There has been much buzz about the HCG diet, as it has been gaining popularity. HGC stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, which is a hormone which is best known for supporting pregnancy in the early stages of life. In the beginning of a pregnancy, the placenta cells use HCG to increase progesterone levels until there is enough for the placenta to sustain the pregnancy on its own. So what does this have to do with the HCG Diet?
How It Works
HCG's function is to instruct a region of the brain, called the hypothalamus, to mobilize fat stores to assist the placenta with the energy needs of the growing fetus. For dieters, a similar formulation, in a much lower dose is used.
HCG comes in oral drops as well as injections. Along with the HCG, the dieter must use a calorically restricted diet of about 500 calories per day. The HCG diet forces the body to use its existing fat stores, preventing it from storing additional adipose (fat tissue).
How Much You Will Lose
With the HCG diet, you can lose from a half a pound to three pounds a day. After you reach your weight loss goal, you must of course, have a healthy, balanced lifestyle in order to maintain the weight loss.
There are specific types of foods allowed on the HCG diet. Lean beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruit and breadsticks or melba toast are on the list of acceptable foods. Each must be eaten in certain proportions and the total daily caloric intake should not exceed 500 calories. Another important note about which foods to eat - there are only certain of the above mentioned foods that can be consumed on the HCG diet. For example, salmon is not allowed, since it contains a fair amount of fat. Likewise, only specific fruits and vegetables are included.
In general, sugary treats are not allowed, but sugar-free gelatin is considered a "free food", so you can consume it as much as you like.
Water is encouraged, and keeping well-hydrated will assist with the weight loss. The only beverages allowed are coffee, teas and water, in any amount, at any time.
HCG Dangers and Side Effects
As with any diet, it's best to check with your physician before you launch a new diet plan. The most commonly mentioned side effect is headaches, during the first few days of the diet while you body adjusts.
The HCG diet is a very low calorie diet, so it is definitely not for everyone. With that said, it can be effective if followed as intended.