I would have said the HCG diet was ridiculous, too, were it not for the fact that my primary care physician of 20 years recommended it. He also suggested a more traditional diet program, but said this one has proven to be successful for a lot of people. The clinic he referred me to requires a battery of blood tests and the approval of your doctor before accepting clients.
After 4 weeks, I've lost 16 lbs, not as much as advertised but perfectly fine with me. I'm not hungry and feel great. On past diets of 1200 or more calories, I've been hungry, cranky, sleepy and generally felt like crap. The real test will be in 3 weeks when I move to Stage 3 and try to manage a more normal diet without the HCG hormone.
I believe this protocol works, but I wouldn't recommend going into it without doctor supervision. And nothing's going to be a permanent solution unless you're prepared to change the way you approach food. Having my husband do this along with me (although with less to lose) means we'll be able to support each other, now and on down the road to healthier lifestyles. Good luck to everyone trying to do the same.