If you could describe the perfect diet, my guess is it probably wouldn’t include stabbing yourself with a needle 40 times, eating only 500 calories per day, picking from a list of only 26 foods, or paying $500 dollars for a derivative from pregnant woman’s urine to place into your blood stream.

My curiosity peaked when three of my work associates rapidly dropped 30 lbs in 30 days doing just that. Having studied to become a dietitian for three years, I was javascript:replaceBreaksWithP();skeptical of their quick weight loss and wanted to learn more.


After a little internet research, I came across Dr. A.T.W. Simeons manuscript entitled “Pounds & Inches A New Approach to Obesity.” This manuscript defined the HCG Program, which includes a specific 500 calorie diet, and daily injections of the HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone. No exercise program necessary.

Derived from the urine of pregnant woman, the HCG hormone is thought to release stored fat into the blood stream so it can be utilized. Pregnant woman produce this hormone to assist them in nourishing the growing fetus sufficiently. Both men and woman benefit from the hormone equally, and it can be taken orally, or by injection.

The hormone takes around 3 days to become effective in your body, so during the first 3 days you’re encouraged to eat as much as you want. A full program includes 40 hormone injections, half program is 20 injections. If choosing to only do half the program, after the initial first 3 days waiting for the hormone to activate, on days 4-23 you begin the 500 calorie diet plan and continue the self injection every morning. Days 23-26 you stop the hormone injections but remain on the diet while the hormone wears off.

The diet plan limits food selections down to about 26 liquids, fruits, vegetables, and breads. The idea is that by sticking to the 500 calorie per day diet, the body will turn to the circulating fat to use it as energy to make up for the caloric deficit. The diet is as follows:

Breakfast: tea or coffee.

Lunch: 100 grams of lean meat, one breadstick, one cup of vegetables and one fruit chosen from a specific list.

Dinner: same as lunch.


Like all other diets, this one has been met with a lot of criticism. Fox News, NBC, and ABC have all covered both sides of the argument. For me, my first reaction was that it’s a scam, and that anyone limiting their calories to 500 a day would have the same results as someone taking the hormone.

The creators of the diet argue that the fat lost while on the hormone isn’t the readily available fat one uses daily, or while on a typical low calorie diet. Instead, it’s the stored fat that is hard to access. Whether or not the hormone is actually accessing a different type of hard to reach fat has not been verified by the FDA.

Others suggest that only consuming 500 calories per day will throw the diet’s body into a starvation mode in which the body tries to hold onto every calorie consumed. Dr. A.T.W Simeons says this won’t happen because the hormone is releasing stored fat back into the blood stream which is more than enough calories and vitamins for the body to live on.

Another argument is that the diet doesn’t teach the individual how to live a healthy lifestyle because the diet is not a long term solution and no exercise plan is included in the program. Those administering the diet agree it’s a jump start program, not a permanent way of living or eating.


To investigate the theory further, I scheduled a free consultation at a local medical spa in Orem to discuss the program details with a doctor.

I came to the conclusion that for me, there weren’t any major health risks associated with testing the program; the worst thing that could happen is that I waste $300 doing half of the program and don’t lose any weight.

Together we decided as a 5′ 7″ female, I would try the 20 injection program instead of the full 40 injections as I only needed to lose about 20 pounds. This would drop my weight from 150 to 130 pounds.

Yesterday was my first day on the program. I drove to the clinic met with the doctor who verified I understood the diet. Then a young woman weighed and took measurements of my upper arms, waist, hips, thighs, and chest.

She patiently instructed me how to connect the needle to the syringe, measure out the right amount of the liquid hormone, rub my upper arm with an alcohol swab, and inject myself. It was my first time ever sticking a needle into my own arm, but I was surprisingly calm and found it very easy.

I will return to the clinic in 2 weeks to be weighed, and then again at the conclusion of the program.

This morning I woke up and gave myself the second injection with no issues. Yesterday and today I’ve tried to eat a lot, as instructed to do so for the first three days. I feel sick from eating so much, but tried to eat all the foods I thought I would miss or crave during the 23 dieting days. Tomorrow is my last “loading” day before I begin the 500 calories diet. I’m anxious to get on with the diet portion of the program and start losing the weight.