Back in the 1950s, a British endocrinologist named ATW Simeons had an idea: a human pregnancy hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) could help people lose weight without feeling hungry. His idea was to put obese patients on a 500 kcal a day diet (in contrast, you probably eat about that much or more at each meal) and give injections of hCG which was supposed to blunt their hunger. According to his writings, his results were not reproduced by anyone else, which, rather than make him doubt his own hypothesis, hardened his belief that only he could do it right. Several studies in the 1970s effectively discredited his work, but in the 90’s, famous shill and convicted felon Kevin Trudeau published a book that helped revive the hCG diet craze.
hCG has a number of clinical uses mostly related to fertility medicine. It’s also used as a biomarker for pregnancy (it’s what we detect on home pregnancy tests) and for certain tumors. Despite many negative studies in the 70s, hCG has made a spectacular return as a diet fad. Not only does it not aid in weight loss, but as an active hormone, it may have other unintended effects (for example, it’s not known if it can contribute to tumor formation or growth, but it is produced by a number of different tumors).
So put yourself in the shoes of a convicted felon like Kevin Trudeau: you want to continue to sell a weight loss scam, but you want to avoid getting sued if you happen to cause a tumor. How can you still market the hCG diet without the hCG? Homeopathy!
A product called KetoMist Spray (not, as far as I know, connected to Trudeau in any way) is purportedly a homeopathic dilution of hCG, that is, there is no hCG in it. Using it, in conjunction with a 500kcal diet, should be no different than using, say, a spray of water. The FDA recently came down on so-called homeopathic hCGs because they are not FDA-approved drugs, nor are they in the “Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia“, a list that allows fake drugs to be sold as real drugs.
But hucksters are endlessly clever. KetoMist appears to skirt the FDA regulations by a bit of sleight-of-hand:
What is in each bottle?Each bottle contains the ‘Energy Profile’ of HCG in multiple potencies (6c / 12c / 30c) imprinted onto a solution of Steam Distilled Water (80%) and Kosher Corn Alcohol (20%). If you want to know more about homeopathic remedies, search online – there is a ton of info on homeopathy.Since an ‘energy signature’ cannot be listed as a physical ingredient (for what should be obvious reasons) it isn’t on the ‘ingredients list’ on the label, but it IS on the label.
In other words, KetoMist “contains” the same homeopathic ingredient which was banned, but it’s called an “energy signature”, hoping to avoid the wrath of the FDA and to separate more husky consumers from their money.
hCG does not contribute to weight loss, and ultra-dilute hCG isn’t even real—there is no hCG in it. It’s all, in my opinion, more fraud, but if consumers read the fine print they will see the truth:
Legal Disclaimer: The FDA has not approved HCG Therapy to lose weight. “HCG HAS NOT BEEN DEMONSTRATED TO BE EFFECTIVE ADJUNCTIVE THERAPY IN THE TREATMENT OF OBESITY. THERE IS NO SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT IT INCREASES WEIGHT LOSS BEYOND THAT RESULTING FROM CALORIC RESTRICTION, THAT IT CAUSES A MORE ATTRACTIVE OR “NORMAL” DISTRIBUTION OF FAT, OR THAT IT DECREASES THE HUNGER AND DISCOMFORT ASSOCIATED WITH CALORIE-RESTRICTED DIETS.”
A tiny but truthful Quack Miranda Warning inserted at the bottom of the webpage specifically refutes all of the claims in big, bold print above. But humans are endlessly hopeful, and looking for that miracle. This isn’t it.
Miller R, & Schneiderman LJ (1977). A clinical study of the use of human chorionic gonadotrophin in weight reduction. The Journal of family practice, 4 (3), 445-8 PMID: 321723
Young RL, Fuchs RJ, & Woltjen MJ (1976). Chorionic gonadotropin in weight control. A double-blind crossover study. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 236 (22), 2495-7 PMID: 792477
Bosch B, Venter I, Stewart RI, & Bertram SR (1990). Human chorionic gonadotrophin and weight loss. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde, 77 (4), 185-9 PMID: 2405506
Stein MR, Julis RE, Peck CC, Hinshaw W, Sawicki JE, & Deller JJ Jr (1976). Ineffectiveness of human chorionic gonadotropin in weight reduction: a double-blind study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 29 (9), 940-8 PMID: 786001
Rabe T, Richter S, Kiesel L, & Runnebaum B (1987). [Risk-benefit analysis of a hCG-500 kcal reducing diet (cura romana) in females]. Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde, 47 (5), 297-307 PMID: 3609673