Fad Diets and Gimmicks

High Protein Diets •  High-Fiber Low Calorie Diet
Single Food DietExtreme Low Calorie DietFasting
Weight Loss Surgery •  HCG , Medical Gimmicks, Shots, Pills

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HCG, Medical Gimmicks, Shots, Pills

The Fad Premise:
B12 shots, lipo disolvers, mesotherapy, HCG and prescription drugs can be a fast, safe and easy way to decrease appetite, lose weight and increase energy.

Truth:

HCG Worthless as Weight-Loss Aid

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. More than 50 years ago, Dr. Albert T. Simeons, a British-born physician, contended that HCG injections would enable dieters to subsist comfortably on a 500-calorie-a-day diet. He claimed that HCG would mobilize stored fat; suppress appetite; and redistribute fat from the waist, hips, and thighs [1]. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims [2-13]. Moreover, a 500-calorie (semi-starvation) diet is likely to result in loss of protein from vital organs, and HCG can cause other adverse effects. Gabe Mirkin, M.D., has noted:

At one time, HCG was the most widespread obesity medication administered in the United States. Some doctors liked it because it assured them of a steady clientele. Patients had to come in once a week for an injection [14].

HCG is also marketed in sublingual (under the tongue) form. No scientific tests of sublingual HCG have been published, but it is safe to assume that it would be no more effective than injected HCG.

In 2009, the American Society of Bariatric Physicians issued a position statement which stated:

Numerous clinical trials have shown HCG to be ineffectual in producing weight loss. HCG injections can induce a slight increase in muscle mass in androgen-deficient males. The diet used in the Simeons method provides a lower protein intake than is advisable in view of current knowledge and practice. There are few medical literature reports favorable to the Simeons method; the overwhelming majority of medical reports are critical of it. Physicians employing either the HCG or the diet recommended by Simeons may expose themselves to criticism from other physicians, from insurers, or from government bodies [15].

Government Regulation
 
In 1976, the FTC ordered the Simeon Management Corporation, Simeon Weight Clinics Foundation, Bariatrics Management Corporation, C.M. Norcal, Inc., and HCG Weight Clinics Foundation and their officers to stop claiming that their HCG-based programs were safe, effective, and/or approved by the FDA for weight-control. Although the order did not stop the clinics from using HCG, it required that patients who contract for the treatment be informed in writing that:

THESE WEIGHT REDUCTION TREATMENTS INCLUDE THE INJECTION OF HCG, A DRUG WHICH HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION AS SAFE AND EFFECTIVE IN THE TREATMENT OF OBSITY OR WEIGHT CONTROL. THERE IS NO SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT HCG INCEASES 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 [16].

Since 1975, the FDA has required labeling and advertising of HCG to state:

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, that it causes a more attractive or "normal" distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.

Promotion By Kevin Trudeau

Negative studies and government action reduced the use of HCG injections for weight control close to zero. However, promotion by infomercial king Kevin Trudeau has caused their use to increase. His 2007 book, The Weight Loss Cure They Don't Want You to Know About, claims that "an absolute cure for obesity was discovered almost fifty years ago" but was "suppressed" by the AMA, the FDA, and "other medical establishments throughout the world." Trudeau further claims that until now, "this miracle weight loss breakthrough has been hidden from the public so that drug companies can make billions of dollars selling their expensive drug treatments and surgical procedures for obesity." The alleged cure consists of HCG injections plus 50 to 60 required and recommended do's and don'ts [16].

In 2007, the FTC charged Kevin Trudeau with violating a court order by misrepresenting the contents of the book [17]. In infomercials, Trudeau falsely claimed that the book's weight-loss plan is easy to do, can be done at home, and ultimately allows readers to eat whatever they want. Previous FTC action had led to a court order banning from using infomercials to sell any product, service, or program except for books and other publications The order specified that he not misrepresent the content of the books. In 2008, the Court ruled that Trudeau had violated the previous order and ordered him to pay more than $37 million.

In Addition:

The Florida board of medicine rule 64B prohibits the use of B-6, B-12, lipo dissolvers and mesotherapy shots, as they have been proven ineffective for weight loss or energy and defines any claims for weight loss as fraudulent and deceptive. Federal drug administration rule 2004 includes a toxic aluminum warning from use of these injections and are not considered sound medical practice.

Any ethical physician will inform their patient(s) that the human body cannot store excess vitamins and will in fact expel any excess vitamins not used, making the shot ineffective for increased energy and or weight loss unless given daily injections which would not be practical or safe. A sublingual vitamin would suffice for the same result, and, any weight loss would be from the reduced calorie diet and exercise plan provided. There are many prescription drugs for appetite control and all have serious side effects which can effect the pulmonary, cardiac and nervous systems, and can be fatal. Extreme caution should be used with these drugs and the need to lose weight should out weigh the risks for this option. Keep in mind that many over weight people already suffer from additional health problems and these drugs could compound the health issues. Always seek a second opinion.
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High-Protein Diets

The Fad Premise:
Protein diets focus on eating meat, poultry, fish and eggs; while restricting carbohydrates.  High protein foods are thought to suppress the appetite and increase the calories expended due to difficulty digesting protein.

Truth:
High protein diets are potentially dangerous.  They put strain on the kidneys and liver.   These diets may be high in fat and increase the health risks from high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat.  Any initial weight loss may be largely due to water loss, not body fat. Restricting carbohydrates causes weakness, nausea, and possibly dehydration.  It deprives you of fiber, essential vitamins and minerals.
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High-Fiber Low-Calorie Diets

The Fad Premise:
The thinking is that fiber doesn’t contribute calories because it can’t be digested.  And because high-fiber foods give you a feeling of fullness that helps curb hunger, a diet very high in fiber should make losing weight easy.

Truth:
Fiber is necessary and good, but eating too much is not always better.
Too much fiber can cause constipation, cramping, diarrhea, and dehydration if enough liquids aren’t consumed.  High-fiber, low-fat vegetarian type diets are too restrictive and difficult to stick with for long periods.  These diets are too low-in-fat, and the body cannot do without fat.
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Single-Food Diets

The Fad Premise:
Single food or food specific diets are based on the premise that some foods or categories of foods, have “magical” fat-burning and weight loss properties.

Truth:
No food or single food groups can “burn off” fat.  Grapefruit, rice, fruit, and cabbage soup diets do not have “magical” weight loss abilities.  Diets prescribing a single food category or combination of foods, such as eating only grains together are unfounded and unhealthy.  There are no special foods necessary for a certain blood type.  Single food diets lack variety, are monotonous, and are quickly discarded.  They are unbalanced and don’t provide adequate amounts of the nutrients necessary for good health.
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Extreme Low-Calorie Diets

The Fad Premise:
Very low-calorie diets (300-800 calories per day) will help you take off pounds fast.

Truth:
When you restrict your calorie intake by eating very low-calorie foods or by drinking low-calorie liquid formulas, your metabolism slows down.  You initially lose a few pounds (mostly water), but usually gain it back--and often more.  These diets are very dangerous and need medical supervision.  Dieters feel dizzy, tired, and weak.  Severe reduction in protein can weaken the heart, cause heart failure, and death.  Women may experience irregular menstrual cycles or stop altogether.
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Fasting

The Fad Premise:
Fasting is a popular method to start a weight-loss program and is thought to clean out toxic wastes from your body.  Fasting is also thought to rejuvenate and revitalize our systems by “burning up” old and worn out tissues.

Truth:
In order to understand the dangers of fasting, it should be appreciated that when an individual fasts for an extended period of time, the body switches into dietary ketosis and in fact ketones can then be detected on the individual's breath. When in ketosis some individuals feel extremely alert and can endure long periods of activity. In dietary ketosis, whilst the muscles can burn fat, the brain however requires a continuing supply of glucose, although in prolonged ketosis the brain may begin to burn fat. Dietary ketosis must be clearly distinguished from diabetic aceto-ketosis which of course is a dangerous situation.

Dietary ketosis however is a normal response to fasting or restriction of carbohydrate intake. Since the brain requires a continuing supply of glucose, the body must generate this from its food stores. Although glucose is readily turned into fat, we cannot break fat down to maintain blood glucose levels. Instead the body breaks down protein to maintain blood sugar levels. However our metabolism does not distinguish between the muscles in the heart and in the limbs and in prolonged fasting there is significant muscle breakdown. This was the reason for the numerous deaths during the early days when Medifast was first introduced. In the initial clinical trials when the product was under evaluation, several women discovered that they lost their insatiable appetite and so dropped back to only a single Medifast meal (essentially a protein drink per day). These women then developed muscle breakdown and 49 women died of cardiac failure. This phenomenon of muscle breakdown in fasting explains the muscle loss in those with anorexia nervosa and bulimia. It also explains the weakness and fatigue these patients experience and also explains the tendency for them to put fat onto the abdomen when they do eat a meal; having lost muscle mass, when they do finally eat, the food is rapidly converted into fat. Fasting can be dangerous and may kill you.  Fasting is the same as starving.  It deprives your body of energy and essential vitamins, resulting in weakness, dizziness, and tiredness.  Fasting causes your metabolism to slow down to conserve energy, so any weight loss is very small.  Any weight loss that occurs is from water and lean body mass from organs (like the heart).  The misconception that fasting “cleans out” your body is completely opposite of the truth.  Fasting produces a build up of ketones that are harmful to the kidneys.
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Weight Loss Surgery

The Fad Premise:
Weight loss surgery is an operation that includes gastrointestinal surgery to stomach stapling to gastric bypasses. Other options are stomach wrapping, jejunocolic bypass, truncal vagotomy, and biliopancreatic diversion. Basically these operations include creating a small stomach pouch. As the size of the pouch avoids an individual to eat in excess, and if he tries to eat too much he will feel ill. A quick fix.

Truth:
Many diseases can accompany weight loss surgery. According to the surgeons, a person trying to shed some extra inches by weight loss surgery may prove fatal for him as these surgeries are accompanied by a series of harmful after effects, such as pulmonary embolism, liver disease, kidney disease, stomach cancer, esophagus, pancreas and bowel and vascular thrombosis just to name a few. Weight loss surgery is basically for those people having a weight of 100 pounds or more to lose. According to the doctors obese people should exhaust all other options of losing weight and consider weight loss surgery as their last resort.
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