- The goal of the HCG diet is to “reset” the metabolism to encourage long-term weight loss.
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone naturally found in women in high levels during pregnancy, combined with a low calorie diet is thought to increase fat loss and loss of inches.
- The HCG Diet should only be done with medical supervision. Regular check-ins with a healthcare provider are required throughout the diet.
What is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)?
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone produced in high amounts during pregnancy. It helps in metabolizing fat so that both mother and baby are supplied with adequate energy. When prescribed as part of a fertility regimen, it is given in high doses of 5,000 – 10,000 units in a single injection. For weight management as part of the HCG diet, it is given in smaller doses of 125-200 units per day. HCG works to mobilize fat for utilization by the body only in combination with a decrease in calories and fat. It helps reduce the risk of muscle loss that is common when losing large amounts of weight in a short period of time.
3 Phases of the HCG Diet
- Loading phase (Days 1-2): Also sometimes called a “gorging” phase, this phase involves eating more calories than usual. HCG injections are administered daily.
- Low-calorie phase (Days 3-40 or about 6.5 weeks): This is the main phase of the diet and consists of keeping a 500-800 calorie diet with certain restrictions. HCG injections are administered daily throughout this phase.
- Beginning of maintenance phase (Day 41-43): During these last two days, the low calorie diet is continued but the HCG injections are stopped. A three-week maintenance phase that involves a 1,500-calorie diet is then started.
This plan can be altered to be a 23-day program instead of a 40-day program. In this case there is still a loading phase of 2 days before and a maintenance phase of 2 days after.
The HCG diet aims to readjust the metabolism so that you can maintain a healthy weight. It was originally developed to quickly get obese individuals back into a healthier weight range. After the HCG diet is complete, a healthy diet and regular exercise are necessary to continue to lose or maintain weight.
HCG Diet Phase 1: Loading Phase
The loading phase involves eating more than the usual amount of high-fat foods. HCG injections should start to be taken on day one of this phase. There is no strict regimen to follow during these two days – it is only important to eat more calories than usual (up to about 4,000 per day). There are better ways to do this that can still be healthy including eating low-carb foods with butter, high-fat meat, and other high-fat foods like avocados and nuts.
HCG Diet Phase 2: The Low-Calorie Diet
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recognizes that a diet planned to create a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories a day should be an integral part of any program aimed at achieving weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. The HCG Diet helps you lose weight by significantly reducing your calories for several weeks. This helps reset your metabolism so that you are better able to manage your weight.
A typical diet plan for the day during Phase II of the HCG Diet would look like this:
Breakfast: Coffee, tea, water, and a fruit
Lunch: 100 grams of lean meat, vegetable, with coffee, tea, or water
Afternoon snack: Fruit, low carbohydrate (low starch) cracker
Dinner: 100 grams of lean meat (not the same protein as lunch), vegetable, with coffee, tea, or water
During Phase 2, the 500-800 calories does not mean any food is acceptable that meets the calorie requirement. There are specific foods that should be eaten for the diet to be successful. Each 100g of lean meat should be weighed raw and all visible fat removed. No breads, sugars, or fatty foods should be eaten for the entirety of this phase. It is recommended that you drink 2 liters of liquid a day during this phase.
HCG Injections in Phase 2
HCG injections should be administered daily throughout phase 2. The exception some women make is 2-3 days off around their period because HCG may interfere with menstruation. Instructions for injecting HCG are included with each kit. It is important to refrigerate HCG to maintain its potency. Once it is reconstituted (mixed with the bacteriostatic water) the solution will be stable for about 60 days if kept refrigerated. The solution may degrade over time after it is reconstituted so a larger dose may be needed after a few weeks using the same vial. A good indicator of whether you are getting the right dose is how hungry you are feeling. If you feel like you are starving at 125 units, you may need to increase your HCG dosage.
For this diet, HCG is administered subcutaneously with an insulin syringe. For a 10,000 unit vial of HCG mixed with 10mL solution, a 125 unit dose is equal to 12.5cc on the syringe. The average dose that works for most individuals is between 125 to 200 units injected daily.
Steps for injection:
- Swab the injection site with alcohol. Choose an area like the abdomen or thighs.
- Take on injection syringe out and remove the safety cap. Stick the needle into the bottle of HCG and then turn the bottle upside down. Slowly draw out your designated dose.
- Remove the needle from the bottle. Pinch the injection site slightly and stick the needle straight in – not at an angle.
- Slowly inject the full dose. Remove the syringe and put the safety cap back on. Dispose of the syringe in a designated sharps container.
HCG Diet Phase 3: Maintenance Phase
After Phase 2 it is necessary to stabilize weight loss by maintaining a healthy diet. For the first two days after stopping HCG injections the low-calorie diet should be continued. Your diet will then change to a 1,500-calorie diet made up of healthy foods with a focus on vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. Anything with starches or sugar should be avoided for at least three weeks and every meal should be low-carb. The HCG Diet can be repeated in the future if excessive weight gain occurs again. Multiple “rounds” of the diet may be required for some individuals. Working with a healthcare provider experienced in weight management is essential to determine if another round is needed.
HCG and “Off-Label” Prescribing
HCG is available online in dosages that are considered “homeopathic.” The pure HCG is only available with a prescription from a pharmacy. It is prescribed “off-label,” which means that the product is FDA-approved for other indications but not for weight management.
Many drugs in the U.S. are prescribed for indications that are off-label. Since the dose used for the HCG diet is much smaller than that used for the FDA-approved indications, most healthcare providers feel confident in its safety. While there are no clinical trials that have demonstrated the efficacy of HCG, numerous providers still prescribe it for weight management based on their clinical experience of its effectiveness.
Get Your HCG Diet Kit
Our pharmacy will send you a complete HCG diet kit that includes the HCG, syringes for injecting, a syringe for mixing, alcohol swabs, a sharps container, and literature to help you succeed. We will send you everything you need to be successful on the diet and start losing weight. Speak with your healthcare provider about whether they think prescribing HCG may help you lose weight.