It seems like every few months we hear all about a new diet that promises to make you lose weight fast. Some of them make sense, like the ketogenic diet, and some are just down-right insane, like the all-chocolate diet. This is nothing new. We’ve been seeing crazy diet plans for decades, some of which work and some of which don’t. The latest weight-loss phenomenon is the HCG diet. Never heard of it? Don’t worry – neither had we. We decided to do some research to find out what the HCG diet is and if it can really help you lose weight!
What Is the HCG Diet?
The HCG diet can help you lose as much as one pound per day!
It turns out the HCG diet is actually quite an effective weight loss plan, but it isn’t free of controversy. The diet involves two things that might make you scratch your head in confusion. The first part of the diet is that you have to receive hormone injections. You heard that right – hormone injections. To follow the HCG diet, you need to get injections of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, otherwise known as HCG (so that’s where the name comes from!) HCG hormone injections do not make you lose weight, but instead suppress your appetite, which obviously makes dieting easier. HCG hormone can also resolve certain thyroid issues which cause weight gain.
Now, you probably have some questions about this – we did, too! How exactly do these hormone injections work? How often do you need them? Does a doctor have to administer them? Do they have any adverse side effects? Let’s unpack these details one at a time…
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is found naturally in the human body, but in varying levels for everyone. HCG hormone is responsible for controlling metabolic function through the hypothalamus. It is also responsible for stimulating ovulation in women, but that’s not the result we’re looking for here… When you receive low-dose injections of HCG hormone, it actually helps to improve your metabolic function. Think of it like taking supplemental vitamins. You might take a Vitamin C supplement to improve your immune system or a Magnesium supplement to support heart health. You’re not taking HCG to start a new process in your body, but rather to improve something your body already does on its own.
For the HCG diet to be effective, you need to receive one injection per day for 26 days. That’s right – the diet is less than a month long! In individuals who need to lose a large amount of weight, they may need to follow a prolonged version of the diet, but for most individuals 26 days is enough for significant weight loss. If you do have to follow a prolonged version of the diet, it is not recommended that you receive HCG hormone for more than 40 days, as overuse can produce adverse side effects. Things to look out for include headaches, irritability, depression, severe fatigue, and swelling of the arms or legs.
As for the actual injection process, don’t think that it’s going to rack up a huge bill in doctor’s visits. While you do need to see a doctor to get a prescription for HCG hormone, you don’t actually need a doctor to administer the injections. Once you see your doctor for an initial exam and get approved for HCG hormone, you can begin administering the daily injections yourself at home. HCG is injected subcutaneously into the upper arm, abdomen, thigh or hip – whichever area you’re most comfortable with.
So what is the second part of the diet? The second part of the HCG diet is extreme calorie restriction. You need to keep your caloric intake under 800 calories per day to effectively lose weight. Yes, only 800 calories. Throughout life you’ve probably heard that the daily calorie requirement is 2,000 calories, but that doesn’t work for weight loss. Many diets call for a daily caloric intake of 1,200 to 1,500 calories, so the HCG diet takes it to an all-new low at 800 calories per day. This huge deficit in calories leads to an expedited weight loss of nearly a pound a day, depending on the age and beginning weight of the individual.
Now, if you’re thinking that the diet will work if you eat whatever you want as long as you stay under 800 calories…not quite. A McDonalds Big Mac and small fries may total out at under 800 calories, but if that’s what you eat for the day, you’re not going to get the results you desire. You need to make sure that your 800 daily calories come from healthy foods. If you’re wondering what 800 calories worth of healthy food looks like, here’s an idea:
When following a calorie-restricted diet of any kind, it is important that you make sure you are getting all of your necessary nutrients. This can be a daunting task for some, but it is important to remember. Nutritionists recommend that you incorporate lean proteins such as hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, fish, and small amounts of beef. It is imperative that you eat a large variety of vegetables to insure you get a wide-range of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables like asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli and carrots. Things like carbohydrates and sugars should be kept to a bare minimum.
Does It Really Work?
So here’s the big question: Does the HCG diet really work? If the testimonials from satisfied individuals are true, then it certainly does! A simple online search for “HCG weight loss results” will yield endless stories of people who have tried the HCG diet and lost tons of weight. These are people who had no time for crazy exercise routines. They had tried other diets in the past and those had failed. Many of these people were considering drastic options like gastric bypass surgery and decided to try the HCG diet as a last-ditch effort to lose weight…and it worked! The average weight loss reported by most people is one pound per day!
One such person tells their HCG weight loss story in the video below:
In Conclusion: Is the HCG Diet For You?
While the HCG diet may seem hard to follow, it does produce serious results. If you can keep up with the daily hormone injections and be disciplined enough to commit to the calorie restriction, you will see the weight loss you desire. It is important to note that you need to consult with your doctor before beginning a new diet to make sure that you are in good health.