HCG has come to the limelight in recent years as a weight loss aid and battler of obesity. It’s well equipped with testimonials, programs, and support groups, but what precisely is it?
First of all, hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin (or gonadotrophin if you prefer) and is a hormone pregnant women produce to maintain the corpeus luteum (this has to do with controlling production of other hormones such as progesterone–ask your local endocrinologist about this one).
The use of hCG for weight loss was discovered by the British endocrinologist, Albert T. W. Simeons. As he was studying pregnant women with food shortages in India, he observed that they lost fat rather than muscle tissue when given low doses of hCG.
Furthermore, he observed that hCG produced the same effect when a low dose of it was used to treat patients with Frölich’s syndrome (a problem of the pituitary gland—individuals with this condition are commonly referred to as “fat boys”).
Dr. Simeons determined that in pregnancy, hCG helps protect a developing fetus by telling the brain to burn the mother’s extra fat rather than attacking lean tissue. He explains this concept in much more detail in his book Pounds and Inches.
Interestingly, although HCG is mostly referred to as a weight loss tool, the use of hCG is not actually what causes you to lose weight. It’s actually the low-calorie, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is paired with your hCG injections or drops that causes the weight loss. HCG merely helps mitigate feelings of hunger and keeps your body from consuming your muscles in response to a lower-calorie diet.
The biggest benefit of the hCG diet is that it allows you to eat dramatically lower amounts of calories over a period of about 23 to 40 days (resulting in dramatic weight loss) without damaging your precious, hard-earned muscles.
The diet is actually quite simple to understand—it’s just a little harder to follow. But if you can keep on it, you can get results. As before mentioned, it’s a high-protein, low-carb, low-calorie diet so your food choices must fit within all those parameters.
For example, breakfast on the diet includes tea or coffee without any sugar. Unsweetened tea and coffee actually contain negligible amounts of calories so you can consume as much as you like—as long as you keep to one tablespoon of milk or less in a 24-hour period. You may use a no-calorie sweetener like saccharin or liquid Stevia.
The good thing about this diet is you can substitute items from the lunch and dinner allowances if you don’t do tea or coffee in the morning, or you’re at your hungriest early in the day. The key is to stick to the serving sizes and amount of food specified in the diet. You can spread them out throughout the day as needed, but you need to only consume the quantity of food listed in the diet.
There have been shortages in the US of the injected form of hCG—which has resulted in several over-the-internet providers popping up. It’s good to note here that no matter what the vendor may tell you, hCG is expensive. Don’t go for a steal of a deal on this one—if it is the real thing, it’s probably too low of a dose to do you any good.