HCG Diet: Safe and Effective or Weight Loss Fad?
Most diets come and go, like fads, quickly debunked by new research and better alternatives. Not the HCG diet. The HCG Diet has helped thousands, maybe millions achieve rapid and substantial weight loss in it’s 60 year existence. That’s right, 60 years. A diet with that kind of longevity must work, right?
The History of the HCG Diet
The HCG diet was developed and first published in 1954 by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons. Dr. Simeons wasn’t a weight loss specialist, but in providing humanitarian services in third world countries, he noticed something peculiar that caught his attention. He observed extremely malnourished women give birth to healthy, full weight babies. It shocked him.
How was this possible?
In researching this phenomenon, he discovered a hormone called HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) to be responsible. This hormone is produced by the placenta during pregnancy and has it’s effect on a gland in the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus actually governs our thyroid gland which regulates metabolism. During pregnancy, the HCG hormone is responsible for providing a 24/7 calorie source for the growing baby. So what does this have to do with weight loss? Great question!
How Is HCG Relevant to Weight Loss?
Let’s back track a bit to our caveman ancestors, when food wasn’t as abundant as it is today. The human species is designed to store away calories in the form of fat. It’s a primitive defense mechanism that provides us with an energy reserve in case there is a famine or a long winter, conditions that rarely effect us today. This is why losing weight is so difficult – not only are we struggling with our poor eating habits, but a genetic predisposition to retain calories in the form of fat. And to make matters worse, all of this excess fat is stored in all of the places we don’t want it.
This is where it gets interesting – When a woman gets pregnant, this physiology gets flipped upside down. Why? Because the growing baby needs a continuous supply of calories just as much as it needs a continuous supply of oxygen. To provide this, HCG is produced by the mother’s placenta. The HCG tells the brain (the hypothalamus gland) to metabolize the excess fat rather than keep it stored away in mom’s fat cells. This is what gives the baby a 24/7 calorie source.
In the absence of a pregnancy, and in combination with a low-calorie diet, HCG can be used as a supplement to facilitate rapid weight loss. It tells the brain to tap into our stored fat, making these calories available for us to use as an energy source. The HCG hormone is what allows you to sustain yourself during the low calorie phase of the HCG diet. Most lose 20-30 pounds in just 30-40 days, with little hunger. All in thanks to HCG. Well, HCG and the proper diet protocol.
The 3 Phases of the HCG Diet
Unfortunately there is not magic potion for weight loss, despite what you might hear advertised on TV and radio. All healthy and sustainable weight loss requires a reduction in calories and the HCG diet is just that… healthy and sustainable. But don’t be concerned. If done properly, you’ll experience very little hunger. Well, that’s if you’re using the right protocol.
The original HCG diet is 500 calories, but there is a smarter alternative that provides the same rapid weight loss. In fact, HCG 2.0 is more about calorie replacement rather than calorie reduction. It´s smart weight loss. But we´ll get to that. Keep reading…
- The Loading Phase (P1) – During the loading phase of the HCG protocol, (rollover text saying “see how Trisha lost 17lbs in 9 days by loading properly) often called P1, the dieter is required to over-eat on fatty foods. This seems counter-productive, but it’s an essential part of the HCG protocol. It fools your body into bypassing starvation mode which leads to exaggerated weight loss in the early stages of the diet. It´s not at all uncommon to lose 10 pounds in the first 10 days. Sometimes the first week. The loading phase lasts 2 days.
- The Low-Calorie Phase (P2) – During the low calorie phase of the HCG diet, which can last anywhere form 23-40 days, the dieter is on strict limitation of calories consisting of protein options and vegetable options. Don’t let this alarm you. The HCG supplement works to mediate your hunger by facilitating an entirely healthy metabolic process called Ketosis. During Ketosis, your body is literally melting fat and these fat calories can be used as energy source so that you don’t need to eat as much. Women lose a half pound to a pound per day, while men can lose up to 2 pounds per day.
- The Maintenance Phase (P3) – This is the phase of the HCG diet that allows you to maintain your weight loss. It lasts about 3 weeks, but ideally, many of the principles applied during the maintenance phase should be applied as real lifestyle change if one is to maintain their ideal weight. It’s primarily a low carb diet similar to the South Beach Diet or the Paleo Diet.
Is the HCG Diet Dangerous?
No, not at all. Think of it this way – each and every one of us were exposed to huge concentrations of HCG while we were in the womb. And we all turned out pretty good, right? The HCG drops that are used as a supplement to the HCG diet contain only a tiny fraction of that which is produced during pregnancy, yet enough to provide rapid weight loss. This means that HCG is safe for both men and women.
If you’re considering a weight loss option, you want something that is proven to work. With 60 years of proven success, the HCG diet is a lock. But is there a better way? Medicine is called a practice for a reason. As new technology and research becomes available, treatment protocols evolve, always for the better. Shouldn’t the same be true of a diet plan? Introducing HCG 2.0 – A weight loss plan for the 21st century.