Between the Master Cleanse, the cabbage soup diet, no-carb, low-carb, and the all-juice diet, one enduring quick weight loss scheme has persisted among the fads: The HCG diet. Numerous products label their weight loss aids as the “HCG Diet”, and enough people who have used them swear by their effectiveness that these products have maintained popularity. What many people do not know is that the use of HCG as a weight loss aid is neither approved by the FDA, nor is it legal to sell the hormone over the counter at all. The Federal Drug Administration is now cracking down on companies that market these products by sending them written orders to cease production and marketing of the aids, while sending a message to the public that these diets are both dangerous and ineffective.

From ABC News:

Human chorionic gonadotrpin (HCG), otherwise known as a fertility hormone, is produced in women’s placentas and is also found in pregnant women’s urine. The hormone is FDA-approved only as a prescription injection drug to treat some cases of infertility and for select male hormone imbalances. Some studies suggest that HCG can also absorb excessive fat tissue. Many companies also claim the hormone can curb appetite and speed metabolism. HCG products sold online or in stores are not approved for weight loss. Still, so-called homeopathic versions of the hormone — found as oral drops, sprays, and pellets — are marketed by many companies as a weight loss supplement.

It is unknown how much HCG, if any at all, if contained in these products because they are “herbal supplements” and not regulated for efficacy by the FDA. But one of the FDA’s key concerns is that HCG products recommend a 500 calorie a day diet in conjunction with the prodcut itself; in other words, any weight loss is due to very low calorie consumption and not the product itself. In turn, low calorie consumption can lead to a multitude of health problems ranging from heart arrhythmia to gallstones.

Do you think the HCG diet is safe and effective? Or should the FDA continue chasing after companies that may be guilty of fraud?



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