The HCG Diet: How it Works

About HCG

Dating back to the 1950s, the HCG diet has been one of the greatest weight-loss programs for many men and women struggling with their weight. When followed correctly, patients can expect to see a half a pound to a pound of weight loss per day.  

Unlike most weight loss programs, the HCG diet can help to maintain lean muscle mass, despite the significantly reduced calorie intake. Where as, with most diets that significantly restrict calories, the body also burns and loses lean muscle. When the body loses muscle, metabolism slows down and people are much more likely to regain the weight they lost, and often gain more than they lost to begin with.

HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone naturally produced by the body, it triggers the body into releasing/burning more stored fat for energy. This extra burning of stored fat helps to reduce cravings, and helps to make up for the diets calorie restrictions.

HCG is a pro-hormone, which helps promote the body to make more hormones. For both men and women, hormone imbalance or deficiency is often a cause for weight gain, whether it’s your thyroid, or menopause, or andropause, HCG can help. For those struggling with weight loss, despite diet and exercise, it's recommended that you have all of your hormone levels checked, this can be done with a simple blood test. 

Only HCG injections have been shown to increase the bodies levels of HCG. HCG in the form of drops, spray or pills often are ineffective and weight loss is solely due to calorie restrictions. 

Program Overview

  1. Phase 1 – Loading - The loading phase is the first two days of your HCG program. You will start your HCG in the morning on the first day of the loading phase, and simply eat as normal or virtually whatever you’d like. The loading phase is only 2 days.
  2. Phase 2 – Diet – In phase 2, you’ll use daily HCG and follow a very low daily calorie count. The number of days on HCG is usually between 30 and 40 days.
  3. Phase 3 – Maintenance - This is phasing off of the HCG diet. If you don’t follow this properly, you are more likely gain back the weight you lost. The maintenance duration is 3 weeks. 

Phase 1 - Loading
The loading phase is the first two days of your HCG program. You will start your HCG in the morning on the first day of the loading phase, and simply eat as normal or virtually whatever you’d like. The loading phase is 2 days only, and then you’ll move onto Phase 2.

Phase 2 - HCG Diet
During Phase 2 you’ll be restricted to only 500 calories per day. Thankfully, the daily HCG will help control your appetite and hunger by allowing the body to use already stored fat as calories throughout the day. This phase is very basic, and limited to the types of foods that you can eat, so there’s not a lot of thought that needs to go into your meal planning.
You will still have breakfast, lunch and dinner, consisting of specific drinks and foods which you’ll see indicated below. You’ll have to eat very little fat, moderate carbohydrates, moderate protein, drink plenty of water, and continue HCG.

According to Dr. Simeons, the specialist who researched/developed the HCG weight loss program, breakfast should be just liquids:
•    Tea
•    Coffee
•    Herbal Tea
•    Non-Carbonated, Zero Calorie Drinks
•    Water with splash of lemon juice

If adding any sweeteners, stick solely to Stevia, which is a natural sweetener alternative.
If you’re hungry at breakfast time, you may start eating an item or two from your lunch menu. You can also pull some calories from your dinner menu for a snack between lunch and dinner. Eating something every 2-3 hours does help keep your metabolism steady, which can help control cravings and hunger.

Lunch & Dinner
Lunch and dinner consist of items from the same lists of foods: one protein, one vegetable, one fruit, and one starch. For each meal you select one type of food from each category.
Remember you’re restricted to a total of 500 calories for the day so be sure to find the right combination that works best for you.

Protein Choices:
Each serving size is 3 ounces or 85 grams.
•    Chicken breast (half) = 140 calories
•    Lean beef 93% lean/7% fat = 130 calories
•    Lobster = 87 calories
•    Crab = 82 calories
•    Fresh white fish = 146 calories
•    Shrimp = 100 calories
•    Veal = 150 calories

Vegetable Choices:
Each serving size is 3 ounces unless otherwise specified:
•    Spinach = 19 calories
•    Kale = 42 calories
•    Broccoli 1/2 cup, chopped (78 g) = 27 calories
•    Tomatoes 1 small whole (2-2/5" dia) (91 g) = 16 calories
•    Celery 1 stalk, medium (7-1/2" - 8" long) (40 g) = 6 calories
•    Red Radishes 1 large (1" to 1-1/4" dia) (9 g) = 1 calorie
•    Asparagus = 19 calories
•    Onions 1 slice, medium (1/8" thick) (14 g) = 6 calories
•    Cucumbers = 13 calories
•    Cabbage = 19 calories

Fruit Choices:
Select one for each meal.
•    Strawberries 1 cup, whole (144 g) = 46 calories
•    Orange 1 fruit (2-5/8" dia) (131 g) = 62 calories
•    Apple 1 medium (3" diameter) (182 g) = 95 calories
•    Grapefruit ½ fruit (3-3/4" dia) (123 g) = 52 calories
•    Blueberries ½ cup (72 g) = 41 calories

Starch Choices:
•    Melba Toast 1 piece (3-3/4" x 1-3/4" x 1/8") (5 g) = 20 calories

Drink Water
It’s very important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, recommendations are around 9 cups for women and 12 cups for men, or about half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, drink at least 75 ounces per day. This is essential to your weight loss and will also help reduce chances of potential constipation, and bloating.
If you need a little flavor, add some stevia or a splash of lemon juice.

Phase 3 - HCG Maintenance

HCG Phase 3 is referred to as the diet maintenance phase, and is the most important part on how to quit the HCG diet. As with any diet or eating program, you want to keep off what the weight you worked so hard to lose. You can keep the weight off if you follow this protocol, as it helps reset your body so the fat stays off. In addition, this is a great way to continue to eat once you are off the plan.

First you stop taking your HCG supplement. Exciting part, is that you can have any food you want as long as it is not a starch, carbohydrate or sugar for three weeks. Starches are things such as potatoes, chips, corn, rice, beans, bread, etc...

You will want to eat every two to three hours, which usually means 5 to 6 small meals a day.
You can add fat back into your diet. Please use healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, etc and stay away from hydrogenated oils and trans fats. The unhealthy fats are not good for your body and will make it more likely for you to put the weight back on.

You can basically expand the menu in the diet phase into the maintenance phase, with moderate amounts of protein and fat. Keep this part of the program intact and your weight will stay off.

**This article is for educational purposes only and not intended as medical advice. ALL HCG weight loss programs should be supervised by a medical professional. 

For more information on the HCG diet for weight loss visit: