Q: I am currently on HCG and have lost 23 pounds in 31 days. When can I begin weight loss just using diet and exercise without the HCG? I usually like to have a kickstart to weight loss and then maintain the weight loss by dieting and exercise. Is this possible?
A: It isn't just possible, it is a good idea. In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took steps to remove many HCG weight-loss products from the market. HCG is human chorionic gonado-tropin, a hormone made by the human placenta and found in the urine of pregnant women. HCG is typically given in conjunction with an extremely low-calorie diet, as low as 500 calories per day. HCG is approved in the United States to treat some cases of female infertility and other medical conditions, but it is not approved as a weight-loss aid. There is no substantial evidence that HCG helps people lose weight, and severely restricted diets can create heightened risk for problems such as gallstones, electrolyte imbalances and heartbeat disorders called arrhythmias. The best way to maintain optimum weight is through proper nutrition and regular exercise.
-- Dr. Phyllis Miller, Women's Institute for Specialized Health; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society
Readers: To submit a question for a medical doctor, e-mail it to Clint Cooper at email@example.com. See this space each week for answers.