To the Editor:
The recent increase in weight loss promotion using injections or oral hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) provides an opportunity to educate the public of an appropriate approach to weight loss. Two thirds of US adults are overweight or obese.
Looking for a quick fix is inevitable for this group. Weight loss ads to "lose 30 pounds in 30 days" are misleading and potentially harmful. HCG is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women produced by the placenta of pregnancy. The combination of hCG and rigid dietary restriction only causes weight loss due to the very low calorie or starvation diet, not the hCG. There have been no scientific studies that show that hCG alters fat distribution, causes hunger reduction or induces a feeling of well being.
The American Society of Bariatric Physicians do not recommend hCG. The public will waste their money on hCG and suffer from nutritional deficiencies based on the severe restriction of carbohydrate, protein, fats and fiber that accompany hCG diet plans. Lifestyle alterations such as vigorous walking 30 minutes four times per week, minimizing calorie levels to 1,200 to 1,500 per day and avoidance of fast foods will result in weight loss if consistently adhered to.
- Thomas J. Getta, MD