HCG Diet Plan 101
If you are a naïve when it comes to the HCG diet plan, do not worry, this article will cater for all your needs. To get you started, HCG is a hormone actively present in pregnant women. If used in smaller doses, it has the overall effect of causing fast weight loss whereby it triggers the body to use old stores as fuel. It is known to help one lose as much as 1 to 2 pounds on a daily basis.
The HCG diet can be done by both men and women and requires one to live by a very strict low-calorie diet. It comes in three phases, namely – loading, dieting, and maintenance. We take a look at these later on.
This extreme diet doesn’t require you to feel hungry throughout the entire process. The popularity has become so great and prompted different experts to analyze it. Among the regulatory bodies to take a look at it is the FDA, which has termed HCG to not only be dangerous and illegal but also fraudulent.
There are so many questions to be answered before jumping to such a conclusion. We take an objective look into the matter and the science on which the HCG diet runs.
The Biological HCG
As an introduction, we told you that HCG is found in pregnant women. That is correct. What we didn’t tell you is that its quantity is much higher during the pregnancy’s early stages and that it is the component in the home pregnancy test devices.
Men and women suffering from infertility have been prescribed to use HCG. But too much of it in the blood could be an indicator of a number of medical issues such as testicular, ovarian and placental cancer.
HCG as a weight loss tool was first proposed by Albert Simeons, a British doctor, back 1954. The components of his diet back then were mainly composed of the HCG hormone injected into the body and low-calorie diet (averagely 500 calories per day).
The prescription has advanced and it’s nowadays sold in a variety of forms such as sprays, pellets and oral drops. There are hundreds of websites selling them. You can also get them at your local supermarkets and shops.
HCG Diet Phase 1
*Takes 3 Days*
Also known as the Loading Days, Phase 1 of the HCG program entails lots of freedom. You are basically set free to eat your favorite meals and to whichever quantities you want. Simply put, this phase tells you – eat each and everything that you will miss once you begin the diet.
You are highly encouraged to eat outrageous things such as pasta bread, French fries, cakes, candy and ice creams! These are things that you are typically told to keep off when you are preparing to lose weight.
What’s more, you do not just eat them on one day but until the third day of the diet.
Something worth noting at this stage is to select a suitable time when you plan to take the HCG. Pick a time that you can consistently stick to as guided by the HCG instructions.
For instance, if you are instructed to take it two times a day, select two times of the day that you are comfortable with. You may, for instance, chose 6 – 6 am before going to work and 6 pm after work. Traveling with HCG wouldn’t be something you want to travel around with considering the high risk of forgetting it.
HCG Diet Phase 2
How long you take depends on the weight to be lost.
The second stage of this journey is launched on the third day. At this time you are expected to wake to feel you have no urge for any given food even though you desire to take it. You now begin taking the HCG at the designated times and also constantly refer to your food list and the quantities allowed.
A 40-day diet plan is encouraged for people with the intention of losing over 30 lbs. Remember the 40 days are continuous, without posing even for a day. If you skip, you have to start all over again. So be disciplined. The average weight loss is 1 to 1.5 pounds per day thus select a day that is realistically achievable. For instance, if I lose 1.5 pounds per day, I will have lost 10 pounds after a week. So do the Math. If your goal is to lose 10 to 15 pounds, then a 40-day HCG diet plan is not necessary.
All in all, phase 2 needs you to take only 500 calories per day in addition to lots of water.
Your morning breakfast will be made of coffee or tea while sugar is avoided entirely. If you have a weakness when it comes to sugar, some good alternatives would be stevia or sweet-n-low. For the sweet-n-low lovers, limit yourself to not more than 1 package to have the risk of taking more sugar than you ought to. If taking coffee, use only 1 tablespoon of milk for every 24 hours.
Your daily lunch must be limited only to 100 grams of protein, consistently. While using a scale, this could be something around 3.4 but it varies depending on the items.
For accurate results, while weighing your food when raw and unfrozen. Your protein sources could be veal, lobster, shrimp, fish, crab, chicken or lean beef. If you choose to go with ground beef, let it be something like 93/7, that is, 93% lean and 7% fat. Make the fat as less as you can. Be extra vigilant when it comes to fish because some types may contain more fat than others. Tilapia is much better than eel, catfish, and tuna. You can get it in almost all marketplaces. Strip all visible fat from your meat.
This diet permits you 1 vegetable for lunch and that means you select any from the HCG diet plan food list. Whereas you are at liberty to use almost all types of greens and lettuce, some other viable options could be cabbages, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, and asparagus.
Every lunch also does better with one type of bread stick. You may as well use melba toast. Getting either of them from the store is a pretty easier job but carefully read the packaging for any other additives such as seasonings and cheeses. Always aim at a plain version.
Your lunch is finalized with 1 fruit which can be either of the following: about 6 strawberries, ½ a grapefruit or 1 whole apple.
Just like your lunch, dinner restricts you to 100 grams protein, 1 fruit, 1 veggie and Melba toast or bread stick. Cooking oils are not permitted!
For the vegetables, just use common sense and use the quantities that you think are viable for you. There are no special instructions here. The greens and lettuce are fillers, making the salad size a good quantity. But there is no problem here since most vegetables are low in calories. Something else is that you are not advised on whether you can mix the vegetables or not but doing that will have no harm at all. For instance, you can use 2 or 3 ingredients from the allowed veggies for your salad. However, there is a restriction when it comes to dressing. You are blocked from using high fat, oils or sugars. Some good options include red or white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Use any kind of seasoning including spices, peppers or slats.
Sauces with fewer amounts of sodium such as hot sauce, mustard or teriyaki are a great choice. Again, do read the labels carefully for any mischievous ingredients. If the sugar level is something close to or less than 2 grams, then it is safe for taste but does not concentrate your food on that. Do not over the season because if you have excess levels of sodium in your body, you risk making the body retain more water and make a difference on the scale.
Phase 2 restricts you from the use of cosmetics and moisturizers because your body has the ability to absorb the fats the skin comes into contact with.
Finally, avoid massage parlor! Oops you didn’t like that, right? A massage is one way to badly damage your diet. When under a massage, the fat stores are constantly moved and this may be detrimental to a given area where the body was burning.
HCG Diet Phase 3
This is the maintenance phase. It is a very critical stage in your diet plans. Once you have hit the final day of your HCG intake, it is important you remain committed to taking not more than 500 calories for at least 3 days. This helps clean up your body of any remaining HCG before you can start introducing larger food quantities.
After the additional three days are done, feel free to resume to your normal food intake but be keen not to use over 1500 calories per day. This is yet another phase that will be undertaken for at least 3 weeks. Within these weeks, you can now start introducing dairy products and healthy fats like avocados.
Protein makes a vital constituent of phase 3 and you have to retain it within manageable levels. Averagely, one needs something close to 80 grams of proteins daily. One risk of switching from phase 2 to 3 is that you are likely to ignore phase 2 foods like chicken and steak due to excitement brought by the new choices. These are equally good sources of protein. As much as phase 3 has a much wider food choices, make sure you have sufficient levels of protein for the entire day. One trick you will find helpful is the use of protein drinks or supplements. For instance, you can do well with protein powders but make sure you do not add any sugars. Try muscle milk, it will go a long way in meeting your needs.
Body stabilization is the main goal of phase 3, making it an important stage that you can’t afford to skip. It is not uncommon that once you are free to eat whatever you want you may misuse the freedom. The temptation is too powerful and you may end up gaining more weight that you had lost earlier on. Chances of failing at this phase are much higher than any other phase. Just make sure you are disciplined enough to do what is right.
HCG Diet Works! But what’s the reason?
One unquestionable fact is that the HCG diet works and helps you cut down on the excess fats. The only area of controversy is actually what causes the weight loss. For some, the HCG itself is not the reason for the loss in weight (I have given at least 4 research papers supporting this claim, read below). They say that the decline is caused by the diet’s stand to limit calories intake to around 500 calories per day.
Any diet whose calorie content is as low as this will for sure help shed off some weight. There are other methods that one can use in his or her efforts to reduce weight, as long as you are keen on the calories. We are not discouraging the use of the HCG diet plan because it also works. What is disputed is whether the HCG in it works and how genuine is this HCG?
How does HCG Impact your body
The protein-based hormone is basically used to signal to a woman’s body that she is pregnant. It triggers vital hormones such as estrogen and progesterone to be produced. These are required for proper development of the embryo and fetus.
When the pregnancy has reached its third month of pregnancy, the HCG levels start declining.
You are probably asking yourself how this is associated with weight loss. Does it cause a loss of weight? Well, read through to find out the answer.
The HCG products sold in the market state that it boosts metabolism and thus causing lots of fats to be burnt, without ever getting hungry.
Numerous theories have been developed to explain the science behind HCG and weight loss. In the majority of these research studies, the conclusion has been that the weight loss experienced while on an HCG diet is attributed to the ultra-low calories consumed and that it is not linked to the HCG hormone in any way.
Check out the following studies:
- Human chorionic gonadotrophin and weight loss. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
- Ineffectiveness of human chorionic gonadotropin in weight reduction: a double-blind study
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity: a critical assessment of the Simeons method
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) treatment of obesity
All the listed studies involved injecting one group of subjects with HCG hormone and the other with placebo. The two groups were both on an ultra-low calorie diet. The conclusion was that the two attained identical, or rather, almost identical weight loss.
Furthermore, they concluded that HCG hormone had very little effect on the reduction of hunger.
The FDA is yet to approve HCG as a weight loss diet/drug. The regulatory agency has, in fact, cast a doubt on the safety of HCG products and their ingredients.
Some of the common side effects reportedly to be associated with it include fatigue, headaches, and depression. Most of these effects can be to a greater extent explained in terms of the extremely low-calorie intake.
This study was able to highlight a case in which one woman – 64
Years old – on an HCG diet experienced blood clotting in her lungs and legs. Examining doctors arrived at the conclusion that the effect was due to the diet.
HCG and body composition
The most common side effect associated with weight loss is a decrease in muscle mass, depending on the kind of path you took to lose weight.
The decrease in muscle mass is more apparent when one is subjected to a diet that severely restricts the uptake of calories, for instance, a HCG diet.
The body may also get the impression that it is undergoing starvation and thus cut down on the burning of calories so as to conserve energy.
But the HCG products do issue statements that the diet only cuts down on excess fat but preserves your muscles.
They also claim that the HCG diet boosts metabolism by elevating other hormones and thus the body witnesses an anabolic state. However, we can’t any scientific research that backs these claims.
People on a low-calorie diet can use a variety of other ways to reduce muscle loss including weight lifting. The other way could be to eat lots of protein-rich foods.
The bottom line is that a variety of the HCG products are scams. What this means is that they literally contain no HCG at all. The actual HCG can be found as a prescription and is given as an injection by the doctor to treat infertility.
If you are lucky enough to get the real HCG then the hormone blood levels can be raised as opposed to what these “homeopathic” products sold online purport to do.