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What is the hCG Diet Plan?

Written on:May 18, 2012
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The hCG diet plan was developed by a British endocrinologist named Albert T. W. Simeons while he was working with calorie-deficient pregnant women in India. He found that low doses of the hormone hCG given to these women helped to maintain their muscle mass while their bodies used their fat stores to make up for calorie deficits.

HCG is taken either through drops or injections—whichever form sounds most palatable to you. This hormone actually doesn’t cause the weight loss per se; it needs to be paired with a special low-calorie diet to result in weight loss. The diet causes the weight loss and hCG helps maintain the body’s muscle (which is actually very important when you’re losing large amounts of weight) and keep you from feeling as hungry.

The diet is low in calories and carbohydrates, but high in protein. So, since you have a limited amount of calories to work with each day during the diet phase of the hCG diet plan, the foods you consume must be low in calories and carbs and high in protein.

Although your food quantities are limited during the diet phase of the plan, you are able to (and strongly encouraged to) drink at least eight cups of water each day. You are also advised to stay away from lotions, oils, and makeup that contain oils. These products often contain fatty substances that the hCG may target instead of your body fat.

Most people go on the diet phase of the plan for about three to six weeks (23 to 40 days). You may diet for shorter periods of time but it’s not a good idea to go for longer than 40 days. After you hit your target weight, you stop taking the hCG and continue the diet for three more days to get it all out of your system. Then, you go into a maintenance phase (no starches or refined sugars) for three weeks.

The hCG diet plan lists your food servings and allotments in three meals a day, but you can change that to five small meals (e.g. eating a part of what you would eat for lunch earlier) if you prefer. You simply need to consume only the amount of food specified throughout the day.

The diet listed below is obviously a quick run-down of the diet. You will want to get more information before you jump into the program as there are a few tips and tricks that aren’t within the scope of this article to go into.

The breakfast meal seems pretty sparse so I would definitely substitute something from lunch to get me going in the morning. Here are the breakfast guidelines: you may have coffee or tea in any quantity as long as you don’t add more than a tablespoon of milk in a 24-hour period or any sugar. Liquid Stevia or saccharin can be used to sweeten as needed.

Don’t let breakfast scare you off. Lunch sounds much better. It’s actually a bigger lunch than I usually get without being on a diet, but I digress. Here’s what you get: 3.5 ounces (weigh it before it’s cooked) of chicken breast, veal, beef, white fish (fresh—no fish sticks), lobster, crab, or shrimp.

One of the following vegetables: green salad, tomatoes (not a vegetable, but whatever), spinach, chard, chicory, beet greens, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, or cabbage. You also get one Italian breadstick called grissini or one piece of Melba toast (often found near the croutons).

Lastly, you need some fruit to finish off your lunch. You may have an orange, apple, a handful of strawberries, or half of a grapefruit.

Your dinner choices are exactly the same as the lunch choices, but given the amount of meats, vegetables, and fruits you are given to choose from you can actually vary (and should vary) your meals quite a bit.

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