Florence Mussat, M.D.
680 N Lake Shore Dr. #1030 Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 751-9000

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What is the HCG Diet and Does it Work?

Submitted by Florence Mussat M.D, S.C. on May 2, 2019 - 5:30 pm

Many of the most popular diets trends of the day focus on excluding certain types of food, like those high in fat or carbohydrates. Though this approach can sometimes lead to improvements in health, it’s not always effective for weight loss. Adhering to a paleo diet, for example, or going vegan, doesn’t place any restrictions on the number of calories you can consume in a day. This makes it easy for people (especially those who struggle with portion control) to continue overeating, which inevitably leads to taking in excess calories and either gaining or maintaining weight.

Rather than eliminating specific foods, the HCG diet uses a two-pronged approach to attack the root cause of weight gain: the over-consumption of calorie-dense foods. It creates a steep caloric deficit to induce effective weight loss while moderating the patient’s appetite.

How does the HCG Diet Work?

Most people already know that the only proven way to lose weight—regardless of your age, gender, or metabolism—is to burn more calories than you consume. Unfortunately, for many overweight individuals, restricting calories over the long-term is all but impossible. Research has shown that most people who suffer from obesity lack adequate levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. As such, restricting calories causes them to experience feelings of extreme hunger, fatigue, irritability, and depression, to the point where normal functioning is impaired. Their bodies essentially go into “starvation mode” even though they’re carrying excess weight.

The HCG diet solves this problem by using a natural hormone to balance the patient’s appetite, making it easier for him or her to adhere to a calorie-reduced diet. Patients on the HCG diet receive regular injections of human chorionic gonadotropin, a naturally-occurring hormone. Not only does HCG regulate hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin, it’s been shown to help preserve muscle mass during rapid weight loss. This is important, because the more muscle mass a person has, the higher his or her basal metabolic rate (BMR) typically is.

On the HCG diet, injections are paired with a personalized calorie-controlled diet plan that emphasizes the consumption of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. This diet can range from just 500 calories per day to up to 1500 calories per day, depending on the patient’s age, height, and activity level. In all cases, however, caloric intake is lowered enough to create a substantial deficit, resulting in weight loss of between half a pound and one pound every day (up to seven pounds per week).

Getting Started with the HCG Diet

The intense nature of the HCG diet means that this eating plan isn’t right for everyone; generally, it’s recommended for overweight individuals who need to lose weight quickly for health reasons. Like all rapid weight loss plans, this diet should only be administered under the supervision of a doctor. A doctor can monitor your health while you lose weight and make sure you’re adhering to the HCG diet properly; this way, you’ll get the best possible results with the lowest risk of complications. Before you begin the HCG diet, arrange a consultation with Dr. Florence Mussat to make sure this eating plan is the right choice for you.