By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller
Summer’s swim attire is in full swing. We spent the weekend at the park on Lake Lowell by the dam. Ahem … so did hundreds of others trying to escape the heat.
During a pause in all the disk throwing, volleyball and dog chasing, I overheard a discussion between two women who were near our blanket. They were talking about dieting and slimming down for summer attire.
The first woman mentioned taking a product known as HCG.
Oddly enough, when I walked into the office on Monday, there was a notification about a group of people selling HCG in the Meridian area, and a warning about those products.
HCG manufacturers claim these diet supplements will reset metabolisms, change abnormal eating patterns and shed 20-30 pounds in 30-40 days. According to Elizabeth Miller, a pharmacist of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), HCG is marketed with an extremely unhealthy caloric intake of 500 per day; the average person’s intake is around 2000 calories a day.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and FDA issued seven letters in December of 2011 to businesses selling HCG, warning them they’re selling illegal weight-loss drugs that are not FDA approved.
You cannot sell products claiming to contain HCG as an over-the-counter drug product. It’s illegal, according to Brad Pace, regulatory counsel at FDA’s Health Fraud and Consumer Outreach Branch.
“If these companies don’t heed our warnings, they could face enforcement actions, legal penalties or criminal prosecution,” he says.
The company – Goin Home dba ThinSlim – professes to have a new, FDA-approved product called vibrational hCG, which is energetically charge HCG and transferred into a stable substance –glycerine.
Independent research papers and articles have identified radionics – the energetically charging of products – as being based in mysticism and superstition with no scientific basis behind its theories, according to an American Cancer Society report.
Based on the psuedoscientific process used to produce “vibrational hCG” – radionics – it is likely the product sold by Dave Smith of HCG4U, in Utah, and Lori Godfrey, of Thin Slim Store, in Meridian and Orem, Utah, is simply over-the-counter glycerin sold at a 6000% markup, according to a report from the Custer Agency.
BBB advises consumers to follow these tips when buying diet supplements:
- Do your research. It is important to know the risks of diet supplements since many are untested and unreliable. Most are composed of caffeine, appetite suppressant, fat blockers and more. Even “natural” supplements are made up of unhealthy ingredients.
- Know the side effects. Diet supplements are full of ingredients that cause adverse effects such as nausea, increased blood pressure, stroke, seizures, headache, insomnia, and much more.
- How realistic are those results? Shed those extra pounds, have increased energy, feel fuller faster – are these guaranteed results? Most diet supplements are marketed with extreme dieting and exercise regimes that are not only unhealthy but also dangerous.
- Don’t forget the fine print. Many manufacturers of diet supplements don’t offer money-back guarantees. Can you return any unused product? Will you be charged monthly for auto-shipping? Be sure to read all disclaimers and know what you’re signing up for before you buy any products.
This column first appeared in the Idaho Statesman