Ewe: Women Taking Pregnancy Hormones to Lose Weight


There’s something very untoward about an article in today’s New York Times, “Diet Plan with Hormones Has Fans and Skeptics.

The article reports on a weight loss trend where women are purposely injecting themselves with hCG, a pregnancy hormone, and then starving themselves on a 500-calorie-a-day plan to lose weight very quickly in “all the right places”–weddings were mentioned as a popular motivation. They are doing this under a doctor’s supervision as hCG is approved for off-label weight loss.

Now certainly I get how eating 500 calories a day would make a person lose weight. The “science” behind the idea seems to be that the hormone helps you not feel hungry and creates a more toned body thanks to its induction of male hormones to produce muscle mass (rather shakily proven) and delete fat from problem areas, such as bellies. This is the same hormone that got baseball star Manny Ramirez suspended for 50 games for using hCG, which is banned by Major League Baseball.

Besides the noted cardiovascular risks and the anorexia-like caloric intake, it just seems wrong to be to take a pregnancy hormone to do something so unnatural to one’s body. Am I overreacting, or are these women totally crazy (especially the former anorexic on the diet)? Can’t they just go on a diet like a normal person?