Beware of What You Groupon!

by Brooke on January 11, 2011

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A friend of mine that lives in Grand Rapids, MI just sent me her Groupon post of the day.   The Groupon offer was a $199 for the HCG Diet Program.  This program only allows you to consume up to 500 calories a day and requires that you inject yourself for 40 days.  Sound like fun? 

With all the New Year Resolutions starting it is not surprising that gimmicks like this get posted!  It is just scary that consumers may see this “deal” and believe “uhhhhh….must be a good idea.”  HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone, that is actually produced during pregnancy.  It happens to be the hormone that is detected in urine after conception. 

For weight loss, it is said to help speed up your metabolism and reduce your fat cells.  However, there is no good scientific research supporting this claim!  The Groupon even has this disclaimer at the bottom, “The FDA states that ‘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.'”

Of course you would lose weight on this program!  You are starving your body by consuming only 500 calories a day, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.  Even so, many consumers purchased this product.  A total of 31 people bought this Groupon.  It is uncertain how many HCG Diet Programs were bought, because the “deal” gave a choice between mesotherapy treatments too.   

Whether it is 5 or 31 consumers that purchased this Groupon, it still sparks many questions in my head:

1)  Does no one try eating healthy and exercising anymore?  IT WORKS! 

2)  Are people only searching for that magic pill or in this case magic shot that works?  THERE IS NO SAFE QUICK FIX!

3)  Do consumers just avoid reading the fine print to ease their conscience?    SADLY, IT MAY LEAD TO A HARD LESSON LEARNED.   

Eating healthy and exercising is NOT a gimmick…it just works.  Good things in life take time and that is why there are no healthy fast fixes.  So, before you spend money on unsafe and unproven products on Groupon or anywhere else try putting some effort into your health first! 

Have you seen any crazy weight loss ads lately?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Emjaye January 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I know two sisters who have tried this. It “worked” for one and the other is in the middle of it right now. I just don’t understand how they can believe that it’s a safe and healthy idea or that they’re losing weight based on anything other than the fact that they’re eating just 500 calories a day.

I wish people would just accept that there is no quick fix and that exercise + good food choices is the easiest way to lose weight and be healthy!


Brooke January 12, 2011 at 3:19 am

I agree Emjaye! Thanks for leaving a comment :)


Medifast Recipes January 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I have seen so much information about the HCG Diet, and the more I read, the more I want to snap on the producers of it. I can’t believe people are getting away with promoting this kind of thing. If people would take the time to learn about this diet, they’d quickly learn it is excessively dangerous.

Thanks for sharing your information on it! I hope millions of people read this and stop using it, or they are going to seriously damage their health.


Brooke January 12, 2011 at 3:18 am

Sadly, I believe even if consumers are aware of the risks they will still take the chance just to have the “fast fix.” Many individuals don’t want to put effort into their health anymore :(


Shelley A. Rael, MS RD LD January 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm

In Albuquerque I got a Groupon for HCG too! People swear it works and that it is the drops and not the fact they are only consuming 500 calories… I cannot wait for this one to be over.


Brooke January 12, 2011 at 3:15 am

Hi Shelley, Thanks for stopping by :) I agree and hope this unsafe fad passes soon!


Lauren Slayton January 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I did an ABC segment on fad diets and this one gets my vote for scariest. Sadly, it may also be one of the most popular around. As if HCG wasn’t bad enough, pair it with a 500 cal plan, sad.


Brooke January 12, 2011 at 3:13 am

Hi Lauren, What other diets did you talk about on your segment?


Dana @ Budget Dietitian January 14, 2011 at 2:40 am

This one drives me crazy!


Dagny April 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Hands down SCARIEST “diet” ever… Roca Labs “Gastric Bypass Effect”. Take a dose of this red goo in the morning and it expands in your stomach to leave only 20% capacity the rest of the day. It also magically “regulates blood sugar and eliminates the craving for sweets.” Roca Labs has found some work around for being able to use the logos of the American Heart Association and the FDA on their website. This product is marketed as “cheaper” than surgery and “less risky.”

I guess that’s until you have a rock solid mass of red goo stuck inside you…? It upsets me to think how desperate people can be to take even one dose of something like this into their bodies.


Debron November 30, 2011 at 11:51 pm


I found this article while searching for other people using the Roca Labs formula. I have heard of people turning to these HCG injections or whatever and it blows my mind! I don’t possibly see how they can think it works when there is no evidence that it even does anything.


Brooke December 7, 2011 at 12:18 am

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Debron! I hope to see you back soon :)


Emm September 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Unfortunately I land on your website many times when I Google nutrition stuff (although, bravo- great SEO!). I just have to disagree with almost everything you post… especially about HCG. When the body is releasing fat on HCG hormones it receives enough calories from that fat, and thus eating anything over 500 calories will cause weight gain *WITH THE HCG IN YOUR SYSTEM*. 500 calories WITHOUT HCG is dangerous. The hormone is needed to protect muscle and release the fat for fuel.

As someone who could never lose weight eating healthy (I have PCOS and tried EVERYTHING) HCG is working. I’m amazed. I’m stunned. And I want to cry. This is the only thing that has ever worked. Clean eating never worked. Counting calories never worked. Going vegan never worked. Cutting carbs never worked. HCG works for me and I am so thankful.


Brooke October 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Hi Emm,

I respectfully disagree. Eating 500 calories a day regardless of the diet you are on is not healthy for your body. I have had numerous clients that have had PCOS and do agree with you that “diets” do not work. Losing weight takes a combination of physical activity and a daily balanced eating plan to get the desired long-term results. The problem with quick fixes is that their results are quick lived.


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