Kiwi nutrition experts have issue warning over the potentially harmful repercussions of a recently revived fad diet based on hormones from human placenta.
The diet involves a very low calorie intake combined with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone found in the placenta during pregnancy.
"Dieticians are very concerned. The hCG diet is being promoted as a way of controlling the body's metabolism," the New Zealand Herald quoted Jan Milne of the Dieticians New Zealand as saying.
Promoters of the fad diet, however, claim that it can burn-off fat locked away and 'forgotten' by the body, to trigger weight loss at a rate of 500g to 1kg a day, without exercise, as long as the dieter consumes only 500 calories a day.
Dieticians NZ said in a position paper that the hCG diet was first promoted in the 1950s, but that studies carried out since then found that hCG was not an effective way to lose weight.
Milne said such a diet could result in weight loss, but at the cost long-term health.
"Very low calorie diets without strict medical and dietary supervision can be dangerous. They are only reserved for severely obese people, and even then must be closely monitored by a qualified medical professional," she said.