What Is hCG?
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone that is produced during pregnancy. It helps to ensure that the developing baby gets the nutrients it needs. The hCG diet is based on the premise that this hormone can also help adults to lose weight.
Before we answer the question “What can you eat on the hCG diet?”, it’s important to understand the legality and efficacy of hCG itself for weight loss. We’ll cover these topics below.
Are hCG Weight Loss Supplements Legal?
No, hCG weight loss supplements are illegal to produce and sell over-the-counter in the United States. HCG is a prescription drug that is only approved by the FDA for treating female infertility. Only a healthcare provider can prescribe hCG.
So, what’s the deal with all the hCG products on the market? Many of these products are marketed as “homeopathic” or “natural”, but they are not. The FDA has taken action against some of these companies, but there are still many products available.
Do hCG Weight Loss Supplements Work?
There is no scientific evidence to support the use of hCG for weight loss. In fact, research shows that hCG is not effective for weight loss. One study found that people who were given hCG injections lost the same amount of weight as those who were given a placebo. The real reason why people lose weight on a hCG diet is because of the severe calorie restriction.
What Can You Eat on the hCG Diet?
Now that we’ve covered what hCG is and what the research says about it, let’s answer the question “What can you eat on the hCG diet?”.
The hCG diet requires eating very few calories, usually between 500 and 800 per day. This number is typically divided into two meals – lunch and dinner.
The low calorie intake is what causes weight loss, not the hCG hormone. All high-carb foods are prohibited on the diet, as well as most fats. This leaves a very limited list of what you can eat on the hCG diet.
HCG Diet Approved Foods – Phase 2 (Weight Loss)
Now, let’s be more specific: what can you eat on the hCG diet? Here is a list of approved foods for the hCG diet during the weight loss phase:
- Protein: Chicken, egg whites, lean beef, bison, white fish, crab, lobster, and scallops.
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, onions, spinach, radishes, chard, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, beet greens, and asparagus.
- Fruit: Citrus fruits, berries, and apples.
- Herbs and spices: Salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, thyme and rosemary among others.
- Coffee or tea with only one tablespoon of milk per day.
Does it sound extreme? Yes, but that’s not all. There are also restrictions on how these foods must be prepared. For example, you can’t use cooking oil, and you can only eat fruit once with each meal. The weight loss phase lasts for 20-35 days, after which you move into the maintenance phase which restricts your calories to 800-1,000 for another 21 days.
Phase 3 (Maintenance) – What Can You Eat?
During phase 3, dieters are allowed to eat a bit more. Here are some of the approved foods:
- Protein: Chicken, beef, pork, eggs, cheese and dairy.
- Vegetables: All non-starchy vegetables with a GI of under 30.
- Fruit: All are allowed in moderation, but low-sugar fruit is recommended.
- Oils and fats: All are allowed except for trans fats, margarine and other artificial products.
- Nuts and seeds: Those that don’t contain starch are allowed in moderation. Cashews, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds aren’t recommended.
- Dairy: Whole milk and other dairy is allowed in moderation.
You still won’t be eating pasta, bread, rice or other starchy carbs. You’ll also have to avoid alcohol and sugary drinks. So, what can you eat on the hCG diet? It depends on the phase you’re in. The second phase is very restrictive, but the third phase allows for a bit more flexibility.
Is the hCG Diet a Safe Option for Weight Loss?
Even if you don’t take hCG, you’re going to lose weight dramatically if you follow the hCG diet plan. This is because you’re only eating about 500-800 calories per day, which is not enough for most people. This calorie restriction can lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health problems. If you’re considering the hCG diet, it’s important to talk to your doctor first.
Healthier Diets to Try Instead
If you’re looking to lose weight, there are much better options than the hCG diet. Here are a few healthy diets that have been shown to be effective for weight loss:
- The Mediterranean Diet: This diet is based on the traditional foods eaten in countries like Greece and Italy. It’s high in healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- The DASH Diet: This diet is designed to lower blood pressure. It’s high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
- The Plant-Based Diet: This diet is based on whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
These are just a few of the many healthy diets out there. If you’re looking to lose weight, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to find a plan that’s right for you.
In conclusion, what can you eat on the hCG diet? The answer depends on what phase you’re in. However, the weight loss is actually due to the severe calorie restriction, not the hCG hormone or the specific food choices. If you’re considering the hCG diet, talk to your doctor first and consider other, healthier options.
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