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HCG Therapy usually includes taking the HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone, which is produced in pregnant women, while at the same time cutting calories to between 500-1000 a day. Studies show that while this may produce a placebo effect, there is controversy over whether HCG itself causes weight loss. The American Society of Bariatric Physicians discourages its use because of the risk of malnutrition due to such minimal calories. (10, 60)