis.
So weight loss is your goal. Fad diets like the ketogenic diet, Atkins, and the cottage cheese diet all make promises that you can reach your weight loss goal in no time. Pills, powders, serums, and elixirs promise “detox” and “fat burning” benefits. How does something like HCG drops fit into the equation? We will look into the current research, and you will see how fad diet marketing can sometimes be confusing or not tell the whole story.
You are the caretaker of your own body. Ultimately, you are the one who decides what to put in your own body. While the objective research regarding HCG drops will be laid out for you, we will also highlight some of the most popular HCG drops available. These HCG drop reviews are not what you think! Within the product review we will help you identify misleading advertising so that you are not fooled in the future.
After reading this article, it will be up to you to move forward with experimenting with HCG drops, however, you will also be more knowledgeable on the science behind such seemingly “too good to be true” fads.
What is HCG?
The human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) diet uses the mechanics of the HCG hormone. The HCG hormone plays a role in pregnancy and reproduction. In more recent years, fertility specialists have turned to the HCG hormone to help increase fertility in people who struggle to conceive. Currently, HCG-containing products are only legal if prescribed by a physician.
You may be thinking, “What do you mean HCG products are illegal? I can buy HCG drops online with the click of a button!” Keep reading for more information about how HCG drops are marketed. You may be surprised to find out how much freedom fad diet marketers have to put whatever they want on the label. You many also be surprised that HCG drops usually don’t contain HCG at all. More on that in a bit.
The HCG Diet: What is Involved?
HCG drops go along with the HCG diet. This is a highly extreme diet that claims you can lose 1 to 2 lbs per day. Here are the main components of the HCG diet:
- You only consume 500 calories per day. This is an extremely low calorie diet that you follow for about 8 weeks. Let’s be honest: Most people (if not all) cannot sustain this. Could you only eat 500 calories per day for 8 weeks? With no slip ups? Very low calorie diets are often used for bariatric patients who need to lose weight prior to surgery (1). These very low calorie diets are monitored by physicians and dietitians. They are also only used for a short period of time. Aside from a 500-calorie diet not being feasible for the long term, very low calorie diets in commercial weight loss programs have shown to increase the risk of severe gallstones, as they did in this study.
- You lose weight because your “metabolism increases.” Per the research, the HCG drops and diet do not have an effect on metabolism. Several studies were done in the 1970s that tested how HCG injections and a low calorie diet affect your metabolism. These studies showed that HCG injections did not offer any advantages to weight loss compared to a placebo (2, 3, 4).
- HCG diet drops are supposed to enhance the effects of the diet. There have been studies conducted for decades on HCG. According to an in-depth meta-analysis, researchers complied the data from various studies. Their conclusion? They concluded there is “no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity.” They also said, “it does not bring about weight of fat-redistribution, nor does it reduce hunger or induce a feeling of well-being” (5).
What is the correlation between HCG and weight loss?
There have been claims that HCG is also a potentially effective method for losing weight. The rationale behind HCG weight loss drops is that they increase testosterone levels. This increased testosterone circulation may help people burn fat while maintaining muscle. Per HCG dieters, you can lose between 20 to 165 pounds.
Websites that market HCG drops claim that you can lose 1 lb per day. In the beginning of using the drops, you can “eat as much as you want of whatever you want.” After the initial “loading days,” however, you restrict your diet to 500 calories. Even those that promote HCG drops, however, say 500 calories per day may be too extreme for most people.
What are the side effects of the HCG diet and HCG drops?
Okay, maybe the research shows that HCG drops aren’t effective, but you’re still itching to try these magical drops. If you were to try HCG drops, are there HCG drop side effects? What about the HCG diet itself?
Yes! There are side effects to both the HCG diet and drops. While HCG marketers may claim that side effects are rare, that may not be the case. Besides, why would you even want to put yourself at risk? Here is a list of possible side effects of the HCG diet, HCG drops, and any other method for manipulating HCG levels (6):
- Tumors and cancers of the bladder, kidneys, intestines, prostate, breasts, and lungs
- False positive pregnancy test
- Chronic kidney disease
- Deep vein thrombosis
It is important to note that any time you engage in a diet for weight loss, make sure your doctor and dietitian are aware and approve of the diet. Don’t put yourself at risk! Not only may you be risking your health, you may be doing the diet wrong. Extreme diets like the HCG diet may only lead to short-term weight loss. Your medical team can steer you in the right direction for real, sustainable weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.
If the side effects list above doesn’t scare you, here is something that will: According to the FDA, the HCG diet is “hazardous” to our health (7). Contrary to what you see online, HCG-containing products are actually illegal unless prescribed by a physician.
What does this mean when you are Googling HCG products? This means you are either looking at illegal products, or the HCG drops don’t contain HCG at all! You may not even be getting real HCG drops! Here is a list of a few popular HCG weight loss drops that you may see in an Internet search. We will take a look at these drops to see what they are really offering. See what you think of our HCG drop reviews. We even included some insight on how to really analyze the product label so that know exactly what you are getting.
Popular HCG Drop Complex
You may find this product when doing an Internet search for “HCG complex.” HCG complex products are drops that are supposed to be used along with the HCG diet. The site claims that their product will enhance the fat burning effects while you follow the very low calorie HCG diet.
- Encourages you to purchase other “supporting products” (multivitamins, herbs)
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Does not contain the HCG hormone
- Cheapest package: $69.95 for 2 bottles
- Most expensive package: $239 for 12 bottles
Who Makes It:
HCG Complex sells their main product, the HCG complex, as well as other supplements like multivitamins, biotin, and detox pills. They also sell packages of several products, which are mixtures of HCG drops and pills. HCG Complex strives to create products to help you lose weight, detox, and cleanse, but remember that most supplements are not regulated as tightly as you may think. You may not be getting what you think you are getting.
The Bottom Line:
If you are still interested in trying some HCG products (despite the research), just be wary about the marketing behind such websites. This website claims their products are “100% natural,” however, there are no standard guidelines for a company to make such a claim. The word “natural” can be placed on any label as easy as a picture.
Popular Hormone Free HCG Drops
Reread this product title. Remember: HCG is a hormone. This “HCG drop” is hormone-free, so how can it contain the HCG hormone? Don’t forget that products containing actual HCG are illegal without a prescription. If you’re looking up a HCG product, don’t think that this product actually gives you the HCG hormone. You also want to remember that the HCG diet and HCG drops operate on the basis that having more HCG in your body leads to fat loss. Neither the calorie-restricted HCG diet nor the HCG drops actually give you extra HCG.
- Formulated for “infinite weight loss” (What does that mean?)
- Claims no exercise is needed for weight loss when using this product
- States the legal disclaimer: “Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA.”
- Does not contain the HCG hormone
- com price: $24.99 for 2 ounces
Who Makes It:
Simple Diet Drops as a sect of Organica USA. Organica USA is based out of Miami, Florida and sells a variety of supplements, groceries, and deli products. Their products are featured in hotels, gift shops, and convenience stores all over the world.
The Bottom Line:
This product has several unapproved statements by the FDA. If you find a product that tells you “no exercise is needed when using this weight loss product,” run away (preferably to the gym to exercise). Exercise should always be part of a healthy weight loss diet.
Popular Extra Strength HCG Drops
This product is actually highly rated by consumers even though it does not contain any HCG whatsoever. It claims to be “extra strength,” but it is unclear as to what is so “extra” about it. In comparison to the other products on the list, this product has added niacin, which is a vitamin that aids in energy metabolism. That’s fine, but niacin alone will not make you a super-metabolizer!
- Enriched with niacin (a B vitamin)
- Claims to target weight loss, muscle retention, and has high potency
- 60-day money back guarantee
- Made in the USA
- Amazon.com price: $29.99 for 2 ounces
Who Makes It:
Bio Origins sells weight loss products that target men and women individually, yet they only sell this one product. How can they target both men and women with the same product? Regardless, the Bio Origins website at least states that these products are to be used with a weight loss diet and exercise program.
The Bottom Line:
The only difference between this and the other products is that it is enriched with niacin. Niacin alone will not make or break your weight loss success. More is not always better. One thing to keep in mind, water-soluble vitamins like niacin actually get flushed out of the body if you consume too much of it, so if you get a large burst of niacin from this product, chances are your body will just shed the niacin in your urine.
Important Things to Understand about Fad Diets and Weight Loss
As a Registered Dietitian, I do not recommend any fad diets to my clients. I like to recommend comprehensive weight loss plans that deal with both diet and exercise. Sustainable weight loss occurs at a rate of 0.5 to 2 lbs per week. Sustainable weight loss is weight loss that lasts for the long term.
So you may have been excited to try out the HCG diet or were wondering where to buy HCG drops. Now that you know the research, you may be thinking twice about purchasing these products and following the HCG diet. Again, you are the caretaker of our own body and have the choice on what to put in it.
Don’t feel bad about yourself if you had hope for fad diets to work. It’s human nature to want to find a solution to our problems that is efficient, quick, and easy. Before you are mislead by another fad diet in the future, keep these simple nutrition principles in mind:
- Fad diets are often based on limited studies. Sometimes we see the exceptional results of one study, and suddenly everyone is talking about it. Individual studies are necessary to explore new methods and ideas, but they should not be used for general practices. While everyone is looking for the weight loss fix, we need to give the research more time, more trials, and more analysis before changing the way we lose weight or before creating a new program all together. As a Registered Dietitian, I do not change my treatment guidelines based off of one study. Not even several studies are enough! In order for me to recommend a weight loss treatment, I turn to meta analyses and systematic reviews. These types of documents compile and analyze the data from many studies. Systematic reviews and meta analyses have the power to change the face of weight loss practice.
- Most weight loss studies always have a calorie-restricted diet. Just remember that when you restrict your calories, you’re most likely going to lose weight. There have been countless studies that focus on macronutrients: low carb, high protein, high fat. You will see all sorts of combinations in the research. One thing to keep in mind: More often than not, the researchers will put the participants on a calorie-restricted diet. It doesn’t really matter if they found advantages with a high protein diet. The bottom line is: Everyone in the study was on a calorie restriction, so of course they will lose weight regardless if they kept their carbs low!
- Eating less calories does not mean greater weight loss. You may think that eating the least amount of calories equates to the most amount of weight loss. Despite what the math leads us to believe, this is not the reality of our bodies. Eating too few calories can put your body into starvation mode. Starvation mode actually suppresses the metabolism and results in your body trying to hold onto every calorie you do consume (even if it’s just 500 per day). Starvation mode can be a toxic state that doesn’t lead to greater weight loss. Eating too few calories means you’re going to be really hungry and not losing any weight. Talk about a weight loss bummer!
- Supplements are often not regulated. Any time a supplemental product like HCG drops, serums, or pills is recommended, keep in mind that these types of products are not always regulated. In any supplement, there may be limited restrictions in regards to potency, effectiveness claims, and ingredients. You may not even be getting the exact ingredients you thought were in the product, yet its sitting there on the shelf. Keep that in mind next time you think about purchasing a supplement.
The Bottom Line for Weight Loss Success
So we talked a lot about what doesn’t work for weight loss. You may be throwing your hands up in the air wondering, “What does work for weight loss then?” While weight loss is a highly personal journey, here are some tried-and-true weight loss methods that tend to work for most people:
- Calorie restriction: Reducing your calories by 250 to 500 calories from your current food intake can help you achieve slow, steady, and sustainable weight loss. What’s the point of losing weight quickly if you’re going to gain it all back? Weight loss sustainability is the name of the game.
- Increase exercise: Increasing exercise means burning more calories. Exercise can be a great way to reduce your calories if you’re struggling. Start slow with exercise or find fun ways to be more physically active. Ask your doctor about safe exercises for you. Many people start making exercise a habit by walking 15 minutes per day, taking the stairs, and parking far away so that they have to walk.
- Make healthy switches: Start small and master 1 to 2 dietary changes before moving on to other changes. Switch out pop for plain sparling water. Add more vegetables to your meals. Choose fish, poultry, or plant-based proteins over pork, beef, and processed meats more often. Simple dietary changes can go a long way!
You should always consult your doctor before starting any weight loss routine. You should also consult a Registered Dietitian for more personalized care and weight loss methods. Registered Dietitians can give you the tools you need to overcome weight loss obstacles, and they can tailor a weight loss program that is specific and effective for you.
Now that you have read this article, you understand that fad diets and products that sound too good to be true probably are! You understand that the research can be skewed to market fad diets. You also now understand the research behind the HCG diet and HCG drops. The hardest part now: Giving up the dream that there is a magic potion for weight loss. Using our tips to weight loss success above, take a deep breath and get cranking on your weight loss journey. Good things never come easy, but we can always use some good tips to help us reach our goals.
What other fad diets have your tried? Atkins? Paleo? Did they work initially? Did you keep the weight off? Let us know in the comments below.