The HCG diet plan promises weight loss results of up to 20 to 30 pounds in just four to six weeks. It also suggests that you won’t feel hunger throughout the entire process. It sounds like the best diet plan to follow. But what exactly are the processes involved in the HCG diet plan and how does this help you lose weight?
What is the HCG Diet?
Weight loss and nutrition clinic MD Diet explains physicians have been using human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) injections for years to help patients through short periods of weight loss safely. But the HCG diet plan isn’t just about hormone injections. It also prescribes low-fat, low-calorie meals for at least six weeks. Following this diet plan reportedly causes you to shed about 1 to 2 pounds in a day.
The HCG diet got its name from the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin. It is the primary component in the diet plan and reportedly helps dieters stave off hunger while undergoing a strict 500 calorie daily diet.
This diet plan stemmed from a study by a British endocrinologist in the 1950s, Albert T.W. Simeons, who observed that undernourished pregnant mothers in India still gave birth to healthy babies.
Simeons theorized that the HCG hormone in these pregnant women’s bodies channeled fat from its reserves to serve as a nourishment substitute for their children.
Because of this, he proposed that anyone could potentially benefit from the weight loss effects of HCG. He suggested the hormone increases the body’s metabolism by releasing the calories stored in fat.
Since then, dietitians, nutritionists, and weight loss clinics have picked up on the benefits of the HCG diet and manufactured this for commercial, widespread use. The current, widely accepted version of the diet plan has three phases: the loading phase, the weight loss phase, and the maintenance phase.
The Loading Phase
The loading phase marks the start of the diet plan. You begin taking shots of the pregnancy hormone to prompt its weight loss benefits, though you don’t have to restrict your diet yet. For two days, you need to eat plenty of high-fat, high-calorie food so your body can build up on calories and fats.
The Weight Loss Phase
The weight loss phase follows immediately after the loading phase. In this phase, you continue to take the HCG shots but begin to regulate your meals. Your daily calorie intake should at least be 500 to, at most, 800 a day, for three to six weeks.
You can spread these calories over for two meals, depending on your weight loss goals. The HCG diet operates on the philosophy that the quicker you need to lose weight, the lesser calories you should consume.
Some of the food products dieters can eat are small servings of fruit, like oranges and strawberries; non-starchy vegetables, like leafy greens, and lean meat, like white fish, chicken breast, and shrimp.
The Maintenance Phase
During the maintenance phase, you stop taking HCG shots and start increasing your food intake again, though you need to avoid starch and sugary food for three weeks. This is the final phase of the HCG diet where 1200 to 1500 calories a day can maintain weight loss.
For quick weight loss, the HCG diet works. But it may not be ideal to practice it in the long term. It is an extremely restrictive low-calorie diet that lacks most of the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. So it’s wise to consult with your doctor or dietitian before following this diet program.