Public warned against ‘miracle low-calorie’ diets

Supplements are "dangerous and should not be followed," says public health chief.

August 13, 2012 04:33
1 minute read.
Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

Drop Dead Healthy 370. (photo credit: Michael Cogliantry)

The Health Ministry warned the public on Sunday about the dangers of very-low-calorie diets of fewer than 500 calories a day that have been advertised in various media.

These supplements, which have been claimed to bring about less appetite and weight reduction, “are dangerous to health and should not be followed,” said ministry public health chief Prof. Itamar Grotto.

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Sold in spray or drop form, they are claimed to be a “vegetarian copy” of human chorionic gonadotropin, the human hormone produced during pregnancy and prescribed mostly to infertile women.

Sold by various companies, they lack all active ingredients or biological hormones, but are made from algae and other substances that can legally be sold.

They are recommended by the companies along with extremely strict diets but without advising users to make changes in their sedentary lifestyle instead, the ministry added.

The only healthy way to lose weight, ministry said, is physical activity and a nutritious, balanced diet and to set realistic goals for weight. It urged people who advise customers on diet not to recommend these products. The products are advertised as the “full solution to overweight,” “a change in metabolism that destroys unnecessary fat” and a way to “restart the body so it doesn’t accumulate fat in the future.” But all these claims are baseless and dangerous to health, the ministry said. They cause muscles to be eroded, Grotto added.

These products have absolutely no scientific basis and are liable to mislead the public into thinking that no exercise is needed to lose weight, the ministry continued. Most women need at least 1,800 calories and men 2,000 calories a day

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