Want to Lose Weight? Learn About the HCG Diet

Many of us have a few pounds to lose, and weight loss can make a big difference in our overall health. But it can be a challenge to find the right weight loss method. 

The HCG diet is a controversial weight loss plan that promises to help you lose weight. But is it right for you? The doctors at CrossRoads Family Medicine can help you decide. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is HCG?

HCG is an abbreviation for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, a fertility drug. The female body produces it during early pregnancy. Proponents of the diet say that HCG helps to boost metabolism and reduce hunger.

What is the HCG diet?

The HCG diet combines using HCG supplementation with very low calorie foods. Your doctor administers the HCG injections.

When the diet first became popular, homeopathic preparations were used in addition to the diet. Since then, the FDA has advised manufacturers that homeopathic (over-the-counter) HCG is illegal. However, doctors may prescribe injections of HCG hormones to their patients who want to lose weight. 

The diet limits you to two meals a day, lunch and dinner. The calorie count for both meals together is generally no more than 500. In addition to limiting calories, the diet assigns certain foods to the approved and unapproved lists.

Which foods are allowed on the HCG diet?

 Even though the HCG diet limits you to 500 calories a day, those calories need to come from certain foods. Each meal must have one lean protein, a vegetable, a fruit, and bread. The allowable foods on the HCG diet include the following:

 

The foods that are not allowed on the HCG diet include sugar, high-fat meats and fish such as salmon, and any butter or oils.

Does the HCG diet work? 

The HCG diet does help people lose weight, but the extreme calorie restriction is likely to be the most beneficial aspect. Studies in animals have shown that extreme calorie restriction may improve health and longevity.

The diet has three phases. The first is the loading phase, when you start taking the HCG but eat high-calorie and high-fat foods for two days.

The second phase is the weight loss phase, when you take the HCG and follow the restricted-calorie diet as described above. This phase may last from three to six weeks, as prescribed by your doctor.

The third phase is the maintenance phase, when you stop taking HCG and gradually increase your calorie intake while still avoiding sugar and starchy foods.

Some people find that they have to repeat the diet cycle several times until they achieve maximum results.

Side effects of the diet include nausea, depression, fatigue, and dizziness, presumably because of the low calorie intake. Make sure that you drink enough water to stay hydrated. You may also need to take vitamin supplements because the diet is so limited. Your doctor will discuss exactly what’s needed with you.

Although the HCG diet is effective, it’s important to know that it’s not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. If you’re using this method to lose weight, make sure to keep in regular contact with your doctor.

Want to know more about the HCG diet and whether it may work for you? Call the doctors at CrossRoads Family Medicine today to make an appointment.

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