Before trying to decide what to eat on the hCG diet plan, the first thing you might want to do is find out exactly what this diet is and whether or not there are any dangers associated with it. If you are currently on the hCG diet, then you know that the only authentic diet plan is administered and controlled under the close scrutiny of a physician. Many bogus hCG diet supplements are sold over the internet and buyers should beware. Some of those products are completely useless while others may be harmful. Before entertaining the lovely thought of losing a pound per day on this diet with the hopes of keeping that weight off over time, take the time to do the research.
History of the hCG Diet
As early as the 1920’s, scientists discovered that the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, hCG, is present in the urine of pregnant women. This particular hormone is not present normally and has been the main method of determining whether or not a woman is pregnant, even to this day. Further studies in the 1950’s found that hCG was effective in treating male children with underdeveloped genitals. Actually, hCG is necessary during pregnancy because it enables the fetus to get the proper amount of nutrients and calories while in the womb. However, while working with hCG to promote genital development of genitals in young boys, Dr. A.T.W. Simeons found that these boys being treated with hCG injections, some of which were overweight, began shedding pounds as well without altering their diets. He then published his findings which was the advent of the hCG diet craze.
What Exactly Is the hCG Diet?
The first thing to understand about the hCG diet is that you must be given injections of the hormone daily on 40 day cycles, resting six weeks, and then undergoing two more cycles following the same injection/rest intervals. The final 3 days there are no injections as it takes this length of time for the hormone to cycle out of the body. Any OTC or Internet based supplement that claims to be an hCG product is misleading or dangerous. Those products can perhaps stimulate the production of hormones in the body, but they are not authentic hCG which is only administered by injection. The injections can be self-administered but are only available in this country by prescription. Furthermore, they are accompanied by a VLCD (very low calorie diet) which consists of only 500 calories per day, and the diet is very strict as to which foods and how much of each can be consumed.
Foods on the hCG Diet Plan
Knowing what to eat on the hCG diet plan isn’t difficult because the choices are so limited. Although the diet has morphed over the years, to some extent, from the original Dr. Simeon’s diet plan, the fact remains that the dieter must maintain a maximum of 500 calories daily. The original diet plan included:
Back unsweetened coffee or tea (saccharine allowed) with only 1 tablespoon of milk daily.
100 grams veal, beef, chicken breast (off the bird), fresh white fish, lobster, shrimp or crab.
One vegetable only from a group including spinach, beet-greens, chard, chicory, green salad, celery, tomatoes, red radishes, fennel, onions, cucumbers, cabbage, asparagus.
One grissino (breadstick) or melba toast.
One apple, orange, handful of strawberries or 1/2 grapefruit.
Exactly the same as the lunch menu above.
This diet must be strictly adhered to and there are no substitutions permitted. For example, two small apples are not the same thing as one apple and you couldn’t pick and choose other vegetables or fruits which you happen to like better. Also, all meats must be trimmed so that no fat remains and the only cooking method allowed is boiling or grilling. Fish cannot be pickled or dried and you cannot substitute herring, eel, salmon or tuna. However, the saving grace (if you can call it that!) is that you only need to stick to this diet during the time when you are getting the injections.
Dangers, Side Effects and FDA Approval
While there are no dangers or side effects associated with either the diet itself (other than hunger pangs and food withdrawal!) or the hCG shots, it should be advised that this diet does not have FDA approval. The only approved medicinal use for hCG injections is as a fertility drug! What does this mean? If you are a young woman in childbearing years who does not want to get pregnant, it is not advisable to go on the hCG diet. If you are currently pregnant, your own doctor would need to advise whether or not the injections are safe based on your own medical history. Nevertheless, there have been no side effects associated with hCG injections that have been publicized.
So then, if you are asking what to eat on the hCG diet, the answer is quite simple really – very little! Your choices are extremely limited, you can eat tiny amounts and your caloric intake of 500 calories daily is less than you are probably getting from your current entrée at dinner! Perhaps that’s the biggest downfall of this particular diet. Also, we have been told over and over and over again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so to simply drink a cup of black coffee or tea is almost untenable. In fact, many doctors discourage this diet based on that alone!
If you are seriously considering trying the hCG diet, be advised that you will first need to find a doctor who will prescribe/administer the shots and that none of the costs will be covered by health insurance. Before buying any products on the internet or OTC, talk to your doctor to see if there are more suitable, safer and effective diet plans for your particular weight related issues. While many people have achieved results, each person has individual dietary needs which should always be discussed with a healthcare professional prior to changing your eating habits or taking any supplements or medications.