hCG diet phases

hCG diet phases – what you need to know

June 14. 2021

Human chorionic gonadotropin (abbreviated hCG) is a hormone produced by a pregnant woman’s placenta. Although it can generally be found in a human body, pregnant women produce it in much more significant quantities. The role of hCG is to prevent a woman’s body from storing the excess fat during pregnancy so that the developing baby can take all the calories it needs during growth. This fact has led Dr. Simons to consider using this hormone as a weight-loss tool to help people burn their stored fat around the problematic areas of their bodies. Back in 1954, all the required information regarding the hCG diet was published. The diet was presented as a low-calorie, high-protein regimen, which included regular shots of hCG injections to boost the fat loss process and prevent hunger in dieters.

The first and original program required that the dieters eat no more than 500kcal a day after completing the loading phase. Since this was a highly restricted calorie intake, the diet has been updated to meet today’s health standards, and it allows dieters to get a personalized diet plan based on their own weight and goals. The list of foods allowed on this diet has also been extended, so it’s safe to say that it’s much more convenient to follow the hCG diet today than ever before. One of the most critical aspects of this regimen is understanding the hCG diet phases.

There are three phases we’ll now go through in detail: 

The Loading Phase

The beginning phase of the hCG diet is known as the loading phase because it requires dieters to start taking the hCG shots and indulge in high-fat and high-calorie foods. The reason for this is to prepare your body for the next, low-calorie phase. The loading phase lasts for two days, during which you can eat pretty much anything, but you’re advised to eat food with high-fat content. By doing so, you’re ensuring enough time for the hCG to enter your system and locate your fat stores.

Your meals of choice should include healthy fats coming from fatty meat and fish, olive oil, avocado, eggs, nuts, etc. 

The Weight Loss Phase

The infamous weight loss phase is when you continue taking the hCG shots while changing your diet. This stage lasts between three and six weeks, depending on your starting weight, age, health condition, etc. During this time, you’ll need to follow a low-calorie meal plan, stay away from fats and sugars, and focus on protein and whole foods. Depending on the program you choose, you’ll either eat about 500kcal a day or slightly more if your calorie intake is calculated by your BMI (Body Mass Index). You’re not required to exercise during this phase (you’ll probably be advised not to) since you’ll already burn more than enough calories by following the diet and taking the hCG shots. During this phase, your body starts burning your fat stores and using them as fuel, which is why some people connect the hCG diet and ketosis.

Although it does sound quite restrictive, the weight loss phase is not as challenging as it seems. HCG shots also work as an appetite suppressant and help you get through the day with fewer calories and a decreased hunger. In addition to that, you can look at this phase as a detox for your whole body since the main stars on your menu will be foods high in protein (which will, once again, keep you full for longer), green veggies, and low-carb fruits. That way, you’ll ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs in order to function correctly. One of the main misconceptions regarding the hCG diet phases is that the weight loss phase demands you to deprive yourself of food and eat only as much as you need to survive. However, by applying for an hCG diet program at a professional diet clinic, you’ll be advised to eat foods high in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins. Sometimes, you’ll also take lipo C injections to accompany the diet and ensure your body functions normally at all times.

Your meals of choice during the weight loss phase should include:

  • high-protein foods (such as skinless poultry, white fish, low-fat beef, shrimps, cottage cheese), 
  • non-starchy vegetables (such as leafy greens, cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale, asparagus, etc.), and 
  • low-carb fruits (for example, an apple or an orange a day, a small handful of mixed berries, half of a peach, two apricots, etc.).

The Maintenance Phase

Last, and most certainly not the least among hCG diet phases, the maintenance phase starts once you stop taking hCG shots. This phase is not negligible, as your body needs to slowly re-adjust all those types of food and calories you’ve been avoiding during the previous three to six weeks. It lasts about three weeks and is somewhat more personalized compared to the earlier stages of the diet. That’s because every individual reacts differently to specific types of food. Some people may lose a few more pounds during those three weeks, and others manage to maintain their desired weight. However, we make sure to stay in touch with our patients during their maintenance phase to ensure that everything’s going according to plan and that they’re not gaining their weight back. 

Final thoughts

Although the hCG diet aids in a quicker weight loss, it’s essential to understand that its benefits won’t last forever if you decide to go back to indulging in highly processed food and sweets once you complete the program. The hCG diet and its phases are meant to provide several other benefits besides weight loss, including a boost in your metabolism, increased energy, redistribution of fat stores, and decreased cravings. After the maintenance phase, you should establish a healthy relationship with food and continue prioritizing whole foods over highly processed ones. 

In case you’re thinking about starting the hCG diet or feel like you need additional information regarding the subject, please feel free to contact our weight loss clinic Chicago.

Nurse Walton


Nurse Walton

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Chanay received her Practical Nurse licensure and went to work in clinical specialties such as Home Health, Assisted Living, Long-Term Care and Dialysis Centers. Through this work, she realized the importance of diet, nutrition and weight loss among her patients. This led her to open A Better Weigh, Inc. Medical Weight Loss Center in 2009.

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