Pretend to Be Pregnant, Lose Weight!

The New York Times reports on the latest diet fad (for rich people anyway): injecting yourself with hCG, a pregnancy hormone. Oh, and eating only 500 calories a day.

There are so many things wrong with this, I don't know where to begin. Yes, it's legal for doctors to prescribe hCG "off-label" for weight loss. But scientific proof that the hormone will actually do what's being suggested—cause you to lose fat in all the right places, curb feelings of hunger and fatigue—is spotty at best. Not to mention the health risks, like potential cardiovascular issues. And there's that whole starving yourself thing (which seems like it'd work on its own, right?).

So why would someone pay a thousand bucks to start injecting herself with something that may have no benefit whatsoever, and could even be harmful? Based on the NYT article, it seems like it's more of a psychological crutch that may help some people stick to their starvation diet.

No reason to take the risk, I say. I mean, while we're at it, maybe we should see if science can find a way to turn off our pancreases. Type 1 diabetics who stop taking their insulin can eat whatever they want while losing weight like crazy. You'll eventually end up in a coma or dead, but hey, you'll be a skinny little corpse!

Image source: flickr member Andres Rueda under Creative Commons