The Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer update today, warning Americans about the dangers of HCG diet products. The agency reminded consumers that all homeopathic and over-the-counter HCG is illegal, and that there is no evidence to support their weight loss claims.
The FDA has issued seven letters to companies that are distributing the HCG diet supplement warning them that their products are in violation of new drug regulations and Federal Trade Commission laws. “Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in legal action without further notice, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction,” the letters state.
Not only do HCG products make fraudulent claims about weight loss and appetite control, they are also associated with a diet plan that is dangerously low in calories. Some of these diets contain as little as 500 calories per day, which can lead to faintness, electrolyte imbalance, irregular heartbeat, and gallstone formation.
Elizabeth Miller, the acting director of FDA’s Division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud, has been working to raise awareness about the ineffectiveness of HCG. Miller called HCG diets “economic fraud” in January of 2011, when the agency made homeopathic HCG illegal. “These products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they’re losing weight, HCG must be working,” says Miller in today’s statement. “But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from the HCG.”