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FDA Cautions of HCG Diet Dangers

Ava Lawson | March 15th, 2013

HCG Diet Dangers and FDA WarningIn the realm of weight loss supplements and purported quick fixes, the HCG diet plan tops the list when it comes to fad diets that promise much more than they deliver. In fact, the products and diet program can actually be hazardous to your health. When you think about where HCG weight loss products come from, it’s no surprise that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently condemned the plan – calling it another health fraud scam.  For those who haven’t heard of it, HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. This is a hormone extracted from the placenta and urine of pregnant women.

It’s only approved use is to treat infertility in women, but numerous companies sell HCG weight loss products online and over-the-counter, labeling them as “homeopathic.” Elizabeth Miller, of the FDA’s division for non-prescription drugs and health fraud stated, “These products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they’re losing weight, HCG must be working,” she adds, “But the data simply does not support this – any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from the HCG.”

HCG diet plan labeled a health fraud by FDA

In the United States, HCG weight loss products are now illegal. Since 2011, the FDA has been cautioning consumers to avoid these so-called homeopathic products that are sold as pellets, sprays, and oral drops. The federal agency also requires every product that is made with HCG to include the following information on the label:

“HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

Unsupported claims of the HCG diet plan

You may be wondering how a pregnancy hormone got associated with weight loss to begin with.  The original HCG diet plan first came to fruition back in the 1950s in a book called “Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity,” by British endocrinologist, Dr. A.T.W. Simeons. The manuscript highlighted a unique weight loss program that integrated daily doses of HCG with a strict a 500-calorie per day diet. Later, a popular infomercial by Kevin Trudeau brought the HCG diet back into the spotlight. Trudeau touted the miracle benefits of the hormone, promising dieters they could melt away up to 30 pounds in just one month – of course, while they were eating a highly restrictive diet that was dangerously low in calories. In 2008, Trudeau’s misleading marketing caught up with him and the Federal Trade Commission slapped him with a $37 million fine.

Health experts chime in on HCG diet dangers

Nutritionists and health experts around the country agree that such restrictive diets combined with unregulated HCG weight loss products can be exceptionally risky. Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and Chief Medical Officer of The Center for Medical Weight Loss states, “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. 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.”

The FDA warning stresses that individuals who have purchased HCG diet plan products – whether online or in retail stores – should stop using them immediately and discontinue all instructions, as very low-calorie diets may not provide the recommended vitamins, minerals, and protein.

A safer alternative to HCG weight loss products

Extremely restrictive diets that put one’s health in jeopardy are never a wise choice and often end in rebound weight gain as soon as the dieter gives up the program. For long-term success, the safest and most reliable approach is with the assistance of weight loss professionals, such as the physicians who counsel clients at The Center for Medical Weight Loss. The Center’s programs are crafted to suit each client’s particular needs, lifestyle, eating preferences and weight loss goals – and include one-on-one counseling to keep them on track.

If you’ve been searching for the best way to lose weight – and keep it off for good – contact a Center today to learn about their special introductory offers available for first-time customers. To find a location in your neighborhood, plug in your zip code in the box to the right of your screen.