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HCG Diet faces FDA Action

The "HCG Diet" fad has been going strong for over a year and I last wrote about it back in February. Now the FDA is going after the over-the-counter homeopathic HCG products on two grounds: 1) False and misleading claims, and 2) the products are being marketed as "drugs" while NOT having been approved by the FDA. While I'm glad to see FDA take action on the homeopathic HCG products, I wish they could do more.

What is frustrating is that there are more serious abuses going on under the HCG Diet guise than the over-the-counter homeopathics which are likely to be 100% inert placebos (and FDA admits they've had no complaints from consumers taking them).

I would argue that the most dangerous HCG Diet options are the ones being marketed by medical doctors and clinics where doctors inject the actual hormone into their clients ("patients") once a week. Pieter Cohen MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School sums up my thinking in a statement he made on the Dr. Oz show in February: "Starving yourself is never a good idea... [but] injecting yourself with ineffective hormones is an even worse idea." It's only through medical doctors that people are engaging in both these practices.

The HCG hormone used by medical doctors is not FDA approved for weight loss. It is FDA approved for female infertility and other medical conditions. However doctors in our for-profit-medical system are allowed to use drugs "off label" as they see fit. In fact the FDA requires HCG hormone drug labels to state that the hormone "is not an effective adjunctive therapy for obesity." Meanwhile there is no safety data on the long-term use of HCG, and injections have been associated with disrupted hormone levels (including insulin, cortisol, testosterone, and leptin).

The bottom line is that the real HCG hormone is no more effective (for weight loss) than the homoeopathics. Nevertheless, medical doctors giving HCG injections are claiming HCG assists in weight loss through appetite suppression. Several studies have been done looking at HCG's affect on weight loss or appetite and all have found no affect of HCG on weight loss or appetite. Doctors are making good money though, and sadly FDA has no authority to stop doctors from taking advantage of desperate patients looking for a magic bullet. Hence FDA's action against the over-the-counter homeopathic HCG products without even a mention of what's going on in some doctor's offices.

FDA is correct that the unsafe HCG diet protocol is more dangerous to consumers that aren't under strict medical supervision. The HCG Diet protocol requires people to follow a 500-calorie per day starvation-meal-plan, so it's no mystery why people lose weight on it. It is not possible to eat a nutritionally adequate diet on just 500-calories. One of the side affects of the HCG Diet is hair loss, which is associated with inadequate protein intake. More serious problems include electrolyte imbalances, gallstones and irregular heartbeat. Bone and muscle health are also in jeopardy on such an extreme regime.

Suffice it to say that it's best to stay away from ANY form of the HCG Diet, and if you know anyone following it refer them here.


For more see:
Long-discredited HCG diet makes a comback

Products containing HCG are illegal, mislead consumers, federal agencies say
The HCG Diet: 6 things you should know before you...

Reader Comments (2)

It's about time these crazy diets. Great post Dorene! :)

Keith Sunny
Schaeffer Precision Alignment

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Sunny

Oops, mistyped that... Should say about time someone did something about these crazy diets... LOL

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Sunny

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