Despite the controversial history of HCG diet plans, they continue to appeal to weight-loss seekers looking for a magic bullet. On the other hand, plans as restrictive as the HCG diet make them simple to follow.
Origins of the HCG Diet
There are now dozens of variations of the HCG diet plan built upon the original plan outlined in Dr. Simeon's manuscript, Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity. Dr. Simeon's plan includes a restrictive low-calorie diet consisting of 500 calories a day, along with regular injections of hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) - a hormone produced during pregnancy. These days, there are HCG diet plans based on 800, or even 1200 calories a day. Modified versions of the plan include organic and vegan HCG diets, while newer developments of oral hCG drops are marketed as a homeopathic diet plan. Alternatively, there are hCG diet pills and creams as well. Overall, injections are becoming a rare method of administering hCG.
Almost 50 years later, after Dr. Simeon's controversial diet plan was theorized, Kevin Trudeau came out with a book published in 2007: The Weight Loss Cure; a modified version of the diet that follows most of Dr. Simeon's original protocol. Kevin Trudeau's modified plan consists of an additional phase of detoxification before starting hCG hormones, as well as contemporary protocols, such as dieting with organic foods, supplementation and an extended list of acceptable foods to plan HCG meals with.
Dr. Simeon's Original HCG Diet Plan
For the full 26-day diet, you may drink as much water, black coffee or teas as you like. The first 23 days of the diet plan you will start hCG drops or injections. The initial first two days, also referred to as phase 1 or the loading phase, you can eat all the calories you like in order to jumpstart the metabolism. Days 3 to 26, or phase 2, you will follow a very restrictive low-calorie HCG diet plan. Phase 3 is a maintenance phase, with fewer calorie restrictions before cycling back to phase 1.
Black coffee, tea and plenty of water are allowed, in any amount.
Eat 100 grams (or 3.54 ounces) of low-fat protein, such as skinless chicken, turkey, beef, whitefish or seafood. Salmon and other fatty fish, such as herring are not permitted. Generally, egg whites and skim milk cottage cheese are not permitted, but may be eaten occasionally. All protein must be boiled or grilled.
One serving of carbohydrate, in the form of a bread stick or Melba toast, is allowed. One serving of fruit, such as an apple, orange, strawberries or grapefruit is allowed. Both the fruit and bread may be eaten at breakfast or as a snack between meals anytime during the day.
One serving of low-starch vegetables is permitted from these choices of vegetables only: green salad, spinach, chard, beet-greens, asparagus, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, onions, radishes and tomatoes.
Dinner includes the same food group choices and portions as lunch. The fruit and carbohydrate portion may be eaten between meals anytime during the day.
Sample Diet Menu Plan
Black tea or coffee with a half a grapefruit sweetened with stevia
Chicken marinara with Melba bruschetta
Baked cinnamon apple
Grilled sirloin steak with asparagus (Melba) toast
Original HCG Diet Guidelines
- 500-calorie diet, no exceptions or allowances
- No sugar, except stevia or other diet sugar
- No milk, except one tablespoon a day
- All oils, butter and dressings' are completely off-limits
- The juice of one lemon a day is permitted
- Low-fat seasonings such as salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar and herbs are permitted
- Cosmetics and prescriptions must be approved before use, except for basic fat-free cosmetics, aspirin and birth control
- Strenuous exercise, except walking, is not encouraged
The Pros and Cons
While it is true following one of the HCG diet plans will allow for dramatic weight loss - up to two pounds a day - there are a number of potential side effects to consider. The dangers involved with a very low-calorie diet, or fad diet, are considerable. Before starting a diet plan, talk to a physician to find out if the HCG diet is the right plan for you.