As I have previously discussed in the article titled, HCG: Only Your Wallet Gets Thinner, HCG is not your best option when looking for a new lifestyle and eating plan- in fact, HCG can be downright dangerous. Though the USA does not currently list HCG as a controlled substance, according to the FDA, Human chorionic gonadotropin is illegal. Read on:
Source: Source: http://www.ncsf.org/NewsArticles/0-185/HCGProductsAreIllegal.aspx?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
HCG Products Are Illegal
The level of popularity of most weight loss programs/products seems to be strongly correlated with the advertised amount of pounds that people can lose, usually in the shortest possible timeframe. The quicker the weight loss the more popular the diet program seems to be. Although the weight loss obtained with the most popular diets products can be simply explained with the energy balance equation, companies tend to make the consumer believe that there is a magic component in the product that is doing the work for them. The Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) weight-loss products are over the counter products identified as “homeopathic” and recommend users to follow a severe restrictive diet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently released their recommendation regarding “homeopathic” HCG weight-loss products in their latest Consumer Health Information issue, December 2011. The FDA recommends consumers to stay away from these products due to the unsupported claims. In addition, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued seven letters to companies warning about selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs that have not been approved by the FDA. This collaborative action between the FDA and FTC is the first step in preventing these products from being marketed online and in retail stores where they are commonly sold as oral drops, pellets and spray forms.
The HCG claims
The products that claim to contain HCG are typically attached to very low calorie diets; approximately 500 calories/day. Companies use statements like “reset you metabolism” and “shave 20-30 pounds in 30 days”. Although the HCG story began in the 50s, no evidence currently exists that shows HCG promotes weight loss by itself without creating a negative caloric balance. Elizabeth Miller, acting director of FDA’s division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud said that “these products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they are losing weight, HCG must be working. But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from HCG.”
The HCG Legality
The HCG is a hormone that is produced in the human placenta during pregnancy but it is not approved for weight loss or for over-the-counter sale for any purpose. Moreover, a pharmacist at the FDA pointed that HCG is not listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, which lists the active ingredients that may be legally included in homeopathic drug products. For this reason, homeopathic HCG cannot legally be sold as a homeopathic medication for any purpose. In addition, David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stated that “deceptive advertising about weight loss products is one of the most prevalent types of fraud. Any advertiser who makes health claims about a product is required by federal law to back them up with competent and reliable scientific evidence, so consumers have the accurate information they need to make good decisions.”
HCG a Potentially Dangerous Diet
Living on a very low calorie diet is considerably well documented to promote side effects such as gallstone formation, potential electrolyte imbalance, heartbeat irregularities, and various nutrient deficiencies (vitamins, minerals and protein). The HCG diet plan suggests individuals consume 500 calories/day, which is significantly less than the average 2,000 calorie recommended diet. The safe, general recommendation for healthy weight loss is a reduction of approximately 500 calories/day, only a third of the 1,500 calories/day recommended when following the diet plan. “These HCG products marketed over-the-counter are unproven to help with weight loss and are potentially dangerous even if taken as directed,” said Ilisa Bernstein, acting director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “And a very low calorie diet should only be used under proper medical supervision.” This very low calorie diet should only be prescribed under medical supervision for specific conditions such as extremely obese patients with health conditions. Health care professionals should provide credible information to their clients/patients so that they may be able to make appropriate decisions and avoid unrealistic weight loss expectations. (FDA Consumers Health information, December 2011)
As the article notes, even after the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission both have issued SEVEN letters to companies warning about selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs, sales still continue! Why? Because losing weight is hard; and taking a pill, or a drop that tells you ‘you don’t have to work hard’ is easy. This diet is not safe; and what’s more insulting, the pills and drops you’re taking (and paying good money for) are a placebo- that’s right, FAKE.
Want to read more? Check out this article from ABC news: FDA, FTC Crack Down on Illegal HCG Weight Loss Products