Commonly thought of as a hormone of pregnancy, human chorionic gonadotropin is actually an important hormone for many adults as well. Today, the HCG diet plan is a popular option for adults who want to lose weight but who are having a hard time resetting their metabolisms. While scientists and doctors come down on both sides of this discussion with some seeing the efficacy of the HCG diet protocol and others ensure that using HCG for weight loss is safe or effective, it is helpful to look at the facts to make a wise decision for oneself.
What is HCG Hormone?
Human chorionic gonadotropin is one of the most common markers of pregnancy. It shows up in home pregnancy tests and creates a healthy uterine environment. (1) HCG hormone can also be used clinically to improve the chance for ovulation in women and to increase testosterone production in men.
Today, the uses of the HCG hormone go far beyond healthy pregnancies and improved fertility. The HCG diet is booming with thousands of adults claiming that the HCG diet plan helped them lose weight without feeling uncomfortably hungry. Those wondering, “What is HCG diet?” should know that it combines a very low-calorie plan with HCG shots or supplementation.
How Does the HCG Diet Work?
Those wondering what is HCG used for today should be aware that it is most commonly used to help adults lose weight. Albert T. W. Simeons proposed the HCG diet in the 1950s, and it has remained a beloved diet plan ever since. In fact, many of the most basic parts of the HCG diet protocol have remained the same. Adults are still required to restrict their diets to 500 calories daily with high amounts of protein and very low amounts of fats and carbohydrates. In addition, they are to use HCG injections or supplementation, such as HCG drops or pellets.
Numerous people continue to ask “Does HCG really work?” While there are many differences in opinion, men and women have experienced positive results with the HCG diet protocol. Benefits of HCG for men include the following:
-Improved fat loss
–Decreased muscle loss
-Improved sex drive
The benefits of HCG for women are similar in many respects to the benefits for men but may also include the following:
-Decreased food cravings
-Improved liver function
-Increased lean muscle mass
Three Phases of the HCG Diet
The HCG diet has to be followed strictly if individuals are to gain any benefits. When using HCG for weight loss, individuals will follow three phases of the diet plan and will eat only HCG diet-approved foods, which can include the following:
-Proteins, including white fish, shrimp, extra-lean beef, chicken, buffalo, crab, lobster and egg whites
-Vegetables, including dark green and leafy vegetables, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, onions, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes
-Fruit, including apples, berries and citrus fruits
The first phase of the HCG diet is the loading phase. During this time, individuals will eat whatever they want for a few days to improve their fat reserves. It is vital that this phase is included.
The second phase is the weight loss phase, which lasts up to six weeks. This is when it is important to follow the HCG phase 2 food list found above. Individuals will only eat lunch and supper during this time and will restrict calories to 500 each day.
The third phase is the maintenance phase. During this time, individuals will slowly add foods back into their diets, ending with carbohydrates and sugar. All three phases can be done several times for those who have much weight to lose. However, it is also important to add HCG supplementation to the HCG diet menu for complete results.
HCG Benefits and Side Effects
As with all supplements and medications, the HCG diet and HCG supplementation come with their own sets of side effects and benefits. Of particular note is the incidence of HCG side effects, which may include the following:
-Nausea and vomiting
In addition, it should be noted that very little research has been done into HCG supplementation, and researchers have not yet proven that the HCG diet does more good than harm. Therefore, it is vital to follow this plan only under the guidance of a licensed physician who can carefully monitor patients for side effects and who can ensure that they are receiving the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Of course, many individuals have noted a variety of HCG benefits. Of particular note is the improved fat loss that comes without the loss of muscle mass that is experienced with many other weight loss plans. In addition, many users find that the HCG diet helps them to feel more energized daily.
Forms of HCG
HCG injections are the most accepted form of HCG. These HCG shots are given into a large muscle. They can often be given at home if the individual has received clinical training in how to administer them.
Several other types of HCG are on the market today, including HCG drops and HCG pellets. However, HCG diet drops and other oral forms have not been proven to be effective by the FDA. In addition, they have not been studied effectively, and no safety standards have been set up by the FDA.
While the HCG diet menu may seem difficult to undertake, individuals often can find the level of dedication necessary to make it through the necessary three to six weeks of calorie restriction. However, they should also be aware that HCG pellets and other over-the-counter oral forms of HCG have never been proven effective. Therefore, they should be sure to use only the HCG injections and dietary plans approved by their physicians to maintain their physical health and to stay safe while losing weight.