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The Dangers of BHCG Diets

Violet Skies Family Health provides medical weight loss management for patients by a board certified physician in Medical Weight Loss (Carrie Sandborn DO). We provide medication, exercise coaching, dietary coaching and medication to help you lose weight SAFELY and at low cost. However, new places are popping up in Caledonia and greater Grand Rapids that are providing unsafe and non FDA approved medications for weight loss at HIGH costs. Personally, I would not trust a weight loss program that costs >$100 per month and has a calorie restriction of <1000 calories per day. A diet with a calorie restrict of less than 1000 calories per day MUST be monitored by a physician as there can be dangerous health consequences of strict diets such as these. If you want to lose weight, please come to our office to do it safely and at an affordable price. Below is an article about the BHCG diet. Many people have questions about this diet but it is NOT safe. This article is from a Mayo Clinic nutrition specialist. If you are on the BHCG diet, know that it is not a licensed physician you are working with as these diets are not recommended by any medical association or certifying board for medical weight loss. I hope the article below helps with any questions you might have about this diet. If you have questions about how to lose weight safely under the supervision of a physician, call the office. We are happy to help!

Has the HCG diet been shown to be safe and effective? Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

No on both counts. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised consumers to steer clear of over-the-counter weight-loss products that contain HCG. HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced during pregnancy.

As a prescription medication, HCG is used mainly to treat fertility issues. HCG is not approved for over-the-counter use, nor has it been proved to work for weight loss. HCG medications are required to carry a label from the FDA noting that the medication is not effective for weight loss. Some over-the-counter HCG weight-loss products are labeled "homeopathic" — but the FDA says they're still not safe. Companies that sell over-the-counter HCG weight-loss products are breaking the law.

So why has there been so much talk about the HCG diet? Perhaps it's because the diet recommends severe calorie restriction — typically just 500 to 800 calories a day. People who follow diets so low in calories are likely to lose weight, at least in the short term. Some research has linked HCG weight-loss products to a possible increase in cancer risk. HCG might encourage the production of androgen cells, which could result in the growth of certain types of cancers.

However, diets that so severely limit calories have risks, such as gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, limited intake of vitamins and minerals, and an imbalance of electrolytes.

Side effects have also been reported with the HCG diet and include fatigue, irritability, restlessness, depression, fluid buildup (edema), and swelling of the breasts in boys and men (gynecomastia). Another serious concern is the risk of blood clots forming and blocking blood vessels (thromboembolism).

If weight loss is your goal, there are safer ways to lose weight. Talk with your doctor or other health care provider about how to make healthy changes that lead to permanent weight loss, such as eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.

With Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

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