In the 1950s a British endocrinologist working in Rome, named A.T.W. Simeons, discovered that giving obese patients doses of the hormone hCG--which is produced naturally by women during pregnancy to help divert nutrients from mother to baby--helped those patients lose body fat and weight and increase metabolism. Use of hCG for weight loss subsequently became particularly popular in the 1970s, prompting studies about the use of the substance in dieting and also warnings by the FDA concerning dangers and lack of proven effectiveness of the hormone for weight loss. To this day, it is not FDA-approved for dieting and the agency does not allow it's sale over-the-counter and only allows its use as a prescription if accompanied by a label that informs patients that the hormone has not been proven effective for weight loss or hunger suppression.
But that is how the hCG is touted as a weight loss miracle. That it allows its users to go on an extreme calorie-restricted diet and not be afflicted with extreme hunger at the same time. The diet has become popular again, but many people doubt the claim that the hormone does anything at all for weight loss and, in fact, say that it is dangerous to use it for that purpose.
Featured image: By Jennifer Nicole Lee [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons