After the HCG Diet became popular last year, we shared some facts about this unhealthy diet. Now, it turns out, that the government is getting involved. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued seven letters to companies warning them that they are selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs that have not been approved by FDA, and that make unsupported claims.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is usually sold as drops, pellets or sprays, and directs users to follow a severely restrictive diet of about 500 calories a day. HCG uses protein from the human placenta and companies claim that it helps to boost weight loss and reduce hunger. According to the FDA, there is no evidence that taking HCG helps people to lose weight. In fact, taking HCG could be dangerous. People on restrictive diets are at increased risk for side effects that include gallstone formation, an imbalance of the electrolytes that keep the body’s muscles and nerves functioning properly, and an irregular heartbeat, according to the FDA.
Currently, HCG is approved by the FDA only as a prescription drug for female infertility and other medical conditions, but it is not approved for the over-the-counter sale for any other purpose, including weight loss. The HCG manufacturers have 15 days to respond and detail how they intend to remove their products from the market. If they don't, the FDA and FTC may pursue legal action, including seizure and injunction or criminal prosecution.
Are you surprised at this news? Happy the FDA and FTC cracked down on HCG? Tell us!
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.