Cookies for breakfast? The skinny on the HCG Diet.

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BREAKFAST CEREALS: The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently completed an analysis of breakfast cereals. The evening news shows considered the findings shocking. EWG, a non-profit group, found that Kellogg’s Honey Smacks were the worst offender in that they contain 56% sugar by weight-more than in a Twinkie. (I remember when that cereal was called Kellogg’s Sugar Smacks. At least that was honest.) The story is “news” only because not enough people read labels. Or, maybe they don’t know that if a label states that a cup of cereal contains 20 grams of sugar, that translates to 5 teaspoons. As we’ve discussed before, excess sugar isn’t just fattening, it also reduces immunity and the ability to focus and stay awake at school. Longer term it leads to diabetes, heart disease and much more. The Article.

HCG DIET: Our friends at Food and Drug Administration are pulling the plug on the popular homeopathic HCG diet products, claiming that there is no proof they work; that they are dangerous; and that they are “unapproved” drugs. Poppycock on all 3 counts! Let me back up. The HCG diet was publicized in the 1950’s by the late British Physician, Dr. A. T. W. Simeons. (I don’t know much about him except that he had more than his share of initials.)  More recently the idea was popularized by Kevin Trudeau in his book, The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. (Mr. Trudeau is a consummate promoter, but he seems just a tad prone to exaggeration and I usually only agree with half of what he says.)  I haven’t used HCG with my own clients, but I have seen the results others have gotten…and I’ve even tried it myself.

As to the FDA charges:
Evidence that it works: Hundreds of thousands of people would likely disagree with the regulators. Some folks had never had luck with conventional weight loss approaches and were considering stomach surgery before achieving success with HCG. Of course, the government pays no mind to real world experience. They only like studies done by drug companies. (HCG cannot be patented so no one can afford to do pharmaceutical style studies.)

Safety: The agency knows there is nothing dangerous about the products themselves. Homeopathics are extremely diluted. Never mind lots of studies showing the benefits of homeopathy, the FDA still likes to scoff at the idea of energy medicine. Their bigger concern is that people are often limited to 500 calories a day. Normally, if a person cuts calories that low, it hurts metabolism and the person can lose muscle mass. However, the HCG principle is that the pregnancy hormone it is based on convinces your body to burn body fat for energy. So, even if a person is only consuming 500 calories, he or she would be also getting 1,000 calories or more from their own body fat.

However, at that low an intake, you would definitely be in trouble if all the calories consumed were from something like Kellogg’s Honey Smacks. You clearly wouldn’t be getting enough protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. But the diet instructions call for eating mainly lean proteins, veggies and a little fruit. Plus, the instructions I’ve seen include nutritional supplements for insurance. I don’t recommend that low a level of calorie intake because it leaves no room for human error. The diet still works even at 800 calories or 1,000-just a little more slowly. (When I was on this diet I felt fantastic-probably due in part to the fact that I wasn’t eating more than my body needed and I’d cut out starches and dairy.)

Unapproved drug? – Now we are getting to the real issue-control. While it is true that the HCG ingredient is not on the list of substances that have traditionally been used in homeopathic medicines, it may all come down to bureaucratic rigidity…plus maybe just a little bit of their fundamental instinct to protect the pharmaceutical industry, mainstream medical practices and their standard weight loss programs. (Which statistics would say don’t work very well.) We need the FDA to do more to protect us from lethal drugs and contaminated food. So, I resent any time they devote to harassing supplement makers with ridiculous rules. Now we add homeopathic suppliers to the list of the unjustly accused.

Which brings me to the pharmaceutical version of HCG. The substance is still available as in an injectable form by prescription. However, using it for weight loss is an “off-label” use and theoretically illegal. On the other hand, many other medications are commonly prescribed for off-label uses and the FDA turns a blind eye.

Bottom Line: I’m sorry that a few reckless marketers and greedy practitioners got wild and crazy with HCG. By getting so much in-the-agency’s-face, this formerly legitimate choice is no longer available for those who might have benefitted.

Please help spread the good word-forward this newsletter to friends and family.
My first book : Natural Alternatives to Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet, Prilosec & Other Acid Blockers. Subtitle: What to Use to Relieve Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and Gastric Ailments.

My latest book: Aloe Vera-Modern Science Sheds Light on an Ancient Herbal Remedy

The information contained in this newsletter has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The contents are for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Copyright 2011 Martie Whittekin, CCN

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