HCG Diet: How Does It Work? What are the health risks?

HCG Diet: How Does It Work? What are the health risks?

Many people end up seduced by the “miraculous weight loss” and bet on diets and use of substances without scientific proof. Therefore, they are not always able to achieve this purpose, which consequently generates a feeling of frustration, disappointment and even health complications.

One of the proposals that has been questioned regarding effectiveness in weight loss is the HCG diet and many experts and medical institutions are against this method. Find out why in the text below.

In this article you will find:

  1. What is the HCG diet?
  2. What is HCG hormone?
  3. What is the purpose of the HCG diet?
  4. How many pounds are lost on the HCG diet?
  5. How it works?
  6. Who can’t do the HCG diet?
  7. Is there a set menu?


What is the HCG diet?

The HCG diet is a method that combines a restrictive eating routine in relation to the amount of calories consumed per day, with only 500 Kcal (adding all foods eaten, which must be without sugar or fat) to the use of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG ).

This combination, although it can have an effect on weight reduction, is considered very dangerous for the health of those who decide to adhere to it.

One of the reasons for this is the drastic reduction in the amount of food consumed in daily meals, as it is necessary to ingest only 500Kcal per day.

To get an idea, it is estimated that, on average, a healthy adult needs more or less 2000Kcal per day for the body to be able to perform all metabolic activities properly.

Thus, the dietary restriction proposed by the HCG diet in some cases can compromise the proper functioning of the body.

In addition, an essential part for this diet to cause weight loss is the use of the hormone that gives it its name, HCG — allowed by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) only for fertilization treatments.

Thus, using it for the purpose of losing weight is not indicated, even because there is no scientific evidence to justify its efficiency in this case.

What is HCG hormone?

human chorionic gonadotropin

HCG  (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is one of the main hormones present during pregnancy. It is produced by trophoblasts, cells that over the weeks of gestation form the placenta.

When a woman is in early pregnancy, HCG increases rapidly causing some characteristic symptoms, such as delayed menstruation, sensitive breasts, tiredness and excessive sleep, cramps, among others.

Therefore, the quantitative beta HCG test, which determines the value of this hormone in the bloodstream, is considered the best way to prove that a woman is pregnant.

The belief that the hormone HCG could promote weight loss emerged after observing that the bodies of pregnant women who were not eating properly, that is, malnourished, metabolize the fat that is metabolized and used as energy for the baby.

Since then, in the 50’s, the British researcher Dr. Albert Simeons began to assess daily obese people who received injections of HCG.

After this period, he found that they not only managed to lose weight, but also had reduced appetite and maintained muscle mass.

And it was then that the HCG diet began to become popular as an effective weight loss method.

However, more recent studies have shown that it is not the application of HCG alone that causes weight loss, but dietary restriction based on the consumption of 500Kcal.

Thus, if an obese person or someone who wants to lose a few “more pounds”, using the hormone without restricting their diet will probably not have any results.

Thus, in addition to not bringing benefits, it can trigger a series of complications to the body, such as thromboembolism, which is when clots form in the bloodstream, preventing circulation.

Because of this, the Endocrine Society are totally against the use of this hormone for weight loss.

What is the purpose of the HCG diet?

The objective of the HCG diet is to reduce hunger and promote accelerated fat burning (in just over a month), without the person having to exercise daily.

For this, it is necessary to restrict the diet, completely cutting out carbohydrates, fried foods, sweets, fats and any type of processed food.

And so, eat only fruits, vegetables, vegetables and liquids that have few calories, because at the end of the day it is necessary to have consumed only 500Kcal.

In addition, it is necessary to supplement the diet with daily use of 3 doses of HCG, as this way it is possible to “deceive” the body into thinking that it is going through a pregnancy. This leads to the displacement of fat to be used as an energy source.

During this period, it is forbidden to do physical activities, even if they are light and of short duration, since, as you are eating little, your body would not be able to exercise.

How many pounds are lost on the HCG diet?

The HCG diet promises the loss of up to 15 pounds in one month, through a restricted diet and use of the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (by injection or sublingually) every day.

In addition, the HCG diet guarantees that there will be proportional weight loss throughout the body, that is, even the famous localized fats, considered more difficult to be eliminated.

However, there is no scientific data to prove that weight loss is due to the use of HCG.

How it works?

In general, the HCG diet is divided into three phases:

  • Charging phase: this period marks the beginning of the diet, and its purpose is to encourage increased consumption of foods rich in fat, which consequently contain more calories, for a period of 2 days. Because, from then on, the person will start using the HCG hormone;
  • Weight loss phase: This phase is the longest in the diet, as it lasts an average of 3 to 6 weeks. At this stage, the person starts to restrict their eating routine and ingest only 500Kcal a day, and also continues using HCG, either by injection or sublingually (3 times a day);
  • Maintenance phase: this can be characterized as the final stage of the diet, where the use of HCG will be discontinued and caloric intake may be gradually increased so that the body gets used to it.

Who can’t do the HCG diet?

The HCG diet is prohibited for people who have an illness and are undergoing medical treatments, as the slimming method combines a limited diet and the use of the HCG hormone, it can drastically affect the patient’s recovery.

In addition, some more specific cases, the diet is also not indicated (especially in relation to the use of HCG), they are:

  • Menopause;
  • Polycystic ovary;
  • Gynecological hemorrhages;
  • Tumors in the pituitary or hypothalamus;

Therefore, due to several complications, the HCG diet can be done only in specific cases, and after a rigorous medical evaluation.

Is there a set menu?

hcg diet plan

The menu to be followed during the HCG diet will vary according to the phase the person is in, since at the beginning of the diet, also called loading, the consumption of foods rich in fat and calories is recommended.

Because, through this process, the body ends up understanding that it already has enough fat stock to use as an energy source, generating its burning and causing weight loss.

Thus, during this phase, the consumption of pasta, snacks, fried foods, fatty meats, snacks, among others, is allowed.

However, when there is a transition to the second stage of the HCG diet, the menu to be followed changes completely, becoming very restrictive, as it is only allowed to ingest 500Kcal a day.

Thus, the person who is on the diet, and is at this stage, must literally count every calorie present in the food to know if he can consume it or not.

Therefore, it is recommended to have a menu rich in low-energy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, vegetables, fish, lean meats, some oilseeds and eggs.

Therefore, an example of a menu for this second phase (1 day) would be:

  • Breakfast: 1 cup of tea (no sugar) and 1 slice of wholemeal bread with ricotta;
  • Lunch: 100g of grilled chicken and 3 tablespoons of cauliflower rice;
  • Afternoon snack: 1 apple and 3 cashew nuts;
  • Dinner: 100g of fish plus 3 tablespoons of cooked vegetables.

We emphasize that the HCG diet should not be done without indication and specialized medical supervision.

Seeking alternatives to lose weight quickly, at the risk of compromising your health, is never the best choice, so always prefer healthy weight loss.