Omni Drops Review

Omni Drops, also known as an hCG diet, is a fraud. Let’s just get that out of the way right at the top. And Omnitrition—makers of Omni Drops and a number of other bogus supplementsplays the fraud up well. 

Not only do they market Omni Drops—which contain the illegal-without-a-prescription substance human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)—as the magic elixir (I think I know how they get away with it, which I’ll share shortly), but the company is also an Multilevel Marketing (MLM) enterprise. And if you have read any of my reviews, you know I am no MLM fan.  

That said, you can count on this to be a review that lays bare the facts—the good and the bad—and though you know how I feel already, you may judge for yourself.  

Omni Drops Claims 

We cannot talk about Omni Drops without talking about the eating plan, the diet part, because one without the other isn’t what this whole diet is all about. So what is it about? A 500-calorie a day 8-week meal plan, supplemented daily with Omni Drops. That’s it. Yes, just five hundred calories a day.  

The drops will run you about $100, but you’ll be saving money on food because you’ll be eating like a bird—actually, birds are big eaters relative to their body weight, but that’s another topic.  

Let’s start with the 500-calorie a day diet that must accompany Omni Drops—which federal health officials describe as “reckless”—then we’ll do a deeper dive into the Drops. [1] 

The actual beginning of this diet is a pig-out for a couple of days, to get those fat cells jumping, and then, bam! From 100 to 0 like that. You may eat two meals a day (if you can call them meals) that consist of about four ounces of a very, very lean—no visible fat—grilled, broiled or baked protein like chicken breast. With that, 4 or 5 ounces of a dark leafy green vegetable salad with some onion and cucumber, for example, or a few ounces of asparagus or cabbage. Oh, and one piece of melba toast. As a snack during the day (so you don’t starve), a small apple or a few strawberries. Drink all the water you want. Actually, you must drink a gallon of water. And you may have tea or coffee with Stevia. That’s it. Period. Nothing else.  

This is not only a dangerous and irresponsible way to eat, but people who either have eating disorders, or are on their way to an eating disorder, are enamored of this plan. That is scary. And possibly deadly. It’s reckless, to use the U. S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) word.  

Living on 500 calories a day is not only unhealthy—it’s hazardous, according to FDA experts. Consumers on such restrictive diets are at increased risk for side effects that include gallstone formation, an imbalance of the electrolytes that keep the body’s muscles and nerves functioning properly, and an irregular heartbeat. [2] 

Shirley Blakely, a nutritionist at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, agrees:  

Very low calorie diets are sometimes prescribed by health care professionals for people who are moderately to extremely obese as part of medical treatment to lessen health conditions caused by obesity, like high blood pressure. But even then, strict—and constant—medical supervision is needed to ensure that side effects are not life threatening…. Without medical oversight, consumers on very low calorie diets may not be getting enough vitamins, minerals and—most critically—protein. 

“In general, the reference (average) calorie level is 2,000. … If you want to lose weight, reduce your daily intake by 500 calories. Over the course of a week, that equals 3500 calories, which is the loss of a pound. Gradual weight loss is the way to do it.” [2] 

WebMD did a comprehensive review and agreed that living on can be unsafe at best and deadly at worst.  

Its impossible to meet all your nutritional needs on so few calories. You may not get enough protein, either. If you’re getting less than 1,200 calories a day, it’s going to be challenging to get enough vitamins and minerals without supplements. [3] (emphasis added) 

Although both the FDA and WebMD agree that there are situations where a doctor might recommend a very-low-calorie diet (VLCD) of under 1200 calories a day for a person that’s morbidly obese with a serious health condition like really high blood pressure, but, those types of diets are overseen and monitored by a physician. [3] 

The actual Omni Diet was created by a nurse and fitness expert, Tana Amen. You might recognize the name. She is part of the circle of saviors (or quacks) including:  

  • Dr. Oz,  
  • Rick Warren, one of the richest Christian evangelical pastors in America,  
  • and her husband, the so-called most famous psychiatrist in the US, Daniel Amen.  

Her bio lists her as working with her husband in his mental health Amen Clinics. Daniel Amen may be culturally popular, but according to the Washington Post,  

None of the nation’s most prestigious medical organizations in the field” including the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) “validates his claims.” [4] 

Okay but here’s the thing: Omni Drops and the Omni Diet—or at least the 500-calorie version of the diet—are done together, but the connection, for me anyway, is pretty opaque. In fact, it’s referred to as an HCG diet and/or VLCD. Regardless, the drops are to be taken along with a mere 500 calories per day. [5] 

And while Amen’s diet is very, very similar (virtually no carbs, save what comes from veggies and some fruits, no-speck-of-fat proteins, and lots of spices) and people associate the two, from what I have been able to glean by counting the calories in a day’s worth of Amen’s Omni Diet recipes, it comes in around 700 to 800 a day, give or take. [6] 

So, what about the drops, the point of this review? Almost there, but a quick detour for some background context because in determining the efficacy of these drops knowing the company history might be helpful.  

Omni Drops are made by Omnitrition International, based in Reno, Nevada. Omnitrition began life in 1989 when three Herbalife guys—two American and one Mexican—took the direct sales model hawking unregulatable dietary and body care products; the latter two sold rights to their partner Jorge Vergara. He started the business in Mexico with a handful of employees and not much money. But using the direct sales pyramid model—also known as the pyramid—Vergara’s company, Omnilife, expanded throughout Central and South America, the United States, and parts of Europe. Vergara, the “vitamin king of Mexico,” is a multi-billionaire. [7] [8] 

The idea then as it is now: recruit as many other product distributors as possible and then those recruits do the same and on and on. The ones at the top get rich, and richer, as more are added to the bottom—many independent sales consultants to sell nutritional and dietary products to a broad public. This is the whole idea behind MLM businesses. There are some successful household-name models. And then there are the ones who, while still commonly known, sell products that can claim pretty much what they wish, with some limitations. But it’s hard for federal regulators to keep up.  

That said, a federal class-action suit filed against Omnitrition in the Ninth Court of Appeals found against the company; it is a pyramid scheme where there’s greater focus on recruiting more distributors than the products themselves. Bottom line, the case was precedent-setting and defining for MLM businesses and has informed similar judicial decisions since. [9] 

A pyramid scheme operates like this: the original magnate (Vargas) pays for rights to sell products, then finds first salespeople (distributors) to sell product for him, but their compensation is based on recruiting more sellers moreso than product, and on, and on, with the distributors having little interest in the product but rather are “motivated by the opportunity to earn cash.” [10] 

So that’s the company. Here’s what the drops supposedly do in combination with a VLCD: Allegedly when you take the drops—which contain the pregnancy hormone hCG—your metabolism is re-set (in some cases permanently, which is not a good thing). The idea is the hormone will prevent you from feeling hunger or weakness while you’re subsisting on 500 calories a day. Magnesium and natural phosphate in a “water” round out the drops, which are primarily water drops that some people claim work miracles.  

The man behind the curtain, Dr. Oz, swears hCG works to suppress appetite when combined with his similar diet plans beginning at 500 calories a day and up to 1500 calories a day for morbidly obese people. But, he says it only works when injected, claiming the hCG in drops dissipates before ever making it into the bloodstream. [11] 

What does Omni Drops say for itself? On its website, not much. To get any information, you need to click through and find a distributor through your zip code, and either contact that person to order through them or, in some cases, when I punched in random zip codes found links to distributor PDF files or websites, blogs, and even social media pages. The distributors all claim it’s life-changing. [12] 

One Florida-based distributor’s instructions contain the following: Must be on the program at least 21 days “in order to reset the hypothalamus gland.” Coupled with the super-restrictive diet, you take about 40 drops a day to “accelerate the weight loss.” This distributor says that some will experience “mild hunger,” but will pass. [1] 

The Omni Drops promote the mobilization of fat into body fuel which keeps your blood sugar stable throughout the day. If you find yourself getting hungry at the same time every day, eat one of your fruits 30 minutes before the time you find yourself getting hungry each day. It’s important to note that everyone has different tolerances to everything. On average 10 drops taken 4 times per day is recommended to start to raise the Omni-Drops levels in the body to therapeutic levels. Some people may find that they can reduce this to 10 drops 3 times per day, you may find after 2-3 weeks, you may start getting a little hungry. If this occurs, you should increase your dosage back to 10 drops taken 4 times per day. You may take up to 48 total drops per day. Remember to listen to your body, it will tell you what you need. [1] 

Oh, and no exercise, on Omni Drops; you have nothing to burn when you don’t eat. You also must use oil-free beauty and body products. (No clue why. Sounds ridiculous.)  

This distributor says even though you are only consuming 500 calories a day, inexplicably she claims,  

…you are actually consuming 1,500 – 3,000 calories each day, even though you are only eating a small portion of that! The other calories are coming from those released from the consumption of abnormal fat stored in your body which is made available through the direct impact of the Omni Drops, resulting in rapid healthy weight loss. On the Omni Drops program you should not be tired, look tired or run down, or experience energy loss. IT IS JUST THAT GOOD! Those who follow the protocol should experience positive life changing results and enjoy it in the process! [1] 

Omni Drops Ingredients  

HCG, in this amount; 3x6x12x30x60x (I will explain this “amount” nonsense in a minute), vitamin B-12, phosphate, and magnesium phosphate.  

First, vitamin B12 won’t help you lose weight. Period. People with vitamin B deficiencies often get injections, but the myth that B is a magic potion is just that; a myth. The trace natural phosphate, and magnesium phosphate “formulated in a proprietary blend with colloidal mineral water.”  

WebMD says there’s insufficient evidence for any and all health-related claims of colloidal minerals as supplements. [13] 

The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind Omni Drops 

The FDA says this diet is a “Reckless ways to shed pounds.” 

…fads and diet aids that promise rapid weight loss, but often recommend potentially dangerous practices. These include HCG weight-loss products marketed over-the-counter (OTC) that are identified as “homeopathic” and direct users to follow a severely restrictive diet.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers to steer clear of these “homeopathic” human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) weight-loss products. They are sold in the form of oral drops, pellets and sprays and can be found online and in some retail stores. The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued seven letters to companies warning them that they are selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs that have not been approved by FDA, and that make unsupported claims. [14] 

Many of these popular HCG products claim to “reset your metabolism,” change “abnormal eating patterns,” and shave 20-30 pounds in 30-40 days. 

“These products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they’re losing weight, hCG must be working,” says Elizabeth Miller, acting director of FDA’s Division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud. “But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from the HCG.” [14] 

Omnitrition doesn’t claim otherwise, admitting its claims have not been evaluated by the FDA and aren’t a treatment or cure. But Omnitrition also says its drops work when used with its eating plan guide and recipes.  

But hCG is approved by FDA as a prescription drug for the treatment of female infertility, and other medical conditions. It is not approved for weight loss. In fact, the prescription drug label approved by the FDA notes, 

HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets. [15] 

HCG is not approved for over-the-counter sales.  

So here’s my theory: these drops are a placebo and do nothing.  

First, the amount—if any—of hCG must be so minuscule as not to be detectable and that’s who they get away with selling it. Where’s the hCG? One look at the label demonstrates this with an indecipherable equation on the amounts contained.  

After doing some Googling—an interesting search engine to use, since it’s the definition of numerical infinity, which is pretty much where we are at with the hCG amount. The claim was made in the 1950s by a physician who said an injection of the hormone found in the placenta (afterbirth) combined with a 500-calorie-a day diet saw obese people lose weight. It was a crock then and is now. The FDA, other regulatory agencies, and respected medical associations all swooped in and rejected the claims, and warnings and other call-outs were ordered for labels.  

And as to VLCDs; some people need them. But do not do one without medical supervision. Period. [16] [17] 

Word on the Street About Omni Drops 

I have talked about the business of Omni Drops at length—so briefly, what’s the word on the street about the Omnitrition International company? The Better Business Bureau gives the nearly three-decade-old company an F rating. [18] 

And what about Omni Drops reviews? One Amazon.com Omni Drops product page had just 8 reviews and—save one—all are 5-star with the same headline: “Five Star!” I cannot trust these to be a reflection of an actual non-distributor experience with the nearly $100 drops. [19] 

Another Omni Drops Amazon product page had 12 reviews, and while most were complimentary, a few not so much. Again, it’s hard to know if the amazing reviews are legit. [20] 

“Matt Cline” (Jun 2015, 3 stars) wrote a review which reads,  

These drops…[are] marketed to keep you from going into “starvation mode” (or at least that’s what they were sold to me for) but in reality, starvation mode is a myth.

Starvation mode is a myth that was popularized due to the Minnesota Starvation Experiment in which subjects were given 50% of their daily calorie intake for months. The result? Well, they lost weight until they had almost no weight left to lose and their bodies simply could not get the calories ANYWHERE. Concisely put: starvation mode happens when you are, quite literally, wasting away. Not when you have a simple caloric deficit. Your body will make up for it with fat stores. That’s what they’re for. Do not worry about starvation mode. I’m not saying these drops don’t help you with your weight loss journey, I’m just saying that they’re not NECESSARY for the diet to work or for any diet to work at all. [21] 

“Baxty” (Feb 2014, 1 star) says don’t waste your money:  

Omni drops didn’t work for me. I still had cravings 3 weeks into the program, while following the program to a T! I found that I’m losing weight by eating a low calorie diet and exercise, but 500 calories a day is dangerous while exercising. I still had cravings. So this is not the way to go. The drops made no difference whatsoever. [22] 

“Sarah Brumfield” (2016, 1 star) posted on the Omni Drops Facebook page:  

… You are losing weight because you are only consuming 500 calories a day. This is dangerous, unhealthy, and not sustainable long term,” she says, adding that “Your heart can, and will, be affected by not enough potassium and calcium. Your bones can, and will, be affected by not enough calcium. Your muscles can, and will, be affected by not enough protein. Your brain can, and will, be affected by not enough fat. The vitamin supplement alone is not enough to make up for what you are taking away. … [23] 

When Sarah shared this review, she was attacked by a few aficionados.  

The Bottom Line: Are Omni Drops Worth a Try? 

Definitely not.  Expensive and useless. And the 500-calorie-a day diet? Please talk to your doctor first when considering any VLCD, please. You could be endangering your health, body and mind. And if you know someone who does these kinds of diets, they may need help.  

Review Sources
  1. http://omnibythebay.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Omni_Program_Guide_Phase_2_VLC_7Pages.pdf. 
  2. https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm281333.htm 
  3. http://www.webmd.com/diet/hcg-and-weight-loss. 
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/daniel-amen-is-the-most-popular-psychiatrist-in-america-to-most-researchers-and-scientists-thats-a-very-bad-thing/2012/08/07/467ed52c-c540-11e1-8c16-5080b717c13e_story.html?utm_term=.bb1df1ea157b. 
  5. http://omnibythebay.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Omni_Program_Guide_Phase_2_VLC_7Pages.pdf 
  6. https://s3.amazonaws.com/Amenclinics/BBT/Omni_Quick_Start_Guide.pdf 
  7. https://www.omnilife.com/ 
  8. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/06/business/the-enigmatic-empire-of-the-vitamin-king-of-mexico.html. 
  9. http://www.dsa.org/docs/default-source/advisory-memoranda/adm_1996_webster_v_omnitrition-pdf.pdf?Status=Master&sfvrsn=0. 
  10. https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/06/02/12-55926.pdf 
  11. http://www.doctoroz.com/article/new-hcg-diet 
  12. https://www.omnitrition.com/products/ 
  13. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-409-colloidal%20minerals.aspx?activeingredientid=409&activeingredientname=colloidal%20minerals 
  14. https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm281333.htm 
  15. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm281834.htm. 
  16. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/very-low-calorie-diets 
  17. https://www.obesityresearch.nih.gov/about/about.aspx 
  18. https://www.bbb.org/reno/business-reviews/health-and-medical-products-scientifically-unproven/omnitrition-international-in-reno-nv-90009230 
  19. https://www.amazon.com/Omni-Drops-Diet-Vitamin-B12/dp/B01IAIQAZ2. 
  20. https://www.amazon.com/Omnitrition-Omni-Drops/product-reviews/B00HBKX85G. 
  21. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3I1KJVLRM6ZRL/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_btm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00HBKX85G#wasThisHelpful. 
  22. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2GBXVO8BKW20P/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00HBKX85G. 
  23. https://www.facebook.com/sportswife/posts/10101227777042393:0 . 

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