The hCG Diet is a diet that is carried out by consuming very low-calorie foods combined with hCG supplements. hCG itself stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, which is the pregnancy hormone produced by the placenta.
Like extreme diets, the hCG diet significantly restricts food groups or calories, thereby ensuring its weight loss benefits. There are two types of hCG, which are injected (injection) and taken (orally). There is growing evidence that injecting hCG supplements does not lead to additional weight loss despite its calorie-restricting benefits.
Dr. Albert T. Simeons first recommended this diet as a weight loss aid in the 1950s. He claims that hCG can cause the body to burn stored fat more often, especially fat from the belly, hips, and thighs. He also said that hCG dieters will lose more fat than muscle and will not feel hungry or irritable. Several studies have found that those who follow a 40-day hCG diet weight loss plan can lose 10 to 15 pounds without feeling weak or overly hungry. The hCG diet limits you to 500 calories per day.
The following are some of the benefits of doing the hCG diet:
1. Fat Burning for Energy
When injected with hCG supplements, these supplements will force the body to burn adipose tissue or fat for energy. When this supplement is combined with calorie restriction, it can increase one pound daily weight loss.
2. Improved Metabolic Function
Doing a weight loss program with very low calories can slow down metabolic function. However, along with hCG supplementation, it can trigger the metabolism of fat for energy, which speeds up the metabolic rate and increases the chances of successful weight loss.
3. Lowering Cholesterol
The hCG diet has the benefit of lowering cholesterol and helping you adopt healthier eating habits that can provide long-term health benefits, such as reducing heart disease.
4. Maintain Muscle
The hCG diet can help maintain muscle mass because only stored fat is burned.
5. Maintain Hormone Balance
The hCG diet can also help maintain hormonal balance by triggering the release of other hormones, such as testosterone, which can increase libido in men. Furthermore, the hCG diet helps regulate estrogen levels in women for homeostasis and healthy weight loss.
6. Reduce Hunger
A low-calorie diet will trigger hunger pangs, but hCG supplements can prevent severe hunger sensations due to their metabolic reaction on adipose tissue.
What Can You Eat?
- Lean Proteins
- Certain vegetables, such as a serving of spinach, radishes, beet greens, cabbage, lettuce, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, onions, shallots, or radishes, should be avoided.
- Limited quantities of certain fruits, such as berries, citrus fruits, and apples, These fruits can be consumed once at lunch and once at dinner.
- Herbs and spices
- Coffee, tea, and water
What Not to Eat
- Dairy products
- High-carbohydrate foods
- Fats and oils
- Sweets and alcohol
- Sweets and desserts
How to Follow
Do the hCG diet in 3 phases, namely:
- Loading phase. In the initial phase, start taking hCG and eat lots of high-fat and high-calorie foods for 2 days.
- weight loss phase. This next phase recommends that you continue to take hCG and eat only 500 calories per day for 3 to 6 weeks.
- Maintenance phase. Stop taking hCG while in this phase. Increase your food intake gradually, but avoid sugar and starch for the next 3 weeks.
If you focus on losing weight, you should spend at least 3 weeks in the second phase, which is the weight loss phase. You can repeat all cycles of the hCG diet several times.
The hCG diet meal plan generally advises that each meal should contain the following:
- One serving of lean protein
- a piece of bread
- One serving of fruit
- Drink lots of water.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has not yet approved hCG supplements as a way to lose weight. This is due to the unclear content of these supplements. The hCG diet was suspected of causing blood clots in a 64-year-old woman in 2014.
The hCG diet recommends you consume 500 calories per day, but with low-calorie consumption, any diet can still help you lose weight. If you want to lose weight, it is recommended that you try other diet methods. Consult your doctor or nutritionist to determine the right diet for you.
hCG’s Effect on Body Composition
Reduced muscle mass is a common side effect of weight loss. This is especially common in diets that severely restrict calorie intake, such as the hCG diet. To conserve energy, your body may believe it is starving and reduce the number of calories it burns. The hCG diet’s proponents assert that it does not result in muscle loss, only fat loss.
Additionally, they assert that hCG raises levels of other hormones, increases metabolism, and induces a state that promotes growth, or anabolism. However, there’s no scientific evidence to support these claims. Low-calorie diets may encourage quick weight loss over the short term, but they are ineffective for weight loss over the long run.
When you follow an extremely low-calorie diet, your body adjusts by producing more hunger hormones and using less energy, which makes it more challenging to keep the weight off. This is why nutritionists advise against extreme calorie restriction and instead advocate for moderate calorie deficits.
While strictly limiting calories, some say that the hCG diet prevents muscle loss and metabolic slowing. However, no evidence supports these claims.
The hCG diet’s proponents assert that it increases metabolism and facilitates significant fat loss without causing you to experience hunger. Many theories try to explain how hCG works to make you lose weight.
However, numerous research over the years has concluded that the hCG diet’s ability to cause weight loss is solely due to its extremely low-calorie consumption. The hCG hormone is unrelated to it. The majority of this research contrasted the results of hCG versus placebo injections given to dieters. The two groups lost weight in a similar or almost comparable manner. Additionally, these investigations found that the hCG hormone had no discernible impact on hunger.
Numerous studies suggest that the hCG diet’s weight loss results primarily from severe calorie limitations. It has nothing to do with hCG, which is also ineffective in reducing hunger.
Safety and Side Effects
hCG has not been given FDA approval as a weight-loss treatment. In contrast, the FDA has raised concerns about the safety of hCG diets and over-the-counter hCG products. These items lack regulation and have unidentified components. As a result, they should be avoided.
The hCG diet also has several adverse side effects, including:
This might be mostly a result of its starvation-level calorie intake, which is practically certain to make people feel miserable. In a 2014 case report, a 64-year-old lady who was following the hCG diet experienced the development of blood clots in her leg and lungs. It was shown that the diet most likely resulted in clots and other negative effects.