CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A diet that was popular in the 1950s is making a huge comeback thanks to advances in medicine and a new book.
Judy Carey says she dropped from a size 14 to a size 6 on the diet.
"I've lost 43 pounds total and feel great," she said.
She did it by rubbing a little cream on her wrists every day. The secret ingredient in that cream is called HCG.
"HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin. It's the pregnancy hormone," said Dr. Robert True, a cosmetogynecologist.
True says the hormone, which helps insure a developing baby gets enough calories in the womb, can work wonders on the waistline of women who are not pregnant.
Dieters are restricted to a measly 500 calories a day of very specific foods. Then, they take HCG by injection or in compounded cream form.
The calorie restriction and prescription together set the body up for extreme weight loss -- 1 to 2 pounds per day, according to advertisements.
"Your body says, 'Wow, they're not feeding me. I need to feed this baby.' Because it thinks you're pregnant because you've got that HCG going into your body," True said. "And if it thinks you're pregnant, it's going to force your body to pull the nutrients from the stored areas of fat in your body. It's going to force that to happen."
The head doctor at Presbyterian's Heart and Wellness Center in Charlotte says HCG is anything but proven. He says in 10 independent studies, dieters on the drug didn't perform any better than the people given a placebo. He also says, as with any fad diet, it's important to consult a physician first.