Why the FDA Pulled the HCG Diet from Store Shelves

Have you tried the HCG diet yet?  If so, how successful were you at losing weight, and keeping it off?

If you haven’t yet tried this controversial diet, you may not have another chance.  According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, together with the Federal Trade Commission, the HCG diet has its days numbered as a mainstream diet.

The two administrations issued seven warning letters to different companies that were marketing over-the-counter HCG products as “homeopathic weight loss products.”

What is the HCG Diet?

For those who are not familiar with this relatively new “diet,” human chorionic gonadotropin, more commonly known as HCG, is a hormone that is produced by the human placenta, and is found in the urine of pregnant women.

Wait, what? So how do prospective fad dieters ingest this special hormone that is found in the urine of pregnant women?  Why orally, of course. Hmmm.

Each HCG diet states that along with taking the hormones, the dieter must be on a very low-calorie diet.  There is a significant reduction in caloric intake, and the extremely restrictive diets usually call for a measly 300-500 calories a day!

The FDA Steps In

The FDA decided to intervene because they felt these products were making unsupported claims about the effectiveness of the hormone on weight loss, when in fact there is no FDA-approved HCG drug product intended for weight loss; and taking the hormone with an intention to lose weight could be potentially unsafe.  The only type of HCG drug that has been approved by the FDA is a prescription drug taken intravenously that is used for treating some cases of female infertility, as well as a select few other medical conditions.

According to studies, there is no substantial evidence showing that HCG causes one to lose weight beyond that of the highly restrictive caloric intake. And even if the dieter takes the HCG product as directed, it can be potentially dangerous.  Side effects of a very low calorie diet can include gallstone formation, irregular heartbeats, a slow or halted metabolism, and an electrolyte imbalance; aside from the nausea, low blood sugar, fatigue and overall weakness.

Weight loss products are among the most prevalent forms of fraud, and fraudulent advertisements for these products can be found on television, the radio, the internet, and in store as over-the-counter drugs.  With these new steps taken by the FTC and the FDA, each company that was issued a warning letter has been given 15 days to notify the FDA of what steps they took to fix the violations. Failure to do so may result in legal action that could include a seizure or injunction, as well as fines.

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