Crazy Diet Plan Involves Syringes & Starvation

A trendy new doctor-prescribed diet makes use of pregnant women's pee. The daily injections of the hormone hCG (which is what makes that blue line appear on home pregnancy tests) combined with a 500-calorie-a-day diet is said to make women—who are paying upwards of $1000 for monthly consultations— lose weight rapidly. It's probably obvious to anyone with a modicum of reading comprehension and a minimal understanding of nutrition that, hCG aside, consuming only 500 calories would constitute as a crash diet and is bound to make anyone lose weight rapidly. To put it in a really rudimentary perspective, 500 calories is only five of those 100 calorie snack packs—I can easily do that in a sitting. The hCG (which is derived from pregnant women's urine) supposedly makes it so that women on this diet don't feel hungry while they are starving themselves. Additionally, hCG supposedly metabolizes fat that has been stored where it's least want it: upper arms, bellies and thighs. So it's magical?

Well, yes, if by "magic" you mean "hocus pocus." The FDA says, "It has not been shown to increase weight loss, to cause a more 'attractive' distribution of fat or to 'decrease hunger and discomfort' from low-calorie diets." Dr. Pieter Cohen, assistant professor at Harvard medical school and weight-loss supplement expert, says that hCG is nothing more than a placebo. Added to that, there are a bunch of complications involved with the drug, like cardiovascular risks.

Image via Shutterstock [Kokhanchikov]

Diet Plan With Hormone Has Fans and Skeptics [NY Times]