The HCG diet plan is quite a unique and controversial program that was brought out to the public back in 2009. Prior to that, this diet was available to expensive spas and weight loss centres, and catered more to those who were wealthy enough to afford these weight loss programs.
“HCG” actually stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone, which is the hormone released when a woman becomes pregnant. This hormone can also be present within people who have a specific type of cancer, such as testicular. HCG has also been known to be used in conjunction with certain anabolic steroids, which can classify it as an illegal drug in the sporting realm.
At one point in the 60’s and 70’s, weight loss clinics would prescribe HCG to patients to fuel their weight loss efforts. Studies seem to be inconclusive as to whether HCG is actually effective in weight loss efforts.
Dieters on the HCG Diet plan are on an extremely low calorie diet. Dieters consume as little as 500 calories per day, which consists mainly of lean proteins. In addition to this extreme calorie restriction, dieters are injected with the HCG hormone on a daily basis. The premise behind this theory is that the body will actually start to metabolize fat reserves within the body as the HCG prevents any muscle within the body to be broken down for energy requirements. With such limits in calories and an aggressive approach to hormone injections, dieters can potentially lose up to 26 pounds in 26 days.
While on this particular diet plan, dieters are allowed to eat the following foods:
- Lean protein, such as poultry, fish and lean beef
Dieters are completely discouraged from consuming any type of carbohydrate in the form of flour, grains or legumes.
One of the most unique things about this diet is that not only is exercise not mentioned, it is not even encouraged. Perhaps the fact that dieters are on such an extremely low amount of calories per day puts them in a state of such low energy that it may even be dangerous to partake in any sort of fitness routine.
Dieters will have to pay for their HCG injections, which can cost approximately $140 per month. For those who pay others to administer the injections, the cost is even higher.
Anyone who participates in this diet program and sticks with the rules and guidelines will surely lose weight very rapidly, which can be a huge incentive for those looking to drop a few pounds.
This diet is far too low in calories. There is most likely some amount of nutritional and mineral deficiency considering how little calories are being consumed. There can be a few side effects from a drastically low number of calories consumed, such as headaches and dizziness. In addition, HCG may not actually be as helpful at weight loss. Perhaps it is all due to the calorie restriction.
The Bottom Line
This is a diet plan that should be proceeded with caution given the low calories allowed, and the questionable HCG injections. Be sure to consult with a doctor before attempting this or any other type of diet.