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Diet Danger

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WSVN -- Darla Summerville is excited about a new diet she started a couple months ago.

Darla Summerville: "People are trying it and have such great results. You tell your friends, everywhere I turn people are on it."

It's called the HCG Diet. It's going to sound strange, but HCG is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. It comes in over-the-counter drops and then is injected into the body.

Darla Summerville: "Typically you start with 10 drops three times a day."

Registered dietitian Lona Sandon says it tricks the body into trying to provide food for a growing fetus.

Lona Sandon, Registered Dietitian: "And that's what its attraction is, is how it works in the body to help melt fat off the body."

The other big attraction you don't have to exercise, but here's the sticking point: You can only eat 500 calories per day, that's about a quarter of what's recommended for a woman's daily intake.

Lona Sandon: "A diet that low in calories certainly can have side effects, like irritability, nervousness, dizziness, obviously hunger if you're only eating 500 calories a day."

In three weeks, Darla says she lost 13 pounds. Her husband dropped 15.

Darla Summerville: "You could see drastic changes in his face, his stomach."

Those results are hard to argue, but dietitians see it differently.

Lona Sandon: "I do not see any benefits for someone to go to this extreme for weight loss."

Sandon also warns you may lose muscle mass. Since muscles help maintain metabolism, in the end the weight loss might be harder to maintain.

Whenever a new, radical diet is being considered, the products and claims should be checked thoroughly, and always discussed with your doctor.

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