FDA warns against use of HCG weight loss products

December 7th, 2011

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.

Joan Salge Blake, clinical associate professor of nutrition, offers the following comment:

“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.”

Contact Salge Blake at 617-353-7470; salge@bu.edu; twitter: @joansalgeblake; blog: Nutrition and You!

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