What is HCG and the HCG Diet?
By now pretty much everyone has heard of the HCG diet and knows at least one person who has successfully lost weight using it. But you might not know anything more about HCG than some people call it “the pregnancy hormone”. This causes a lot of confusion, because most women actually gain weight over the course of their pregnancies and have trouble losing the baby fat. Here’s a brief outline of what HCG is and how it works.
HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It’s a hormone that’s only present in early pregnancy. Its function is to get the fertilized egg (called a zygote) to implant in the uterus walls and grow a placenta so it can grow into a baby. It’s the same hormone that early pregnancy tests detect in high concentrations. Once the placenta is grown, the HCG production tapers off.
Some women get morning sickness during early pregnancy. That’s because they produce much more HCG than usual and they’re very sensitive to the hormone. The amount used for weight loss is much less than is present during a typical pregnancy, so it won’t make you feel nauseous, but it is enough to keep you from feeling hungry. That will enable you to follow a very low calorie diet (VLCD).
VLCD Without HCG
If you try to do a very low calorie diet VLCD, say, 500 calories per day, without the hormone, on about the third day your metabolism will go into starvation mode. In starvation mode your body senses that you’re not getting enough calories, so it starts using lean tissue like your muscles and internal organs while holding onto the fat until there’s nothing else left for energy. I don’t have to tell you that this isn’t healthy at all. When HCG is present in your body it causes your hypothalamus, a small gland in your mid-brain, to produce different hormones. These hormones are carried to all the glands of your endocrine system, causing them to produce different hormones as well. The net effect is a chemical balance that keeps your metabolism out of starvation mode. That way the calories needed to make up for the diet come from the fat stored under your skin. That’s how women can lose a half pound to a pound a day, and men can lose one to two pounds per day on our HCG program.