What to Understand about the HCG Diet

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a specific type of hormone that is produced by women during pregnancy. There is some speculation that HCG causes the body to burn fat when energy is needed to accommodate the needs of the fetus. The HCG diet is based on this theory. The diet involves regular injections or oral drops of HCG that are used in conjunction with a calorie-restricted diet. The diet lasts for anywhere between 21 and 45 days depending in the needs and state of the individual.

HCGIndividuals who want to lose weight often wonder what the HCG diet is. This interest is usually driven by claims that people have lost more than one pound of weight every 24 hours while on the program. The core HCG diet plan is very simple. An individual injects HCG into the blood or takes an oral supplement every day. This is accompanied by a diet that is restricted to 500 calories total each day. The injections and caloric restrictions continue for at least three weeks and sometimes longer than a month. Individuals are allowed to start slowly increasing caloric intake after this initial period. The HCG supposedly affects the hypothalamus in the brain and causes the body to burn only fat when energy is needed.

The actual foods are restricted. No simple or processed carbohydrates are permitted. No processed foods are permitted. High amounts of proteins are encouraged. The 500-calorie limit means that a person can only eat very small quantities of food at each meal during the day. HCG diet recipes are centered on proteins like beef, accompanied by lettuce or salad greens. Portions need to be measured carefully in order to meet the caloric restrictions.

It is important to understand several points about the HCG diet. It is not safe to inject HCG into the body without medical supervision. It is not safe to inject HCG that is of unknown or uncertain origin and content. The vast majority of over-the-counter HCG liquids that are taken orally contain nominal amounts of HCG or no HCG at all. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has actually started to take action against the companies that are selling HCG products. Another important thing to understand about the HCG diet program is that there is no evidence that the hormone encourages weight loss. The weight loss that does occur is because of the calorie-restricted diet that is followed. The final thing that needs to be understood is that a 500-calorie diet can be very dangerous and could result in loss of muscle mass, confusion, and even kidney damage.