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FDA Diet Warning - Steer Clear of HCG Products

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  December 7, 2011 04:31 PM

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to avoid any over-the-counter "homeopathic" human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) products that claim to help with weight loss.  These products, which can be sold as oral drops, sprays, and/or pellets, can be found on the Internet and in some retail stores.  HCG is a hormone that is produced by the placenta when a woman is pregnant.

According to the FDA, these HCG products are marketed to consumers along with an unhealthy, very low calorie diet, sometimes as little as 500 calories daily.  While these products boast outrageous claims for successful weight loss, the truth be told, "any loss is from severe calorie restriction.  Not from the HCG," according to a statement made by Elizabeth Miller, acting director FDA's Division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud, on the FDA website. 

Consuming 500 calories a day is potentially very hazardous and dangerous.  Restricting your calories to such a low level can increase your risk of multiple side effects, such as the formation of gallstones, an imbalance of important electrolytes that your body needs for your muscles and nerves to function properly, cause an irregular heartbeat, and even death, according to the FDA.

The FDA suggests that if you have purchased homeopathic HCG products to not only stop using them but also the diet.  If you experience any harmful side effects, you should report these online at: or by phone at 800-FDA-1088.

Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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