The Pregnancy Pee-Pee Diet

{This ISN’T mine.}

It seems like I have been seeing zillions of ads for something called the hCG diet. Now, anyone who’s ever obsessively read the instructions that come with the pregnancy test sticks knows that hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin–a hormone that’s produced very early on in a pregnancy.

I love pregnancy tests, and obsessively took test after test WAY TOO EARLY each time I was pregnant. And a few times I was not. Anyway, it’s the hCG in pregnant urine (pee pee) that makes the pregnancy test “positive.”

hCG is thought by some to be the hormone responsible–at least partly–for the nausea that pregnant women often experience in the early weeks. Both my pregnancies were heavy on the nausea–as in weeks of moaning and gagging on the couch and being unable to open the refrigerator.

So what’s this hCG diet thing? Apparently, a doctor named Albert Simeons first tried using hCG injections–plus a starvation diet of 500 daily calories–in 1954. And recently, thanks to aggressive Internet promotion, the diet has been making the rounds as a ‘miracle’ weight loss tool with astonishing claims of weight loss of a pound a day or more.

But there are a few things to consider:

1. hCG used in this way is NOT approved by the FDA–in responsible clinical trials, there was no evidence that hCG actually aids in weight loss.

2. 500 calories a day is next to nothing–easily only one-third or one-fourth what most of us actually need in a day. The potential for nutritional deficiency is very, very high.

3. Weight loss from such an extreme diet pretty much never lasts.

4. hCG comes from urine. Eee-yuck!

My take: stay away!