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As popularity rises, weight loss method draws scrutiny.

NEW YORK -- The growing popularity of a unique dieting method is causing people who have struggled to shed excess pounds to praise the plan and is leading others to question its safety and effectiveness.

Called the hCG diet, the weight-loss program is based on hCG, a hormone found in pregnant women that when taken with 500 calories a day of food is said to help people lose as much as 50 pounds in a month.

Among the suppliers offering this product to chain drug store retailers and others in the mass market is Creative Bioscience, which markets hCG 1234 drops and two related products: Energy Appetite Control 1234 and Rapid Colon Cleansing 1234.

HCG diet proponents say the method helps a person bum fat more efficiently, drawing from the preferred fats--instead of muscle--and leading to weight loss of one or two pounds a day. They also say hCG can rebuild the adrenaline glands and normalize cholesterol levels.

The weight-loss method, however, has drawn criticism from a wide variety of scientists and government officials who say the real weight-loss benefits of the plan come simply because the user is only taking in 500 calories a day.

Last year the Food and Drug Administration ruled that claims that hCG can help people lose weight were fraudulent, and hCG injections sold for weight-loss purposes were illegal.

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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Jul 18, 2011
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