The initials HCG stand for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a natural hormone, found during pregnancy of women and the great apes. It helps in carrying the pregnancy to term. This means it is not found in males. The hormone helps in regulation of menstruation and facilitates conception. It is also found in rare cases when the residue of placental tissue continues to grow in what is known as chorionic epithelioma. During pregnancy, a woman produces large amounts of HCG, as much as one million International Units per day in her urine.
Administration and Mode of action
HCG is administered by under the tongue drops as well as subcutaneous injections. Subcutaneous injections tend to produce greater results in weight loss than the sub-lingual administration. It is packaged in pre-sealed syringes thus avoiding the mixing and drawing of correct amounts. Most people find the subcutaneous abdominal injections simple and learn how to use them prior to beginning the diet.
The full mechanism through which HCG works is not well known. However, it is believed that it makes the body metabolism sensitive to oils and fats hence decreasing weight loss during the diet. This means the HCG diet resets the hypothalamus to improve metabolism, allowing the body to release abnormal fat stores and use them for fuel.
Weight loss and HCG treatment
HCG has been known for over half a century, and has been used in treating obesity in both men and women. Studies have found that injection of 125 units per day can reduce weight at approximately 1-2 pounds per day. HCG diet is combined with a low calorie diet, usually 500 Calories, and exercise for maximum results. HCG diet allows one to lose weight in areas most difficult such as the abdomen, hips, and upper thighs.
Experience shows that patients seeking HCG treatment and who had been taking thyroid preparations over a long period tend to have a slightly lower average weight loss once introduced to HCG as compared to those who never took thyroid preparations. During the treatment period, weight may plateau, but one will be losing on inches during this time.
Duration of treatment
Patients, who require losing 15 pounds or less, are treated with 23 daily injections for 26 days. After the last injection (on day 23), the patients continue with a 500-calorie diet for three days to avoid putting on alarming weight if they resume to normal eating. Once the abnormal fat is lost, patients tend to feel hungry (usually on days 4-10), however once the normal weight is reached, they are put on 800-1000 Calories for the rest of the treatment. It will take longer to lose more than 15 pounds with 40 daily injections.
During menstruation, no injections are given, however the diet is continued. Patients needing to lose more than 34 pounds have two or more courses administered with an interval of not less than six weeks.
Safety of HCG and Side effects
It is advised to undertake the HCG diet under the supervision of a physician. Common symptoms experienced during the diet are:
- Fluid retention
- Breast tenderness
Just like any other form of diet, HCG does not lead to permanent weight loss, but just helps in giving one a start to beginning a healthier lifestyle.
Tea or coffee in any quantity without sugar. Only one tablespoonful of milk allowed in 24 hours. Saccharin or Stevia may be used.
1. 100 grams of veal, beef, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp. All visible fat must be carefully removed before cooking, and the meat must be weighed raw. It must be boiled or grilled without additional fat. Salmon, eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickled fish are not allowed. The chicken breast must be removed from the bird.
2. One type of vegetable only to be chosen from the following: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage.
3. One breadstick (grissino) or one Melba toast.
4. An apple, orange, or a handful of strawberries or one-half grapefruit.
The same four choices as lunch (above.)
HCG Phase 3 – Stabilization
- you must weigh yourself every day
- you must remain within 2 pounds of your last injection weight (over *OR* under) and,
- you cannot eat sugars and starches (which is carbohydrates minus the fiber)
Low Carb Vegetables
This list is roughly arranged from lowest to highest carbohydrate counts, but all are non-starchy and generally low in carbohydrates. Exact carb count depends on serving size. Remember when counting carbs in vegetables that the fiber is not counted, and can be subtracted from the total.
- Sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.)
- Greens – lettuces, spinach, chard, etc.
- Hearty Greens – collards, mustard greens, kale, etc.
- Radicchio and endive count as greens
- Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.
- Bok Choy
- Sea Vegetables
- Cabbage (or sauerkraut)
- Cucumbers (or pickles without added sugars)
- Green Beans and Wax Beans
- Green Bell Peppers
- Red Bell Peppers
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Summer Squash (including Zuchinni)
- Scallions or green onions
- Bamboo Shoots
- Brussels Sprouts
- Snow Peas (pods)
- Artichoke Hearts
- Spaghetti Squash
- Celery Root (Celeriac)
- Turnip (see Carb Counts of Root Vegetables)
- Water Chestnuts
Starchy (High Carb) Vegetables
- Carrots on some diets, but they aren’t as high as others in this group
- Potatoes in all forms
- Winter Squashes (particularly acorn and butternut)
Eat Low Sugar Fruit
- Dried Fruit
Avoiding sugar means this: avoid cookies, cake, pie, candy, cupcakes, frosting, soft drinks, corn syrup, kool-aid, processed food, energy drinks, fruit juice, honey, yogurt, donuts, cookies, pudding, maple syrup, brownies, canned fruit in heavy syrup, ice cream, cool whip, boxed breakfast cereals, breakfast bars, granola – nothing with sugar. READ LABELS!!!! And remember, you’re avoiding starches too. Nearly all processed foods in todays’ stores contain high fructose corn syrup or some other kind of sugar. Here are some of the names you’ll know are sugar to avoid in foods:
- Brown sugar
- Corn syrup
- Demerara Sugar
- Free Flowing Brown Sugars
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Invert Sugar
- Maple syrup
- Muscovado or Barbados Sugar
- Powdered or confectioner’s sugar
- Rice Syrup
- Sugar (granulated)
- Turbinado sugar