What is the HCG Diet and How Does it Work?

HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a growth hormone produced in the placenta during pregnancy. In the past few years, HCG has gained a cult following as a miracle weight loss drug which can be administered orally through drops or intravenously by injection.
In 1950, Dr. Albert T. W. Simeons, an endocrinologist, noticed a high correlation in people who consumed HCG (for other reasons) and immediate weight loss. He theorized that by consuming HCG, your body mistakenly thinks there’s a growing embryo inside you. Your body wants the embryo to be able to protect itself, so the body quickly metabolizes stored fat and calories into energy for the embryo to use.

The HCG Diet

Dr. Simeons developed the HCG diet which combines a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet of less than 500 calories and HCG injections (125 IU) daily.

The Loading Phase

This phase of the HCG diet lasts three days and preps your body to function on a low-calorie diet. It’s called the “loading” phase because you are allowed to consume large amounts of food, with the one requirement that it is loaded with fat. By improving your fat stores in this phase, you will less likely suffer from hunger pains and headaches that usually come with low-calorie diets. You also start your HCG injections in this phase.

The Maintenance Phase

This phase can last as little as 21 days or as long as 45 days, depending on the dieter. The dieter should not waver from the HCG diet guidelines, and HCG drops should be taken religiously. In this phase, you may eat meat, fowl, seafood, vegetables and fruit with a total of 500 calories per day. You should be eating 40% vegetables and fruit, 30% proteins and 30% “good” fats. On the last three days of the maintenance phase, continue consuming as you would in the maintenance phase, but discontinue the HCG injections

The Stabilization Phase

This last phase can last as little as 7 days or as long as 14 days. The dieter will increase their daily calorie intake to 1500. You can eat 2 servings of fat, 3 servings of fruit, 4 servings of protein (meat, fowl, seafood), and 4 servings of vegetables (but avoid starchy vegetables) daily.

HCG Diet Claims

  • HCG drops promote high metabolism, burning stored fat and calories and converting it to energy. This is the mechanism for the weight loss.
  • HCG drops lowers your cholesterol level and blood pressure. Again, this is due to converting stored fat and calories into energy.
  • HCG drops maintains your muscle mass. The diet does not touch your muscles, instead focusing on the stuff you want to get rid of: fat and calories.
  • HCG drops boosts the immune system by assisting in the production of white blood cells, which are used to combat illnesses and heals wounds quickly.
  • HCG drops balance your hormone levels which, if imbalanced, is a cause for obesity.

Considerations

Although studies show that the HCG diet works for those who want to lose weight, most scientists and nutritionists agree that the low-calorie diet itself is more likely the causal factor for the weight loss.

Homeopathic HCG

Because HCG injections were hard to find and controversial, “homeopathic” HCG available via the Internet became quite popular. Studies show that, in fact, these “homeopathic” HCG solutions have little to no HCG in them. Although HCG has been approved by prescription for fertility purposes by the FDA, the over-the-counter homeopathic version is banned by the FDA because of its fraudulent inability to help people lose weight.

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