HCG Diet Craze Raises Controversy

By Sandra Mitchell

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The latest diet craze has many women and men injecting themselves with a substance that suppresses the appetite. It is so effective doctors say you can lose up to one pound a day. But not everyone believes it’s safe.

Inside her El Segundo home Karen Coran injects herself, plunging a needle into the folds of her stomach.

“You make sure that the syringe doesn’t have any bubbles in it… Inject the needle straight in,” dieter Karen Coran said while demonstrating how she prepares her injections.

She is not a drug addict or a diabetic — she is an extreme dieter.

“I’ve done Lindora, I’ve done Weight Watchers,” she said.

She tried almost everything. At 5 foot-3 inches and more than 250 pounds, she was considering lap band surgery.

“I was frustrated, because it seemed like my body, no matter what i did, wanted to hold on to the weight,” Coran said.

Then her doctor told her about the HCG Diet.

HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone used for fertility treatments. It’s found naturally in the bodies of pregnant women. Some doctors believe HCG tricks the body into pulling fat from the body while suppressing appetite.

“Have you ever seen anything that works this well?” I asked Dr. Judi Goldstone.

“Not, this quickly. No,” she replied.

Dr. Goldstone of the Southern California Center for Anti-Aging is Coran’s physician.

At first Dr. Goldstone was skeptical.

“There was so much patient demand. They were calling asking if i did it. I started researching it and I tried it. And I was just shocked by how phenomenal the results are,” Goldstone said.

She now has 20 patients on HCG. Most of them are women, but she says it works just as well for men.

Patients on the HCG diet are restricted to 500 to 800 calories a day. The diet is limited, consisting of plenty of protein with some fruits and vegetables.

“I’ll get tomatoes and strawberries, which are great this time of year,” Coran said.

Doctors say that many patients lose a half pound to a pound a day for the first six weeks. Because the caloric intake is so low, doctors actually urge their patients not to exercise.

“Is there ever a point where the patients are losing too much weight and too fast?” I asked the doctor.

“Yes. I’ve said no you have got to maintain your weight for the next week,” Goldstone said.

A typical lunch consists of three ounces of chicken, a few strawberries and a piece of lettuce.

Opponents say that eating like that of course dieters will lose weight. They warn it can be dangerous, causing vitamin deficiencies or other serious health problems.

“It’s risky to get injections of a substance one a week,” said Dr. Sharon Orrange, an internist at The Doctors of USC, who specializes in women’s health.

HCG first became popular as a diet drug in the U.S. in the 1970s. But recently it has exploded on the Internet. Dozens of websites advertise pharmaceutical or homeopathic HCG.

HCG is FDA approved for fertility treatment, but not for weight loss. To get it, you need a prescription from your doctor.

If you buy it without a prescription over the Internet, there is no way to determine what is really in the product.

“I think the FDA will perk up and I know they have in the last couple of weeks and start to really cut down on what’s sold on the Internet,” Orrange said.

Dr. Orrange recommended asking yourself the follow questions before starting any extreme diet.

Is it nutritionally adequate?
Is there research?
Is this diet sustainable?

Coran says that with the help of her doctor, she is starting her second phase of the diet.

“A diet is sort of a personal thing. What works for me may not work for you or somebody else,” Coran said.

She hopes to lose another 30 pounds in the next few weeks.

“I’m not where I need to be yet, but I know I’m on the path and I know I can continue the journey and get to where i need to go,” she said.

The HCG Diet costs almost $400 for a six-week treatment and it is not covered under insurance since it is considered preventative health.

For More Information:

Judi Goldstone, MD
Southern California Center for Anti-Aging
Anti-Aging Medicine
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement
Medically Supervised Weight Loss

23823 Hawthorne Blvd.
Torrance, CA. 90505
(424) 247-4962 phone
(310) 375-1120 fax
www.southerncaliforniacenterforantiaging.com

More from Sandra Mitchell
Comments

One Comment

  1. MP says:

    This is one of THE MOST RIDICULOUS things I have ever heard in my entire life, EVER. It’s prevention, alright. It’s preventing these people to not cringe when they test their blood sugar.
    I say this as an overweight woman, who, if it weren’t for my common sense, might be a viable candidate for this scam.

  2. An says:

    this is sick. 250 pounds and she had “tried” dieting? For how long, an hour? It’s called eat a vegetarian diet for two months along with 2 hours of exercise every day. I can guarantee you will lose weight. Wow. Obese people have so many excuses.

    1. mich says:

      Really, exercise 2 hours a day????… GET REAL. Yes, portion control and REASONABLE exercise is required to lose weight. Also, don’t stereotype obese people.

      1. BONNIE JANE LEVINSON says:

        How IGNORANT are these people that tell people to go on a diet much less a 500 calorie diet. Your cells can ever sustain your normal body functions. This is insane. Eat healthy vegetable and fruits, the right protein and carbs and the proper routine for YOUR BODY TYPE AND CONDITION. Please!!!!! DON’T LISTEN TO ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU TO GO ON A DIET OR A LOW CALORIE DIET. NOT HEALTHY AND YOUR BODY WILL NOT UTILIZE THE ENERGY SOURCES TO ACTUALLY BURN FAT. YOU WILL END BREAKING DOWN YOUR MUSCLES AS WELL BECAUSE YOUR BODY NEEDS TO GET ENERGY FROM SOMEWHERE. THIS MAKES ME SO MAD. PLEASE PEOPLE. IF YOU ARE GOING TO TRY AND LOSE WEIGHT THAN YOU NEED A HEALTHY EXERCISE PROGRAM AND THE PROPER NUTRITION.
        SEE SOME OF MY ARTICLES ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE-TOTAL LIFE CHANGES-THE PROFILE IS A GREEN APPLE WITH A TAPE MEASURE. BE HEALTHY. DO NOT RISK LOSING WEIGHT IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DO IT SAFELY. YOU CAN USE INCORPORATE SUPPLEMENTS IF YOU ARE DOING IT SAFELY. THIS IS NOT SAFE. !!! BONNIE JANE LEVINSON

    2. Olga says:

      No, there are many factors that prevent you to loose weight thats why sometimes scam take over obese people. I gain 80 pounds under stress and not eating wrong (no excess fats, eliminated refined carbs, excersise daily and I still have not loose weight. When you are overweight not necessarily look for excuses but for answers and results. If you had never been overweight great for you but dont judge is hell being overweight and not been able to find a way to loose it.

  3. Santra Smith says:

    Dr. Goldstone used to work for Lindora. I wonder if Karen was her patient at Lindora. The HCG diet used to be the diet plan of Lindora and the weight loss was great. Problem is, how do you keep the weight off if you don’t follow some type of long term maintenance. I feel sorry for Karen, because this diet will fail her too, unless she makes significant life style changes.

  4. ginny says:

    I had a family member who, in the 1970’s went on this diet, she dropped a large amount of weight, but began having problems with her B/P, blood chemistries and then some organ malfunctions. She got to the point where her weight loss was not worth the overall damage to her general health. I strongly believe that we will be seeing these same things not to long from now. The people considering this option need to go back and research what happened in the 1970’s before considering this.

  5. Astonished says:

    Giving yourself injections in the stomach!!! OMG! Look, I’m overweight (fat actually), and I want to lose weight too! But not like this! This is one of those too good to be true moments.

    Does anyone remember Theliemyde and what it did to the babies of pregnant women who took it for nausea! I’m sensing the same thing here.

  6. Mary Elizabeth says:

    I am a 43 year old female. I am 5’2 and weigh 147 pounds. Controlling this weight and keeping it at or around these numbers has not been easy. I eat as healthy as possible, but I am no health fanatic when it comes to what I put in my mouth. This morning for breakfast I had Raspberries, Strawberries, 2 Yogurts, Ham and Cheddar Lunchable and 1 small coffee from McDonald’s. I will have lunch, probably Mexican Food, and after work, I will go to the park to climb 60 minutes of stairs. Last night I climbed 40 minutes of stairs, and then walked. Tonight my workout will be about the same. You have to move your body in order to lose the weight or at least keep it off. Eating is not what makes a person fat – it’s not moving your body that puts on the pounds. There are no easy tricks to losing weight because if there were, I would be the first in line. Instead I am the first one at the park after a LONG day at work. You will regret getting these shots one day, just like those who are now regretting getting these stomach surgeries. Please stop doing this to your body, pull out your IPOD and get out there and move. I don’t want to see any woman die from these “Easy” techniques as they are just an easy way out. We all want the easy way out, but unfortunately, as humans, we have to move the body. What is the saying? “If you don’t use it, you will lose it”. Shame on the Dr. who is encouraging this type of weight loss – instead she should put these ladies out on the streets for one hour walks.

  7. mik says:

    diet is actually 80% of the equation and the components of said diet make a huge difference….getting out there and moving isn’t the sole answer…i am 41, 5.2″ and 122lbs…without working at it (and i don’t have “thin genetics” LOL)
    “move more, eat less” or “cardio cardio cardio”, too much cardio robs your body of muscle…which burns fat.
    i think it is great that you love your exercise , you’d be surprised at how differently you would look and feel if you paid attention to your food intake (lunchables and probably the two yogurts are LOADED with chemicals, sodium, and processed to death…..and also about 600 calories for that breakfast)
    something to think about….

  8. Linda says:

    Not all HCG weight loss programs require shots in your stomach! You can do drops. I hate needles and would never have considered doing this program if I had to inject myself. The drops have worked great, you only do them for 23 days and you learn to prepare healthy meals in the process. The program does not allow you to eat carbs except 2 melba toasts a day and sugar, fats, and olis are eliminated as well. I have lost 14 pounds and have no repercussions.

  9. Linda says:

    I wish the news would give all options and details of this weight loss program…there report is too vague. They don’t explain that eventhough you are only consuming 500 calories you are actually working of off approx 2000 calories because the HCG drops are allowing the hypothalamus to continually release abnormal fat stored in the body. Again, you do this for 23 days only and then you move on to 1000 calories for the rest of the 24 days. Then back to normal with ofcourse some moderate excersice🙂

  10. Kristina says:

    I have read some of these comment and I am appalled at the reaction of people towards this diet. Yes it is extreme, hence why it is called extreme diets. Do you think that people don’t know the risks before going into something like this? I tried this diet last year when I lived in Texas. I am 27 years old, 5’2 and was 164 pounds. My mother and I both tried this diet and it was a great experience. You take a shot everyday, 1/2 pill of phentermine, and a multi vitamin. You have a fruit for breakfast, 100 grams of protein and a vegetable, another fruit as a snack and then 100 grams of a different protein and another vegetable. You cut out all fat, sugar, carbs oil, all the bad stuff. Not only did I learn what it feels like when you eat healthy but it made me aware of what all the bad things I was eating did to my body. It is a lifestyle change and it literally changed the way I think about food. I am now 125 pounds and have kept it off for a year. Once you are done with the 26 or 40 days (which ever program you choose) you slowly and gradually work sugars and carbs and fats back into your diet but with moderation. Now not only do I feel my healthiest but I am back to my athletic self. And I have the HCG diet to thank for jump starting me to a healthier path. I would recommend this to anyone who is thinking about it and fits the health requirements for the diet.

  11. lora olguin says:

    Yes I’m now on the diet and love the results. I have lost 30 pounds last year took a long break and did juice feasting. I went on a raw food diet and felt good. if it wasn’t for the HCG I woulndn’t have descovered eating healthy. I did excersise 4 times a week at the gym followed a 1200 diet for a whole year and got no where until I discovered this diet. I need to lose another 30 pounds to get where I wanna be…I’m so thankful for this discovery.

  12. Federico says:

    I have many friends who have tried the HCG drops (under your tongue) and I tried it myself a couple of times……IT WORKS!! The calorie count is actually about 750 calories for women and about 950 for men each day. The original book doesn’t count the calories from the two pieces of fruit you get to eat a day, which gives the extra ~250 calories per day. For women you get 7.0 ounces of protein a day, for men it’s 10.0 ounces a day. This is what keeps your muscle mass in place…… The difficulty is keeping the weight off after finishing the diet….changing lifestyle and eating habits….. It’s a challenge, but it can be done…… IT WORKS!!

  13. katie says:

    Katie
    where can I find a licensed/ legal Dr for this in orange county, CA? I’d love to try. Please advise.

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