Is an hCG diet useful when trying to conceive?

hCG diet ©

hCG diet ©

Is an hCG diet useful when trying to conceive? We show you the pros and cons of an hCG diet to lose weight in order to get pregnant.

In the 1950s, the physician Albert T.W. Simeons developed a special diet in which the pregnancy hormone hCG in combination with a low-calorie diet was supposed to lead to significant weight loss. The special hCG diet is banned in Germany. However, it is practiced in many countries. Many women with an unfulfilled desire to have children practice dieting in order to lose weight, as being overweight can have a negative impact on fertility. But is the hCG diet useful when trying to conceive? Based on studies and experience, we discuss whether an hCG weight loss diet according to Dr. Simeons can be useful before becoming pregnant. 

Weight and fertility – how are they linked?

There are various studies on the subject. A meta-study, which looked at 16 scientific studies and their results, found that a small weight loss of 5% of body weight can increase the pregnancy rate in overweight women. The loss of body weight had no significant effect on the rate of live births or miscarriages in the studies. So now it is clear why many women who are overweight and want to have children want to lose weight to increase their chances. Whether the hCG diet can be a way to do this remains to be seen.

Does the hCG diet help with the desire to have children?

Unfortunately, it has to be said that only a few scientific studies can confirm the hCG diet.

No significant weight loss with hCG

In a meta-analysis of over 16 studies, it was concluded that there is no clear evidence that the hCG diet can significantly reduce weight. Placebos were also administered in the studies and of course you still lose weight with such a low calorie intake. Now you can begin to understand why the hCG diet is not permitted in Germany.

Few studies show minimal positive influence of hCG on women’s fertility

In one study, 93 women wanted to become pregnant using IVF. One group took low doses of hCG, while the other group did not receive such a supplement. The results showed improved progesterone levels in the second half of the cycle in the hCG group. However, there was no increased pregnancy rate in the hCG group and therefore no significant influence on fertility.

hCG replacement therapy to increase sperm quality in old age

Men also go through the menopause. Testosterone levels fall with age and so the desire for sexuality and fertility are lower in old age. Studies have shown that this effect can also be counteracted by hCG therapy. 

Overall, further studies are needed to assess whether an hCG diet has a positive effect on the fertility of men and women.

How does the hCG diet work?

The hCG diet is a weight loss strategy that involves hCG injections or drops in combination with an extremely low calorie diet (about 500 calories per day). Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons founded this diet in the 1950s, claiming that hCG would stimulate the body to use fat reserves instead of muscle for energy. The diet is divided into three phases:

#1 Start-up phase: 

You start taking hCG and eat as much fatty food as possible for two days.

#2 Weight loss phase: 

You continue your hCG intake and limit yourself to a daily intake of 500 calories. This phase lasts 3 to 6 weeks.

#3 Stabilization phase: 

You suspend your hCG intake and gradually increase your calorie intake, but continue to avoid sugar and starches for another three weeks.

Foods for the hCG weight loss diet

The hCG weight loss diet severely restricts the choice of foods and determines what can be consumed during the weight loss phase. The following foods are examples of what is typically consumed on a day of the hCG therapy:


Lean protein sources such as white meat poultry (chicken or turkey), beef (lean), fresh white fish (no salmon, mackerel or other oily fish), lobster, crab or shrimp.


Leafy greens such as spinach, chicory, Swiss chard, green salad; other allowed vegetables include tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, fennel, onions, asparagus, kabis (cabbage) and green peppers.


Apples, oranges, strawberries and grapefruits are typical examples. It is worth noting that fruit intake is usually limited to two portions per day.


A very small amount of low-carb crackers or grissini sticks may be allowed.

Does the hCG diet have side effects?

The German Nutrition Society clearly advises against the hCG therapy. It is also clear that such a blatant diet can also have health consequences such as malnutrition. 

hCG diet experiences

Medical journals report the case of a 64-year-old woman who presented to hospital with swollen legs and shortness of breath. The preliminary interview revealed that she had been following the hCG diet for two weeks. The result was that she had a venous thrombosis and a bilateral pulmonary embolism. So here you can see once again why the hCG diet is not recommended by leading nutritionists.


The hCG diet is medically controversial in its effect on the desire to have children and as an aid to weight loss. From a legal point of view, the hCG diet is not officially permitted in Germany and some other countries. In our opinion, there are safer and more tolerable methods to reduce weight when trying to conceive. A major disadvantage of the hCG diet, apart from the possible side effects and risks, is that it is not a long-term solution. The hCG diet can be practiced for a maximum of a few weeks under the supervision of a doctor. It would be better to change your diet in order to lose weight in the long term, but this is best practiced for life. In healthy women, for example, studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet has significantly better results when trying to conceive.


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