A Reminder from FDA: HCG Diet Products Are Illegal


Many people make resolutions to become healthier by eating right and exercising more. Most of the time people focus more on losing weight. That is good as long as it is done over time. Unfortunately, many people look for a “quick fix” to shed pounds rapidly. So, they turn to diet fads and over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss aids. Many of these diets and products are potentially dangerous, and some diet products are illegal.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is particularly concerned about “homeopathic” human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) weightloss products. These products are sold as oral drops, pellets, and sprays that can be purchased online and in some retail stores. HCG products claim to “reset your metabolism” and change “abnormal eating patterns.” Many state you will lose 20-30 pounds in 30-40 days.

HCG is a hormone that is naturally produced by the placenta during pregnancy. FDA approved HCG as a prescription drug used to treat women who have trouble becoming pregnant or staying pregnant, and for some other medical conditions. It is not approved for weight loss or for OTC sale, and it is not considered a homeopathic drug. Therefore, it is illegal to sell HCG as an OTC weight loss aid. HCG became popular in the 1950s as a purported weight loss aid. It was soon determined that there was no

evidence to support its use in losing weight. However, it has become popular again. The product labels instruct users to follow a severely restricted diet. This means limiting the amount of calories you eat to 500 per day. This is extremely unhealthy and can even be fatal. Many people who take these products are not under medical supervision. They may not be getting enough vitamins, minerals, and protein for their body to function normally. People on such restrictive diets are at increased risk of developing gallstones, electrolyte imbalances, and an irregular heartbeat. The weight they lose is from the low calorie diet, not the HCG.

FDA advises consumers who have purchased homeopathic HCG for weight loss to stop using it, throw it out, and stop following the diet restrictions. If you want to or need to lose weight, discuss healthy weight loss options with your doctor or healthcare professional.

To learn more about this topic visit the FDA at: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm281333.htm

Created on December 26, 2011

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