What is HCG diet all about?

Have you been hearing rumours about the HCG diet, and it's piqued your interest? With the new year around the corner, most of us are looking for ways to lose weight and get healthier, and if you've had limited success with other plans before you could be looking for something fresh. If you're wondering what it's all about, this blog post might help. Read on to find out more. 

HCG diet background information
The HCG diet was invented by an English endocrinologist (a doctor that deals with hormones of the body) called Dr. Albert Simeons sometime around 1954. That is where its other name, 'Simeons Therapy' comes from. In the diet, people are required to eat very low-calorie meals (about 500 calories) daily while at the same time using the hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin). The HCG hormone is responsible for the production of the body’s sex hormones like testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. HCG is normally given as an injection, but this can get inconvenient and so, there are other formulations in which HCG is given as like tablets and sublingual drops. This makes it easier to use HCG. According to Dr. Simeons, the use of HCG makes it easier for patients to adhere to this low-calorie meal. HCG is said to reduce your hunger, weakness and help you lose weight better without losing muscle mass like many other diets. 

Steps for the HCG diet
The first step includes the loading phase. In this phase, you start the use of HCG while still on your normal high-calorie diet for about 2 or 3 days. High-calorie diets usually have high levels of fats and carbs. This is basically the mainstream diet that most people eat. Then, you go to the next step which includes the actual HCG diet. In this step, you keep taking the HCG hormone and in addition to that, you have to reduce your total calories to about 500 calories a day. This has very low amounts of fats and carbs in the diet. It's advised that you take in more greens to increase the amounts of vitamins and minerals which may be lost in a low-calorie diet. This phase usually lasts for about 3 to 6 weeks. Then, there is what we call the maintenance phase where you stop taking HCG and you gradually increase your food intake (although you have to avoid carbs – especially simple sugars) for about 3 weeks. Some people say you can lose about 7 to 14kg (15.4 to 30.9Ibs) with the HCG diet. 

Real results
If the diet actually works, there must surely be success stories- you can find testimonials and success stories of HCG diet online. We looked at Facebook for some testimonials by real people (we wanted to avoid those dodgy, fake testimonials). So, we used some criteria, one is that the testimonials we are going to share will not be from people who seem to market only HCG products. Another is that the testimonials can either be from professionals, or just normal people experimenting with the HCG diet. One testimonial that stands out is that of Dr. Rastogi – cosmetic surgeon. As the profile says, he seems to be a cosmetic surgeon. Most of his work seems to be on cosmetic stuff like breast augmentation and liposuction and not just trying to market HCG supplements which makes him more credible. He posted a story of one of his patients who he decided to use the HCG diet as an alternative to surgery for weight loss. He seems quite happy with the result and the patient seems quite happy too. Another story is from the profile of Vitalize medical center. These people seem to deal more in skin cosmetics like Botox and other skin procedures. They shared a story of a patient named Heather who lost about 30Ibs on HCG diet congratulating her on her success. We didn’t find much that satisfied us on twitter, so we moved to Reddit. A user u/PicardJL posted on Reddit with the title “I did the HCG diet, and this is my experience” under the r/fitness Reddit handle. He wanted to lose some weight and went to his doctor where he was recommended the HCG diet. From his experience, it worked on him, though he still couldn’t tell whether it was a placebo effect or not. However, he said he lost weight with the diet so it didn’t really matter to him whether it was a placebo effect or not. His doctor did not reduce his calorie intake to 500 calories as usual, but just 1000 calories. Even with that, he lost about 20Ibs the first month and another 20Ibs the second month. As at the time he posted it (7 years ago), it was a year after he did the diet, he said he has only gained 5Ibs after doing it. That’s quite impressive we must say. 

Other testimonials
There are many other testimonials and reviews of the HCG diet on the internet on different social media platforms. We would say that from the testimonials we see – placebo or not – it seems HCG diet actually works. However, you would have to be careful these extreme weight loss and calorie restriction is considered starvation by most medical practitioners and they do not really think it is safe.

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