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Is A Pregnancy Hormone Diet Safe?

MIAMI (CBS4) -- It seems to always be the number one New Year's resolution, to lose weight. And this year many men and women are turning to a pregnancy hormone diet that severely restricts calories.

The dieters who've tried it swear they don't feel hungry but some experts are concerned about long-term health issues.

Dieter Sonia Roselli said people have always told her, "you have a pretty face, you should just be happy with your life."

But, as a makeup artist, she wasn't happy because of her weight.

Six years ago Roselli was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and also had a hysterectomy, "I think those two combined really added 60 pounds I didn't want."

Roselli struggled to get the weight off, trying and failing with many different diet programs until she found the HCG diet.

HCG is a fat-burning hormone naturally produced during pregnancy that some say also suppresses your appetite. You take it in cycles of around 20 or 40 days while eating just 500 calories a day.

This is what you could expect to eat while on the Diet.

Breakfast – Black coffee with an apple.

Lunch – Dry lettuce with about 3.5 ounces of meat.

Dinner – Something similar to your lunch and a snack of about 24 grapes for the entire day.

That doesn't sound like enough food to get through the day but Roselli said, "You have a ton of energy, you don't feel like you're going to eat your shoe."

Roselli takes the hormone through a nasal spray, but it's also available by injections or homeopathic drops.

Her doctor has also been on the diet, but said it's not for everyone.

The doctor won't prescribe it for people with diabetes, heart disease or hormone-related cancers and is also concerned about so-called HCG products offered online.

Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Mir Joffrey warned "you may not be getting any HCG at all and you might not be getting something that's safe for you at all."

There may be other risks as well, even for healthy people.

"It can cause what's called ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome with enlargement of the ovaries and abdominal cramps. If a woman has a cyst, the cyst can rupture," according to Endocrinologist Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite.

Kazlauskaite also worries about dieters regaining the weight.

Roselli said that the important thing is that she has changed her bad eating habits and lost 32 pounds and 30 inches.

She's now more aware of portions and what triggers her to overeat, "It really does give you a whole different way of thinking about food."

Dr. Joffrey lost 30 pounds on the diet a year ago and has regained five pounds.

HGC is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in weight loss. Side effects include headaches, depression and dizziness. In men, side effects can include increased testosterone levels and prostate problems.

As for cost, the drops or spray range from $80 to $100. The cost under a doctor's care can be around $800 including the HCG.

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