Dieting is a challenge many people struggle with. There are so many different diets out there that it can be difficult to choose one that’s right for you. It’s important to find a diet that suits your lifestyle and that you agree with.
The HCG diet has been around for many years, but it’s only recently that it has gained in popularity.
‘HCG’ stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. Whereas lots of diets focus on what you eat and how much exercise you do, this diet has an additional element to it.
What is HCG?
Human chorionic gonadotropin is actually a natural hormone that women produce during pregnancy.
Dr A.T.W Simeons came up with the diet in the 1950’s. He published a book called ‘Pounds and Inches’ in 1954.
This diet was originally used for people who were seriously overweight. Over the years it has been adapted to meet different individual’s needs.
Instead of just getting people to lose weight quickly, modern versions of the diet are also aimed at getting people to be healthier. There are many different versions of this diet because people have interpreted in different ways.
The diet works in two key ways, it ‘combines the body’s natural process of removing and burning stored fat‘ and uses a very low calorie diet that increases weight loss. These two elements work together to help people to lose weight.
The HCG is taken via injections or supplements, you cannot get HCG without a prescription.
Some companies sell HCG drops, although these are just a homeopathic alternative and are a diluted version.
How does it work?
The HCG is supposed to help to release stored fat and suppress your appetite. People who support this diet claim that it enables you to eat less without feeling weak and that it also stimulates your metabolism.
This has not been proven scientifically, there is no evidence to suggest that weight loss can be attributed to the use of HCG.
However, supporters of the diet have suggested that it is the combination of taking HCG and eating less that leads to rapid weight loss.
The HCG diet was initially based on eating just 500 calories a day, which is not enough to sustain the average adult. Women are supposed to consume around 2000 calories and men should have around 2,500 to maintain a healthy weight.
However, the number of calories you should consume varies depending on your as age, gender, the amount of exercise you are doing and your general health.
There are three main phases to the diet that people are expected to stick to. Phase 1 is fat loading and it lasts just two days. Phase two is low calorie and it lasts three to 26 days. Phase three is maintenance, which lasts three weeks.
What you can eat
The HCG diet recommends that you not only eat fewer calories, but you stick to specific foods. Some diets restrict the type of foods you can eat so much that they can be very mundane. However, this diet allows you to choose from a selection of fruits, vegetables and meats.
Here is a list of the foods you are allowed to eat on the HCG diet:
Fruits you can eat include lemons, oranges, strawberries, apples and red grapefruit.
Vegetables you can eat include celery, lettuce, asparagus, cabbage, chard, beet greens, red radishes, cucumbers, onions, spinach and tomatoes.
Meats you can eat include chicken, lean beef, crab, shrimp, lobster, lean steak and white fish.
You might want to look up some recipe ideas to help you to cook a variety of meals using the ingredients that are allowed on the HCG diet. There are a few different websites that list HCG diet recipes and suggest a wide range of different meals you can make.
Research has demonstrated that it is not the HCG supplements that help people to lose weight, it’s the changes in their diet.
There is a huge problem with obesity in the UK and around the world at the moment. It’s dangerous to be clinically overweight, but it is also dangerous to try to lose weight too fast.
Any diet needs to be sustainable for it to work. You need to be able to maintain it long term.
With any extreme diet there will be health risks. Before making big changes to your lifestyle it’s important to consider the impact a diet like this could have on your health. Diets that suggests you should try and survive on a very low calorie intake could cause problems.
Do not try and starve yourself to get results, you will end up feeling weak, fainting and lacking in vital nutrients.
Consuming just 500 calories a day is dangerous, set yourself a reasonable target. HCG is also a prescription product and you should not use it without supervision from a medical professional.
Numerous side effects have been reported by people on the HCG diet. Side effects that have been noted include irritability, restlessness, fatigue, fluid build-up and even blood clots.
Do not skip meals while you are dieting and make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you have any concerns about whether this diet is right for you speak to your doctor or a dietitian. They will advise you on how to diet safely.
Don’t forget exercise
It’s also worth noting that you need to exercise as well as eat properly.
You will need to consider how much exercise you should be doing and combine this with a healthy diet.
Some websites supporting this diet say you don’t need to do any exercise to lose the weight. This is highly unlikely and you still need to exercise purely because it is good for you, not just to lose weight.