HCG, Raspberry Ketones and African Mango, OH MY!

May 15, 2012
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

The 2 steps you must take before starting any diet, period.

Everyone is in search of a magic bullet with the obesity epidemic affecting almost 100 million Americans. From the “pay per pound” diet offering $5/lb lost, to the shocking “feeding tube diet,” no weight loss method is considered too extreme or too taboo these days.

Dominating the market lately are exotic ingredients like Raspberry Ketones and African Mango Extract – “miracle fat burners” or “rapid weight loss catalysts” that promise to speed up metabolism and suppress appetite without a single diet tweak!

The popular HCG diet limits dieters to 500 calories a day for up to 40 days while curbing appetite with HCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy. All the while, these quick fixes offer no lifestyle changes OR long-term health benefits. Is this really the way you want to lose? Is this really the example we want to set for our children where obesity impacts 1 out of 3?

All of these get-skinny quick gimmicks miss another crucial element: detox. They ignore the importance of first preparing the liver (your body’s major detox organ) and colon (your body’s plumbing system) for successful weight loss.


In today’s toxic world we are exposed to approximately 100,000 chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, pollutants, hormones and “obesogens” (chemicals  that promote obesity like Bisphenol A in plastic water bottles) and phthalates (found in perfumes and body care products) – the majority of which are fat soluble and stored in body fat. As our fat melts away, it releases the toxins that have been stored there, putting us at risk for new health issues as potential toxins migrate into different body organs like the brain, kidneys, and pancreas.

In turn, these toxins can also stall weight loss by slowing down metabolism and inhibiting the production of thyroid hormone, with a resulting metabolic meltdown. Clinical research from the University of Quebec as far back as 2002 suggests that toxins slow metabolism. In addition, many of these chemicals continually stimulate an inflammatory response in the body creating a hospitable environment for disease.

No matter what products or diet plan you may be contemplating, these are the two essentials you must do to prepare your body:

Number 1: Nourish your liver
As the body’s major detox organ, the liver is responsible for filtering all of these toxins out of your bloodstream, and producing bile to break down fats as well as assimilate fat-soluble vitamins. Bile is the most ignored natural route for getting rid of chemical wastes.

So, when you’re increasing the liver’s workload – especially during weight loss – it’s crucial to keep it in tip-top shape.

Keep in mind that your liver needs big time nutritional support so it will not become depleted during the detox process stimulated by circulating toxins from your bodily fat stores. Supporting your liver and improving your bile level will help improve fat metabolism, cleanse your system, and keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Support your liver and build up bile by incorporating these Liver-Loving Foods into your diet:

Daily, choose at least one from each group.

The Crucifers (1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw, about the size of a small fist) – Cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccoli sprouts

Green Leafy Vegetables and Herbs (1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw) – Parsley, kale, watercress, chard, cilantro, beet greens, collards, escarole, dandelion greens, mustard greens

Citrus (1 orange or the juice of ½ lemon or lime) – Orange, lemon, lime

Sulfur-Rich Foods – Garlic (at least one clove, minced), onions (1/2 cup cooked), eggs (2), daikon radish (1/4 cup sliced, either raw or cooked)

Liver Healers – Artichoke (1 small artichoke or 4 cooked artichoke hearts), asparagus (1/2 cup cooked), beets (1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw), celery (2 medium stalks), dandelion root tea (1 to 2 cups), whey (1 to 2 scoops), nutritional yeast flakes (1 to 2 teaspoons)

For Added Support
To nourish your liver naturally and give your body a cleansing boost, I highly recommend Liver-Lovin’ Formula. This is a unique blend of:

• Artichoke, a well-known liver healer that’s loaded with antioxidants to help move toxins through detox pathways and to boost bile production.

• Copper-free chlorophyll to further enhance elimination (Note: Copper is found in many liquid chlorophyll supplements on the market in the form of chlorophyllin, a water-soluble, semi-synthetic sodium/copper derivative. In excess, copper can overwhelm the liver’s ability to detoxify.)

• Taurine, a major amino acid detoxifier that boosts the liver’s production of bile, aids in both fat breakdown and helps the body detoxify chemicals better than any other amino acid.

Adults can take 2 capsules of Liver-Lovin’ Formula daily, with meals.

Number 2: Care for your Colon

While your liver acts as the body’s filtration system, the colon is essentially the body’s garbage dump. When your colon is clogged and toxic, as so many of our colons are, you’re likely to encounter health problems as well as weight issues. Ideally, food should only remain in your system for 12 to 18 hours before your colon eliminates it as waste, however, for most US adults, that waste sits in the colon for 2 to 7 days. The longer the waste remains in the colon, the more opportunity for toxins to penetrate back into your bloodstream, where your poor, overworked liver has to deal with them all over again. As a result, your body, especially your fat, becomes overloaded with toxic residues. Cleansing your colon not helps the body fully absorb and assimilate nutrients; it also makes you feel fuller faster while feeling even more satisfied, energized and nourished!

Fiber is nature’s own detoxifier, literally scrubbing the clogged fecal matter out of your colon and off your intestinal walls, helping you stay regular, and enabling your colon to work at peak efficiency. Add these Colon-Caring Foods – sources of insoluble and soluble fiber – to your diet:

Daily, choose at least two.

Colon-Caring Foods – Powdered psyllium husks (1 to 2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of water), milled or ground  chia or flaxseeds (2 to 3 tablespoons), carrot (1 small raw), apple (1 small raw with skin), pear (1 small raw with skin), berries (1)

Here’s a twist on a favorite dip that will chase the toxins away.

Just a couple of teaspoons a day will keep those heavy metals at bay, thanks to cilantro’s healing power.  Great with salads or as a dip for a variety of freshly cut veggies.  Freezes well in self-sealing plastic bags.

Pesto Presto Cilantro (Makes 1 Cup)

1 ½ cups packed fresh cilantro

6 tablespoons flaxseed oil or olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

Place the cilantro and oil in a food processor.  Process until the cilantro is well chopped.

Add the lemon juice and garlic. Process again until a paste is formed, scraping down the sides of the processor’s bowl as needed. Serve right away or cover and refrigerate.


Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. lisa

    This blog makes a really good point about choosing a healthy lifestyle and accomplishing weight loss in a constructive way so that we can avoid the yo yo dieting that is so harmful.

    This is the best example we can set for our children.

  2. Lolita Yagnik

    I think we should not critize the HCG program. I am a personal trainer and family members are doctors and it is a good program. I am person that has done 3 rounds and I got to my size but also after the program and before started I did healthy and take all my oils. It makes your refocus on how you look at food so weightloss is an emotional ride so if you do not deal with your emotions, meditate, workout and eat right and nourish your soul you will not lose weight. So every program is designed for each individual as the flat flush program which in turn i used to for my clients. Namaste

    • Ilona


      What brand of HCG did you take? There are so many on the market and I believe many of them are not the real one. Can you help me, please?
      Thank you.

  3. Carol Ann

    Tue 5-15-12. I am a retired nurse, but working as an Executive Secretary now. 4 yr ago, having tried everything to lose weight, get off of 2 insulin Rx’s, 1 mouth medication for diabetes… I took the plunge & did Dr Simeon’s HCG diet. 9 months later, I had lost 86 lbs, and over 88 total inches off my body, with bikini pictures on both ends to prove the results. Now, at 71+ I am still holding my weight for body height & structure. With a medical background, I did a lot of research. And, according to my endocrinologist visit and total diabetic wellness panel just 1 month ago, he said “You can’t argue with SUCCESS, and you made my day being my first patient of the day. From here, the rest of the people I see will be all down hill.” I have made a believer out of him. Unfortunately, the conversation between Doctor and me concluded that people don’t want to own up to responsibility for their health, they just want to eat what they want to eat, and get a pill or shot. No accountability is what it is called. So, add my patient history to the HCG method with over 50 years of proof that it does work. But, just like anything, you have to work the plan to get the planned results!

  4. Janet

    I am glad that some people actually have gotten very beneficial results from the HCG program. And while I cannot speak for everyone, this has NOT been my experience. I am a 46 year old female who works in a health food store and have seen it all – including many horror stories related to the HCG diet plan. It seems like a miracle diet at the beginning but has had some disastrous side effects for many people I have come in contact with through my work. Two of the customers who have been on the program later suffered from a collapsed lung, another lost her hearing, while still another is so rail thin that she looks deathly ill. These medical conditions occurred shortly after getting off the program to begin the stabilization phase, I believe. And now today, I have just heard about another customer – a very overweight woman who lost considerable weight – who has just been hospitalized with uncontrollable seizures. While I do not know for sure that HCG caused these conditions, I am very suspicious, both of the diet and the HCG drops that are sold by so many different companies. I am glad ALG wrote about this and I think the tone of the blog was respectful and insightful.

  5. Denia Mette', CN

    Nothing quite rings my chimes like folks who refuse to understand that if you starve the body…it will reduce its metobolic rate to where one would have to remain on a ” prison camp” regimen to not become obese.
    Zero shortcuts, eat the foods that grow, drink copious amounts of water, take the oils that fish and flax give you, get enough rest, do at least one hour of functional movement,and stop hating anyone who wronged you at any time and there is a very good chance that you will be your best–and weigh what your body should weigh.
    Take the money you just saved and help a person or organization and build your self worth on the good you do, not your 23 inch waist !

    do I hear an AMEN ?

    • Megan

      while I say “Amen” to super low calorie eating, I just wanted to say that Dr. Simians HCG protocol has gotten a very bad rap, strictly because of our (accurate) beliefs of calorie restriction! I was VERY against it, and actually called some of my friends NUTS! But then I had an educator come to our store to do a class and told me that he’d done it. When I asked why in the world, he explained that this is a very specific program, designed to help those people who TRULY have tried exercise, diet, healthy lifestyles, and STILL can not lose. It resets the Hypothalmus. This is not a diet for everyone. He said this protocol is the metabolic equivalent of unplugging your cable modem when it doesn’t work. It resets it. It was not designed to be used long term and it is highly recommended that you take long breaks between sessions. Not all the Dr.’s or stores that sell the drops teach that. It is also VERY healthy food! 100g each of Lean protein, veggies and fruit.

      Anyway, I listened because this man is truly one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in the natural health field, and because of him, we have started teaching the program to our customers, and have had lots of success.

      I, for one, don’t need it. I love to Fat Flush. It works for me!! And I’m LOVING the shakes!!


  6. Angie A

    I too did a round on HCG last year. It was very healthy eating. I lost all my stomach fat which was so exciting to me. I am 56 and have always been thin and never had to deal with my weight much until menopause. The middle of my body belongs to someone else. I carry extra fat and weight in the middle of my body. The only reason I do not do another round of HCG is that I was constipated the whole time which I am normally not a everyday person but this diet I would go for a week and then just barely move my bowels. The whole process is about going to the bathroom . I tried the tea and it made me ill by messing up my electrolytes. I am really frustrated that I can not keep a slim stomach and waist. I am only 5 ‘1 so I am not a big person. I don’t eat a lot it shouldn’t be this hard to maintain your weight. I am wore out thinking about it.

  7. Charlene P.

    For some of you who are frustrated, you might want to give ALG’s Fat Flush or Fast Track a try. These programs accelerate the burning of fat, reset metabolism, balance hormones, nourish the liver, GI tract and thyroid, plus control carb cravings while addressing emotional eating. Her Fat Flush Plan is my bible and I am a devoted fan for 10 years. At my yearly exam, my doctor could not believe that I was the same person when he saw me after the Two Week Fat Flush. He basically wrote me off because I am in menopause. Well, I sure showed him because I dropped eight inches and 8 pounds. Now the entire staff (especially his overweight nurses) are Fat Flushing, too. SO — there are alternatives. You should visit ALG on Facebook and check out her Forum. Help is on the way and this program doesn’t contstipate you or cause a rebound effect when you go onto the maintenance phase. Good Luck to all!

  8. Lynnette

    From someone who has tried it all, including HCG, my weight only came down during the first couple weeks of a new ‘diet’, including fast track/fat flush, which compared to most eating plans I tried to follow was one of the healthiest and probably closest to the way I eat now. The problem was I was and am still partially emotionally tied to my fat and my body’s response was to work to keep it. Since the moment an ebook I hit home the fact that I’m fat for a reason, if only for a reason that makes sense to me, and I won’t be able to lose weight and keep it off until I resolve those issues, I’ve stopped all dieting. I feel free.

    I’ve been using hypnosis mp3s to ‘retrain my brain” to believe that being thin is safe and put my scale out of sight (a very scary concept for someone who weighed herself twice a day for the last 20yrs). I follow the principle of eating only live foods, including healthy sources of protein and fat and I don’t eat any grains. I aim to eat only when I am hungry and I eat what I want without having to think about it and days are no longer classified as “good days or bad days”.

    The junk cravings are gone although for the first time ever in my life I am liking fruit and if I don’t have a couple different fruits a day, I actually feel like something was missing. My favorite ‘dessert’ is raw brownies. Never really liked fruit before, now I want to try every new fruit that I come across.

    My weight is coming down (i hauled the scale out yesterday, I was just too curious), none of this “guaranteed ??lbs in so many days” and structured meal plans that always made me feel like I always had a hard time following and felt like a failure when I couldn’t. My clothes fit better and I want to exercise and move my body. I feel better about myself than I have since, well since ever. I’ve hated my body since I was a teenager and have been ‘dieting’ just as long and I’m 40 now.

    Not saying that all my ‘diet’ attempts were a complete loss, I picked up some fantastic recipes over the years that I use to this day and made some good online friends and learned what constitutes live foods vs dead foods; but I have to say, my dieting has cost me a small fortune and I wished I had my “ah ha” moment years ago.

  9. Rose

    I’m in high school and I’m working on getting healthier this Summer. Your blog is always top notch on great information! Thanks for your articles. I’m always excited to read them! 😀

  10. Pauline S. (Age 50)

    Thanks Dr. G! I’ve been following your advice since “Beyond Pritikin” and find your sharing to be sensible, which appeals to me.
    Having been through your 11-day detox plan, I completely understand why you reiterate the idea that when we loosen stuff up in our bodies, we need to be sure to flush them out properly. My story about that is I did not acquire HCL+2 (or pharmacy equivalent) for all of the last 3 days of the detox, and about 10 days later I discovered two brand new skin growths. The smaller one–a skin tag almost–faded away in a month; the second grew below my ankle. It was biopsied (twice) and determined to be a benign growth that they “believe might be the result of a spider bite.” I believe its from those toxins I loosened up. I recently had to have it surgically removed.
    I read ALG’s book about peri-menopause, “Before the Change”, and was able to quell those symptoms with her advice. I’ve shared Peri-Zappers with many women my age!
    I also find sense in Donna Gate’s Body Ecology Diet. She focuses attention on the Adrenal Glands, too, though her program involves a lot of unusual food items.
    At any rate, I’m happy that I’m not obese, and encourage folks to heed ALG’s warnings to care for your liver, colon, and physical health.
    Best wishes everyone.

  11. Kate

    Can I eat mango in Phase 1? I bought some by mistake for my morning shake, but would love to use it.


    • Sierra

      Hi Kate! Sorry to say that mango is not P1 friendly… You could freeze it and save for a special occasion smoothie though!

  12. laurie

    I’d like to know…would it be safe to leave the HCG plan that i am now doing and going to the Fat Flush Plan?

    • Sierra

      Yes, the Fat Flush Plan is a very nutritious diet. From what I know of HCG, the extremely limited calorie intake sounds very dangerous! I have had amazing success with FF and I highly recommend it

  13. laurie

    Thanks Sierra. I have done FF before and love it. I am doing HCG and am almost done and am going to jump back on FF.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This