Over the last 7 years, I have received numerous inquiries about the ‘hCG Diet’. There are many myths, but here are the facts.
hCG is produced by the placenta when a woman is pregnant. “hCG is FDA approved for the treatment of select cases of female infertility and hormone treatment in men.”1 It is only available in injection form and its use requires a prescription from a licensed medical provider.
The official FDA website is clear when it addresses the question, “Are prescription hCG products safe and effective for weight loss?” FDA’s response: “No.” “FDA has not approved prescription hCG for … weight loss.”1 Additionally, FDA states, “Current scientific evidence does not support the claim that hCG is safe and effective for weight loss.”1 When hCG is prescribed, FDA now requires the following labeling which specifically addresses the non-FDA approved (off-label) use of hCG specifically for weight loss:
“hCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction or that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”1
Is it worth the risk? Serious adverse events have been reported to FDA with the use of hCG injections for weight loss including “pulmonary embolism (i.e. life-threatening blood clot to the lungs), depression, cerebrovascular issues, cardiac arrest, and death.”1
The above specifically does NOT address over-the-counter hCG products which are often taken by mouth or sublingually (under the tongue). Over-the-counter hCG products have NEVER been shown to provide any objective benefit for reducing weight, reducing hunger, fat-burning, or for body sculpturing. FDA states that over-the-counter hCG weight loss products represent “illegal uses” that carry additional potential health risks. FDA is currently prosecuting companies for promoting the production and sale of over-the-counter hCG products recommended for weight loss.
BOTTOM LINE: hCG used for weight loss carries huge potential health risks and has no proven benefit. The overwhelming majority of evidence does NOT support the use of hCG for weight loss. The associated weight loss comes from a starvation-like diet that restricts caloric intake to 500-800 calories per day which have been associated with life-threatening arrhythmias, electrolyte imbalances, gallstones, kidney stones, and gout. Injectable hCG has NEVER been approved for weight loss and carries many risks including but not limited to cardiac arrest and death. At CardioMender, MD we have treated many patients who have come to us after being on hCG Diets for weight loss. Some have had complications of the hCG and all have gained the weight back. You can lose weight on a diet but you will typically gain it back since the diet ‘solution’ does NOT address the root cause of the problem. Our program specifically addresses the root cause of why people take in more calories than they burn and what obstacles need to be overcome to address the root cause so that achieved weight loss is sustained!
See my previous article on hCG for links to the FDA website directly.
Learn more about losing weight. Browse more of our CardioMender, MD weight loss articles.
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1FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/MedicationHealthFraud/ucm281834.htm