What Is the HCG Diet, and How Do I Start?
The Theory Behind the HCG Diet for Weight Loss
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over Sixty-six percent or two-thirds of adults in the United States are considered obese or severely overweight, putting them at risk for serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Many people struggle to lose weight and are looking for anything to help them accomplish this. The US weight loss product market was over 60 billion dollars last year.
The healthiest way to safely lose unwanted weight is through a long gradual process with slow and steady lifestyle changes and by making healthy food choices, watching your portion size, and engaging in moderate exercise every day.
In 1954, British physician A.T.W. Simeons theorized that HCG allows mothers-to-be to access fat reserves to feed their fetuses. He published his book, “Pounds, and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity,” in which he suggests that HCG could help people access their stored fat reserves and actually achieve weight loss.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a protein-based hormone that’s typically produced by women during the early stages of pregnancy. HGC is reported to have fat-burning qualities, and it is also the foundation of the so-called “HCG diet,” which the proponents of the diet claim it can result in dramatic weight loss. The HGC diet is an extremely caloric restrictive diet, claimed to cause rapid weight loss of up to 1–2 pounds per day without feeling hunger pains in the process.
What Is the HCG Diet?
The human chorionic gonadotropin HCG diet is not a brand-new concept.
The HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) became a dietary option in the 1950s, when obesity researcher, Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons published his research, “Pounds, and Inches,” describing the efficacy of HCG as a weight loss supplement when coupled with a restrictive diet to lose weight.
According to Simeons, the effectiveness of the HCG hormone is a diet supplement where its role is in “re-setting” the hypothalamus and altering how the body’s metabolism burns fat.
Simeons speculated HCG unlocked the body’s ability to burn trapped fat. The premise of the HGC diet for dieters to supplement HCG with a limited calorie diet without feeling hunger pains because their body is living off the calories from the trapped fat in their bodies.
Does the HCG Diet Work?
So how do people lose weight on the HCG diet? In general, women need approximately 1,600 to 2,600 calories per day, whereas men need 2,000 to 3,000 or more calories per day when combined with moderate exercise to maintain a consistent healthy weight. Following a healthy balanced diet while only eating only 500 calories a day is possible for most people. But eating under 500 calories per day could be unhealthy and should be done only under a doctor’s supervision.
The HGC diet requires that you eat only 500 calories per day, as part of an effort to help reset your metabolism and begin change any unhealthy eating patterns. This diet also requires you to take a daily dose of the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG).
The HCG protocol is very straightforward. You follow a 20- or 30-day cycle of using HCG supplementation, combined with a very low-calorie diet composed of very specific healthy foods including lean protein, vegetables, bread, fruit, and lots of water. Butter, oils, and sugar are to be entirely avoided during the HGC diet. Proponents of the HGC diet claim that this stimulates the hypothalamus and triggers the burn-off of stored fat without the common side effects of a low-calorie diet, such as hunger pains or headaches. So many people have successfully used the HCG diet program to obtain fantastic weight loss results with very few or absolutely no adverse side effects.
The combination of the HCG injections combined with a very restrictive low-calorie diet is referred to as the HGC, Diet, HCG Protocol, or the Simeons diet, after British physician Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons, the doctor who first proposed the technique as a weight loss method back in 1954.
The HCG diet uses a powerful combination of HCG hormones and an extremely low-calorie intake to achieve dramatic weight loss results. Proponents for the HCG diet claim that it boosts your metabolism and helps you lose significant amounts of fat without the side effects of feeling intensely hungry.
Can I Lose Weight Safely with the HCG Diet ?
An HCG weight loss program can be an effective program for healthy weight loss, but it should be carefully distributed and monitored under the care of a physician, and the patient should be guided from initiation of the diet to the transition back to healthy eating and sufficient calorie consumption.
Patients who pursue the HCG diet for weight loss safely and under the care of their physician can benefit from the weight loss program. Following a low-calorie HGC, weight loss program in the short term will produce weight loss, but It is advisable to only participate in this type of weight loss diet for 21 to 30 days at a time. While on the HCG diet, most people don’t experience any adverse side effects.
Here are a few tips to ensure you lose weight safely while on the HCG diet:
- Follow the directions exactly.
- Do not skip meals.
- Remember to stay hydrated.
So, What Is HCG?
HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone that is produced at higher levels during early pregnancy. In fact, this hormone is used as an indicator in some home pregnancy tests. HCG is produced in the placenta early in pregnancy and then excreted in the urine, making it available as a marker to test for a positive result on a home pregnancy test. Its primary function is to communicate with a woman’s body that she is pregnant and to make the uterus more hospitable for a growing fetus.
HCG also helps the body to maintain the production of essential hormones like progesterone and estrogen, which are necessary for the development of a healthy embryo and fetus. HCG is produced in large amounts during the first three months of pregnancy as Blood levels of HCG increase, and then the levels of HCG begin to decrease. HCG also stimulates the production of essential pregnancy hormones during this time.
But HCG can also increase metabolism and help to mobilize the burning of stored fat to ensure that energy is being provided for the developing fetus and to protect the pregnancy even if the mother is facing a stressful situation like malnutrition, is only able to get limited calories or even starvation. It is this increased metabolism function that has garnered interest in the hormone’s role in weight loss programs like the HCG diet. HCG is also used at high doses in infertility treatments for both men and women.
Does the HGC Diet Improve Body Composition?
One common side effect of most weight loss programs is decreased muscle mass. This is an especially common side effect that is common in most diets that severely restrict calorie intake, such as the HCG diet. Your body may also think it’s in starvation mode and reduce the number of calories your metabolism will burn in order to conserve energy. Proponents of the HGC diet claim that the HCG diet helps prevent muscle loss and metabolic slowdown while severely restricting calories. Proponents of the HCG diet claim that this diet only causes fat loss and not lean muscle loss. They also claim that HCG can elevate other hormones, boosts metabolism and lead to an anabolic growth-promoting state.
Combining the HCG diet with exercise or moderate activity is often an effective weight loss strategy. Likewise, eating plenty of healthy high-protein foods and also taking an occasional break from your diet can boost your metabolism further and lead to additional weight loss.
What are the Phases of the HCG Diet?
The HCG weight loss diet is a very low-fat, very calorie restrictive diet that is generally divided into three separate phases:
- HCG Loading phase: Start taking supplemental HCG injections and eat plenty of high-fat, high-calorie foods for two days.
- Weight loss phase: Continue taking HCG shots and eat only 500 calories per day for 3–6 weeks. During the weight loss phase, you take HCG injections while consuming only about 500 calories per day. During this weight loss phase, you are typically only allowed to eat two meals per day. This usually consists of a lunch and a dinner. The HCG diet meal plan generally suggests that each meal should contain one portion of a lean protein source, a vegetable, a piece of bread and fruit. You may also receive a list of HCG diet approved foods to form in specific amounts. Butter, oils, and sugar typically should be avoided, but you are always encouraged to drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. Mineral waters, coffee, and tea are allowed on the HGC diet as well.
- Maintenance phase: Stop taking HCG injections and gradually increase food intake but still avoid all sugar and starches for at least three weeks. While people only seeking minimal weight loss may only spend three weeks in the middle phase but those seeking significant weight loss may be advised to follow the HGC diet for up to six weeks and in some cases even repeat all three phases of the cycle several times for maximum results.
HGC Diet Allowed Foods List
The HCG diet limits calories substantially, usually between 500 calories per day and sometimes up to 1,500 calories per day. Because of the severe caloric restriction, the HCG diet does limit fat considerably.
What Foods You Can Eat and What You Can’t.
During the HCG diet, you won’t be eating much. This diet lets you have two meals a day, lunch and dinner. Each meal should include one form of protein, one vegetable, one bread, and one fruit.
- According to the HCG diet website, here is a list of the approved foods:
- Some Fruits: Limited oranges, strawberries, apples, and red grapefruit
- Non-starchy Vegetables: Lettuce, celery, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes
- Lean Meats: Chicken breast, lean ground beef, shrimp, lobster, and white fish
You can have broiled or grilled veal, beef, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp. Fatty fish such as salmon, eel, tuna, herring, or dried or pickled fish are typically not allowed. Your vegetable choices include green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard, chicory, beet greens, tomatoes, celery, fennel, Brussel sprouts, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, and cabbage. Some bread such as a breadstick, cracker or one piece of melba toast.
For fruit, you can have oranges, apples, a handful of strawberries, or half a grapefruit. The HGC diet allows you to drink as much water, coffee, and tea as you want. You can use sugar substitutes such as Satava but not sugar to sweeten drinks. Butter and oils are not allowed during the HGC diet.
What are some foods that are not allowed on the HGC diet plan?
The HGC diet does not allow any of the following: fast foods or highly processed foods, fatty foods, fatty fish, nuts, or anything made with oil or butter and added Sugar is not permitted in any form.
With some creativity and plenty of recipes for fresh, healthy foods to choose from, you’ll have plenty of variety to keep you satisfied while on the HGC diet.
The products and statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult a physician before starting any diet or supplement program. Individual results may vary from person to person. Statements regarding the HCG diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. The FDA states that HCG has no known effects on fat mobilization, appetite or sense of hunger, or body fat distribution. 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. Always consult a physician before starting any diet or supplement program.