Hormone Therapy for Weight Loss Gaining Popularity

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Back in March, the New York Times reported on the persistent popularity of hCG hormone therapy as a weight-loss aid for women. The treatments cost upward of $1,000 a month and demand users to consume just 500 calories a day.

Despite scant scientific evidence to back hCG as an effective and lasting weight-loss treatment, there seems to be plenty of anecdotal proof: women told the Times they were able to lose about a pound a day without feeling hungry and that they were seeing a reduction in stubborn fat deposits around their body.

The LA Times published a similar piece Sunday, noting that the hormone injections are now starting to gain an air of legitimacy, thanks to medical doctors who are offering them as part of a "medically supervised" weight loss plan.

"At least one physicians group is offering hCG training to doctors," the LA Times reports. "And wellness centers and medical spas also tout the hCG diet as the long-awaited magic bullet."

But studies continue to come to the same conclusion: hCG itself does not spur weight loss or fat redistribution; if dieters lose weight on the regiment, it's because they're on an ultralow-calorie diet and the hCG is a placebo.

So what's wrong with a placebo if it helps you achieve weight loss anyway? Lots if the placebo is harmful in other ways: hCG has side effects of hair loss, and can increase the risk of blood clots, headaches, irritability and fatigue, according to the LA Times. And for women of a childbearing age, hCG "could generate antibodies that put future pregnancies in danger," a doctor told the LA Times.

Not to mention the fact that you're malnourishing yourself by consuming just 500 calories.

To read more about women's experiences with hCG, see this NY Times article or this LA Times article.

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