What is the HCG Diet
Considered one of the most controversial diets, the HCG diet has it's supporters and skeptics. Almost every news outlet available has done some kind of story or piece on this diet in the past few years. In order to understand the HCG Diet we need to first know what it is. HCG or (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is a hormone produced during pregnancy. This hormone has been prescribed to help treat fertility problems. HCG has not been approved by the FDA in treating weight loss and obesity issues. However supporters swear by the HCG Diet and demand that it works. Professionals and many physicians say it's the low calorie intake of the HCG diet that is responsible for the weight loss, not the HCG itself.
There are many forms of the HCG Diet. Some require injections that are prescribed and some are over the counter supplements. Many sources have implied that the supplements bought over the counter are not even HCG at all. However, users say the supplements help reduce hunger and keep them on a regular dieting schedule. Plus they say, the injections cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars and the supplements can be purchased for as little as $25.
The HCG diet first came about in the 1950s by a doctor named Dr. Simeons. Dr. Simeons published the now popular "Pounds & Inches" which explained his HCG Diet and is still being used today by many HCG Dieters. Many professionals say one of the problems with the HCG Diet, is that the recommended calorie intake is only 500 per day. The minimum healthy calorie intake recommendation by many is said to be 1200, depending on the person.
Many supporters of the diet have a different opinion. They state that the low calorie intake may be why you lose weight, but without the HCG, the dieter would never be able to hold their hunger at 500 calories per day. They add that the HCG, whether as injections or supplements suppress hunger and makes it possible to stay on such a low calorie diet. Many have also achieved the 30lbs. in 30 days, which is what the HCG Diet promises if done properly. Even with all this controversy and difference in opinion, there really isn't any hard evidence or studies that have been done proving one side or the other correct. It seems much more research needs to be done on this diet to prove or disapprove it effectiveness.
What Can You Eat While On The HCG Diet?
You are allowed to eat lean meat, but the quantities are very specific. About 100g per meal lunch and dinner. Meats like chicken breast and lean beef are excepted choices. Some seafood including white fish, crab and shrimp are also protein rich available food choices. The diet also explains the importance of cutting any visible fat from your meats, while having an accurate food scale is a must.
Limited to lunch and dinner, some vegetables are allowed including, but not limited to; tomatoes, onion, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, lettuce and celery. Fresh fruits are also only available during lunch and dinner and include; apples, oranges and strawberries. Some others are also ok, but it's recommended you stay clear of any high in sugar fruits that may contain higher calories.
How Does The HCG Diet Work
Like many of the diets available, the HCG Diet includes different phases to adhere to. Most of the online sites explain the HCG Diet is made up of 4 Phases.
Phase 1 Loading Days - This part of the diet is where you will eat everything you love without restrictions. You will start taking your HCG during this phase and it lasts for 2 days.
Phase 2 - Phase number 2 is when you will go on the 500 calories per day. Eating only lean protein like, chicken, shrimp, lobster, crab and fish. Many fruits and vegetables are also on the menu for phase 2. It seems having an accurate food scale will also come in handy when using the HCG Diet. When eating protein you will need to weigh out 100 grams per meal.
Phase 3 Maintenance Phase - Is where you will start to increase your calorie intake. You will need to keep eating protein rich foods while still maintaining your lowered weight. If your weight gains in access of 2 pounds or more in a day, you must use what is called a protein day. A protein day consists of 2 eggs for breakfast a steak for lunch and a large helping of cheese followed up by another large steak for dinner. The idea is that your body won't store this protein as fat. Many dieters explain the maintenance phase to be the most difficult.
Phase 4 - The last phase of the diet involves adding sugars and starches back into your daily menu. However, you still need to eat conservatively and make your diet more of a lifestyle change than a quick fix. Some dieters have said, using the HCG Diet has taught them a healthier ways to cook. For instance, grilling and steaming instead of frying. Even choosing sugar free candies and healthier snacks.
The diet also mentions something called "Apple Days". It's explained that during Phase 2 dieters can hit what is called a plateau. Where the weight loss stalls or weight comes back on. On apple days you are instructed to eat 6 large apples only for an entire day. You can eat them anytime you want, but not more then 6 and only drink water.
The HCG diet can cause side effects, including headache, fatigue and irritability, says some dieters, but many who have used it say they did lose weight. How to rate this diet is difficult. As you read from health professionals most state the HCG Diet is unhealthy and unsafe. While most of them have not actually done the diet themselves. On the other hand, asking users of the diet, say it works and they would recommend it to any healthy person looking for quick weight loss. Good advice would be to consult your physician before doing any diet since everyone's body is different. Following a doctors advice is always best practice. No matter what, choosing a healthy lifestyle and learning to eat the right foods is always a good idea.
More Information & Links
Recipes: HCG Diet Recipes - www.hcgplan.net
The HCG Diet Reviews - By Other Sources