hCG Diet and Ketosis: Is this diet ketogenic?
February 27. 2023
Many people have become familiar with the concept of ketosis in the last few years. Since this process significantly contributes to weight loss, ketogenic diets have rapidly grown in popularity. Although the ketogenic diet was intended to treat certain diseases (and has been used in medical cases for nearly 100 years), it has become a lifestyle for people who want to lose and maintain their weight. Many people come to us asking if the hCG diet resembles the keto diet and if it can get them into ketosis. So today, we want to clarify this doubt for everyone.
The Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG) is the one that gives the name to the hCG diet. Dr. Simeons discovered this hormone weight loss benefits in the 1950s, almost at the same time phentermine for weight loss was approved. And even today, doctors use this hormone in weight loss plans to help people burn fat fast. People often compare the hCG and the keto diet. Why? Because, in both programs, the body burns body fat as fuel instead of carbs. While that is something big both diets have in common, there are still differences that can lead you to opt for one instead of the other.
Since choosing the correct diet is vital to the success of your weight loss journey, health-care professionals from our weight loss clinic in Chicago decided to explain how the hCG diet and ketosis are connected and what separates the two.
What do the hCG Diet and the Ketogenic Diet have in common?
Both of them can get you into ketosis
First of all, in case you’re not familiar with ketosis, we’ll explain it briefly but clearly.
Ketosis is a metabolic process that can occur naturally (during infancy, pregnancy, or during starvation) or when you follow specific low net carb content diets.
When you consume carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into sugars (glucose), and they enter your bloodstream. When the blood sugar levels start to rise, your pancreas releases insulin (a hormone that allows cells to use blood sugar for energy). Most of our cells use glucose as their preferable fuel. Nevertheless, when you cut back on carbs, another metabolic process takes place – Ketosis. When your body realizes it can’t use carbs as fuel, it starts to break down fatty acids from your body’s fat stores. Fatty acids get to the liver, where they turn into ketones. Ketones can then fuel your body (including the brain). To check whether you entered a ketosis state, you can buy ketone strips online and use them daily.
However, since some cells still need glucose to function correctly, they end up getting it from the small number of carbs you intake and from some of the protein you consume. Thanks to these processes, ketosis won’t leave your body deprived of energy and will let your cells work properly.
How these two diets get you into ketosis
The ketogenic diet uses a significantly low carb intake (which we explained above) to get your body to produce ketones. The diet doesn’t limit your calorie intake. It only requires you to get most of your daily calories from healthy fats. And to minimize carb intake to less than 35g.
On the other hand, there are three hCG phases. The first one, the carb-loading phase, lasts for 48 hours. During this time, you should eat high-fat and high-calorie food while lowering your carb intake since it interferes with ketosis. Phase two of the hCG diet, alternately, highly restricts your calorie intake to around 500kcal a day while further reducing carbs. This way, you’ll quickly enter ketosis because your body will no longer be fueled by the food you eat but rather by your stored fat.
It’s important to mention that you can also follow a vegetarian hCG diet because plenty of foods can replace the lean animal protein from your carnivorous menu. Since the hCG diet was first developed, new foods have been included in the diet, and vegetable carb substitutes make it easier to stick to this diet. Many of our patients find it challenging to start a weight loss program due to their specific diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, etc. However, we continually encourage them to work on their weight goals, knowing that diets and lifestyles aren’t obstacles. If you find yourself in a similar situation, feel free to take our quiz and explore your solutions!
Neither of them leaves you starving
Following the hCG diet includes getting the hCG hormone injections in the first and second phases of the diet. They help you get into ketosis.
This hormone suppresses the appetite and optimizes weight loss. Getting it in the right amounts is extremely important. Without it, you could experience starvation because of the low-calorie intake, and you wouldn’t be able to hold out until the end of the diet. You can resort to dietary supplements if you are not getting enough nutrients from the daily 500kcal intake. A few hCG vitamins are allowed during this diet and can help you with that issue. However, with a balanced diet, you might not need them.
On the other hand, the ketogenic diet promotes foods that are high in healthy fats. Since fat keeps you full for a longer time, you’re unlikely to feel starvation at any point during the process. Plus, you won’t feel those sudden sugar level drops because your blood sugar levels stay consistent, without peaks and troths.
Both of them allow you to lose weight quickly
The reason for this is that a molecule of glucose attaches three molecules of water to itself. That means that carbs will promote water retention in your body. When you cut down carbs, the excess water gets flushed out of the system – which is why most people feel incredibly thirsty on keto – therefore, you’ll quickly lose a noticeable few pounds. The breakdown of your fat stores takes more time, though.
Differences between the hCG Diet and the Ketogenic Diet
The hCG Diet is a low-fat diet
The hCG Diet suggests you eliminate as many fats as possible. You can have a certain amount of fruits and vegetables. But you should only consume lean protein (lean beef, skinless chicken breast, shrimp, cottage cheese, etc.).
On the other hand, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet. That means you should indulge in healthy fats, making them around 70% of your daily calorie intake. Food like eggs, hard cheeses, greek yogurt, fatty meat, fish, olive oil, butter, etc., are choice selections for keeping your ketosis going.
The hCG hormone injections are required on the hCG Diet
First and foremost, the hormones give the diet its name. As we explained above, hCG injections are necessary when following the diet’s logic because they can suppress appetite and speed up the process of getting you into ketosis. Keep in mind that over-the-counter hCG products in the form of drops, creams, or sprays are not recommended. We advise you to consult specialists who use medical-grade hCG injections.
The Ketogenic Diet has its variations
Unlike the hCG diet, the ketogenic diet has some variations. Some people compare the keto diet with the LCHF diet, which leads to a keto vs. lchf comparison. While the ketogenic diet has variations, these diets are not the same.
A strict Ketogenic diet, for instance, includes 70% fat intake, 20-25% protein intake, and only 5-10% carb intake daily. There are also targeted keto diets (for athletes), high-protein keto (for bodybuilders), and carb-cycling keto. And the keto flex diet (which involves eating during a 12 hours window and then not consuming food three hours before bedtime).
The hCG diet is a low-calorie diet
As we explained above, the hCG diet restricts your daily calorie intake to only 500kcal. On the other hand, the ketogenic diet doesn’t require you to keep track of the calories you’ve consumed.
Although both the hCG Diet and the Ketogenic Diet can get you into ketosis, they’re essentially two different types of diets altogether. While the hCG Diet requires you to consume low-fat and low-calorie food while taking hormones, the Ketogenic Diet (in all its variations) requires you to eat foods that are rich in fats and very low in carbs. Just to clear things up, keep in mind that taking the hCG injections while following the Ketogenic Diet won’t affect your weight loss.
Choosing the right program for weight loss can often be a challenging task. People tend to wander and try out too many different diets. In some cases, that is a practice that can harm one’s overall well-being. Others need extra aid besides a healthy diet and resort to supplements such as Ozempic weight loss.
Don’t compromise your weight goal and leave your health on the back burner. Instead, aim to find a diet program that suits your body and your needs. That way, when you achieve your goal, you’ll be able to maintain it for the long haul.
With that in mind, our clinic also has a variety of medically assisted weight loss programs and a significant number of satisfied patients who have achieved their weight goals. Schedule your appointment with us today to find the perfect program for you.
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