The FDA announced yesterday that there is no evidence that hCG is an effective means of weight loss, and further called hCG weight-loss products fraudulent and illegal. Although the products do not appear to be “a serious direct health hazard or a serious indirect health hazard,” says Elizabeth Miller, the FDA’s leader of the Internet and health fraud team, “they could be subject to enforcement at any time.” The 500 calorie “protocol” to be followed while taking hCG is surely the cause of all weight-loss that users observe, and Miller says that the products are at least “economic fraud.”
Another major problem with many hCG products is that many claim to be homeopathic. True homeopathic remedies use a very small amount of a disease-causing substance to treat a condition. However, hCG is a hormone made by the placenta during pregnancy, and its use in no way could be considered homeopathic. “We are aware of HCG products that claim to be homeopathic, but it is not recognized in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia,” said Miller, adding that such products “are not recognized by the FDA as homeopathic drugs, so they are unapproved drugs and are illegal.”
The idea of using hCG for weight loss originated with a British physician in the 1950s, who thought the hormone could help people tolerate a near-starvation diet. “Since then, a lot of research and clinical trials debunked that theory,” said Miller.
Many health experts concur, like Samuel Klein of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Data from most randomized controlled trials show that HCG is no better than placebo in achieving weight loss or reducing hunger,” he said.
Via USA Today.
January 24th, 2011