We are officially three weeks into the New Year! How are those New Year’s resolutions going? Every year, your BBB sees New Year’s resolutions for weight loss and this year we are warning consumers of the “HCG diet.” A fellow BBB office in Dallas recently blogged about the diet…
The HCG diet dates back to the 1950s and is attributed to Dr. A.T.W Simeons. The diet requires participants to introduce the pregnancy hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG), into their bodies while following a very strict, very low-calorie diet of about 500 calories a day.
The diet was popular in the 1970s and is now regaining popularity. However, this time around, marketers have the power of Internet marketing on their side, and the BBB has noticed HCG diet advertising gaining momentum.
Advertisers are claiming that participants are losing up to 40 lbs. in 40 days. HCG diet advocates claim that the introduced HCG decreases appetite which makes the 500 calorie a day diet more manageable. Although advertisers provide numerous clinical studies and testimonials to support their claims, controversy remains about the link between HCG and weight loss.
Does HCG really contribute to weight loss? Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) say proof is lacking. Both organizations attribute testimonial weight loss to the 500 calorie a day diet.
Since 1975 the FDA has required HCG labeling and advertising to disclose the following:
“HCG is a drug which has not been approved by the food and drug administration as safe and effective in the treatment of obesity or weight control. There is no substantial evidence that HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restrictive diets.”
Additionally, in 2009, the ASBP stated that the use of HCG is inappropriate for the treatment of obesity.
The BBB advises anyone who is considering a weight loss plan to check with their own doctor to make sure the plan is safe for that individual and has been shown to be effective.
If you’re aware of other questionable advertisements, feel free to contact your local BBB’s advertising review department.
*Italicized items are taken from the Dallas BBB blog