What is hCG?
hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. It is a hormone secreted during pregnancy in large amounts. hCG stimulates breakdown of stored fat in the pregnant mother to provide an energy source for the growing baby.
Used in diets, hCG again stimulates this breakdown of stored fat, particularly from those areas where nature tends to store energy in a fertile woman-the belly and the butt. In men, it stimulates fat breakdown in these same areas. hCG also is an appetite suppressant, allowing one to tolerate a very low calorie diet. There is also accumulating evidence that it resets the base weight set point in the hypothalamus avoiding the typical yo-yo weight gain after successful dieting and weight loss.
hCG was first used for diets in 1950’s. It was a dramatic success. In later years, it was thought that the success of the diet was due to hCG alone and was used in various diet plans without a low calorie diet.
These diets were unsuccessful, therefore hCG fell into disfavor. Because of this lack of success, hCG suffered considerable negative publicity and became quite controversial. To add to the controversy, because of the dramatic success of the hCG weight loss diet, naturopathic hCG pretenders were offered over the internet and by non-physicians. This is a plant derived hormone and not true hCG. It does not have the true medical benefits of hCG, but as long as people follow the very low calorie diet, they do lose weight. Thus, although weight loss is successful, it does not tend to be lost from butt and belly areas and the long term success of permanent weight loss is not realized. The FDA has recently declared these non-medical hCG products to be fraudulent and potentially harmful and has directed manufacturers to stop all production.
With the modern obesity epidemic, the hCG weight loss diet was rediscovered but, this time including the very low calorie diet of the 1950’s. The early success has been reproduced and hCG has once again shown to be and extremely effective diet plan. The diet plan involves induction of the hCG injections in conjunction with a 2 day gorge. The hCG injections are continued day 3 through either day 21 or 40, depending on weight loss goals. For three days after the last injection, the very low calorie diet is continued. During this period you are to refrain from all cardio exercise. From that point, maintenance begins. Maintenance is a 6 week period of 1500 calories/day and includes exercise. Weight loss with the hCG diet generally results in a daily loss of 0.5 pound/day for women and one pound/day for men. Thus, over 6 weeks, women can expect 20-30 pound weight loss and men, 30 pounds or more. The diet is designed to be a minimum of 21 days, and a maximum of 43 days of active dieting. If more weight loss is desired, another cycle can be done after this maintenance phase.
How hCG Works
Physician directed hCG weight loss plans use pharmaceutical grade hCG. This is a medical drug regulated by the FDA and the medical authorities of other countries. It is FDA approved for medical use in treatment of infertility and in certain testicular disorders. The weight loss dose is 1/50 of the infertility dose and is given either as a daily injection or can be given as drops under the tongue. No complications of the low dose hCG have been reported, though common side effects are mild and include increased bruising, mild fatigue, and constipation. Some patients report some hair loss, though this is known to occur with all diets involving significant weight loss.
It must be emphasized that the ultimate success of the hCG diet depends on the very low calorie diet. Very low calorie diet (VLCD) is a diet with very or extremely low daily food energy consumption. It is defined as a diet of 800 kilocalories per day or less. For the hCG weight loss diet, a 500 cal/day diet is consumed. It includes a limited menu list of fruits, vegetables and proteins. Two servings from each of the three groups is allowed per day for a maximum of 500 cal/day.
Fortunately, the daily hCG helps significantly in reduction of appetite and increase energy during the diet plan. One aspect of the hCG plan not generally realized is that the first two days of the diet actually involve a gorge of all the calories and all the foods the patient can tolerate eating. This is thought to wake up the fat cells to the hCG and help them to later liberate the fat inside.