The HCG Diet: Deal or No Deal

Logo_Dave_AppleThe HCG diet plan is a relatively new weight loss plan that’s increasingly being used in the current diet market. HCG is an ingested or injected hormone that is used with a 3-phase diet plan targeting women who are looking to rapidly lose stubborn “belly fat”.

Some articles promoting the HCG diet claim that it has a 70% long-term success rate.  That’s a pretty high percentage for any diet program.  Being a personal trainer and nutrition counselor, I definitely needed to check on this latest fad.


I found the most reputable OB-GYN practice in the area offering the HCG diet plan and followed a few of their women clients for a year to assess the results.  I am writing this blog to share what I observed from these women who completed the three phases of an HCG diet while also training with me one to two times per week.

First, the HCG diet plan I observed required the women to inject themselves daily with HCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone that is released by the placenta during pregnancy (over-the-counter oral meds are now available however, I haven’t looked into whether they are as effective).  Second, the HCG diet requires women to spend at least $500-$1000 for the blood tests, doctor’s visits, hormones, etc.

Third, the initial phase of the diet regimen is very extreme in both calorie reduction and limited food choices.  I noticed that trying to follow the HCG diet plan for the first 40 days while also working and spending time with family was very emotionally trying for these women, but all of them were very persistent to finish the process.  Lastly, due to the high water requirements of the HCG diet I examined, three of the women expressed the frustration of constantly having to go to the bathroom, which often meant a poor night’s sleep.
That being said, the HCG diet sounds pretty unappetizing.   So why do it?  I wondered, “Was it effective enough to be worth the aggravations?”

Surprisingly, I observed that with the HCG injections all of the women maintained a relatively strong adherence to the diet plan without feeling too hungry, but their workout intensity dropped lower than their usual standard.  Therefore, I can say that with HCG injections, the women did experience appetite suppressing effects and were able to lose desired weight around the middle when they also followed the recommended diet plan. With exercising three days a week, average weight loss was 8-10 pounds a week and noticeably from the targeted areas.  After the hormone injections ended in phase two of the diet (~40 days), the women proceeded to the final phase of the diet.

“Was this too good to be true?” From my observations, YES!  In just a few quick months after completing the HCG diet, all of the women gained some of the weight back. Within a year their hopes of being one of the folks with a 70% long-term success rate were crushed. 100% of the women gained the weight back and in the same places. If the odds of long-term success were as reported, I should have had at least 1 if not 2 of the women sustain the desired results.

Therefore, after seeing these women struggle with the doctor’s visits, appointment changes, emotional frustrations, HCG injections, etc., I decided to investigate further into finding a way that might help women lose some of the weight again and in a way that they could maintain the weight loss permanently.

Pulling from my knowledge of nutritional science and experience as a nutritional science researcher (completed Master’s degree in Nutritional Science), I collaborated with a few dietitians and doctors to create a healthier step-by-step workbook called Y.E.S.-Your Eating Solution©. Out of five women who leniently adhered to it (occasionally having some chocolate or chips, for example) for only six weeks and exercised three days a week, all lost between 10-12 pounds.

Unlike the HCG diet plans which can only be used for short periods of time, there is no time limit to the Y.E.S.© approach so weight loss possibilities are unlimited.  Also, unlike the HCG diet plan experience I had where all the weight was regained for all the women, the Y.E.S.© approach results have shown that all women have kept from 80% to 100% of the weight off since beginning!

The process my clients used are outlined in Y.E.S.-Your Eating Solution©.  Y.E.S. provides the overview, principles and critical components to success as well as the specific meal plans, caloric breakdowns, suggested food sources, and ideal times to eat the suggested food sources in an easy to use workbook format.  Simply put, the Y.E.S.© approach works with your body and its natural processes for creating a lifetime of weight management.

What I learned is that women can be successful with losing weight and keeping it off with even relative adherence to the suggestions of Y.E.S.-Your Eating Solution© without the hormone injections, high costs, or trips to the bathroom at night.  So, instead of spending upwards of $1000 for the HCG diet process, I created the Y.E.S.-Your Eating Solution© for a fraction of the cost. You’ll also benefit from bonus features of this workbook: Lean body diet, Lean body diet plus muscle mass and some Design Your Own Diet Success strategies.  Discover how you can be a success with Y.E.S.-Your Eating Solution©.

“The Y.E.S. workbook has gone where few in the “diet book” category have gone before: to the individual.  Rather than follow the “one-size-fits-all” approach, the Y.E.S. workbook takes a completely different approach. Packed with invaluable tools, self-help guides and references,  the Y.E.S. workbook provides user friendly know-how to construct a nutritional plan based on individual preferences and weight wellness goals.”

– Deirdre Pizzoferrato, RD, CD-N, “The Nutrition Nanny™”                      Child Nutrition Expert and Owner & Founder of Beanstalk Express


About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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