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A Closer Look at HCG Diet Pitchman

W.L. Meyers | August 30th, 2012

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As the HCG diet plan continues to pique the interest of many individuals looking for quick and easy weight loss solutions, health specialists are increasingly scrutinizing a number of claims associated with the products. Though the HCG diet has been around for many years, it was only in 2005 that interest in the diet resurged as a result of a book titled ‘The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.’  The book was written by Kevin Trudeau and contained numerous unverified statements concerning the use of HCG for weight loss, and rose to popularity after Trudeau took to the infomercial circuit to promote his books.

Trudeau’s history of criminal activity

Prior to the release of the book, Trudeau had a history of criminal behavior, being incarcerated for fraud in the 1990s. During the following decade, he would go on to make millions of dollars plugging products via infomercials, despite the fact that many of his claims pertaining to herbal remedies were unsubstantiated by medical science.

In 1998, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated Trudeau after allegations that several of the claims in his infomercials were false and misleading. In 2003, the FTC strongly reprimanded him again, after he aggressively marketed a product he billed as a cure for cancer. The FTC mandated that Trudeau was no longer permitted to sell anything on air except for “informational books,” in which there are fewer limitations concerning such claims, due to an individual’s right to free speech.

Trudeau advocates HCG for weight loss

In 2007, the FTC banned Trudeau from infomercials for three years and ordered him to pay fines of more than $5 million, noting that his claims in ‘The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About,’ which focuses on the HCG diet plan, were false and misleading.

Specifically, he claimed that the injection procedure could easily be done at home, which was untrue because it required a colonoscopy. The FTC also objected to his statements on TV that the diet required no exercise, because his book stated something to the contrary.  Trudeau also claimed in the infomercial that dieters could eat “anything” they want on the HCG weight loss plan, despite the fact that the book clearly states that they must eat 100% organic food.

Such violations were deemed a breach of previous settlements Trudeau entered into with the FTC. He was banned from infomercials, and the judge overseeing the case opted to fine him more than $37 million, which was the amount that consumers paid in response to the commercials. The judgment was reaffirmed in 2011.

HCG diet plan may be unsafe

Individuals who are considering using HCG for weight loss should consider the sources of their information pertaining to the diet. Like similar diets, such as the grapefruit diet, which helps people lose weight despite the fact that the grapefruit itself has no actual fat-burning properties, the HCG diet may help users lose weight simply by severely restricting caloric intake. Health practitioners warn that such extreme measures may be dangerous. Additionally, the HCG hormone has never been proven to assist in any way with the weight loss process.

“Following a 500-calorie-a-day diet is extremely unhealthy because it cannot possibly provide the nutrition and energy needed for even the most basic bodily functions,” says Dr. Michael Kaplan of The Center for Medical Weight Loss. “Such a low calorie plan also triggers the body’s starvation response, which slows the metabolism and forces muscle and water loss instead of fat loss.”

Dr. Kaplan adds that the HCG diet may be dangerous for other reasons, noting that the HCG hormone is derived from a woman’s placenta and urine, and may transmit diseases such as HIV and hepatitis if untested prior to ingestion by another person.

Alternatives to the HCG diet program

The Center For Medical Weight Loss is the largest group of weight loss doctors in the country. They have generated thousands of weight loss success stories by offering supervised diet and exercise plans that are customized to each individual’s unique medical history, lifestyle, body composition, and weight loss goals.

To see if there if one of the 450 centers across the county is near you, enter your zip code in the search box above. Special offers are available for first-time clients at select locations.