If you're always on the lookout for the latest 'hot' diets that come out on the market and are always antsy to try what appears to be the newest and best approach to melt body fat fast while maintaining your lean muscle mass, one such program that might have caught your attention is the HCG Diet program.
The HCG program is considered to be an ultra low calorie diet plan that is designed to be accompanied with the use of the HCG diet products. HCG, which stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, is actually a hormone that is produced by a pregnant woman and helps to increase the metabolic rate.
Since the metabolic rate will be responsible for how many calories you burn each day, increasing this theoretically should mean you lose weight faster, however when combining this supplement with the diet that they provide you, one must really start to question the validity.
Let's take a closer look at what the HCG Diet is all about so you can make an informed decision on whether it's something you want to spend your time on.
The HCG Diet
This HCG Diet consists of many different stages that claim to take you from where you are now to a much slimmer and healthier you.
The very first stage of the diet is the cleansing stage and while not mandatory to do the program, is recommended. During this stage you begin with loading stage where you consume as many high fat, high calorie foods as possible to 'prime' your body for the diet.
The theory is that while doing this you will increase your body's ability to burn fat so when you move into the ultra low calorie phases, you'll have a jump start on results.
During the second phase of the diet plan you move into the actual HCG diet protocol and this is where you'll implement the use of your HCG drops (or injection if you choose to go that route).
The stated protocol for this phase includes:
You get to consume just tea or coffee without any sugar. One tablespoon of milk can be used but only once throughout the day.
If you use it now, you will have to drink the coffee or tea black the rest of the time. Any artificial sweeteners can be used as well as these are not restricted on this plan.
For your lunch meal you are to consume 100 grams of a protein source choosing from:
- Chicken breast
- Fresh white fish
You should be choosing only the leanest cuts of red meat and making sure to weigh them raw for proper serving sizes.
In addition to your protein source, you're also allowed to consume low-calorie vegetables, choosing between:
- Green salad
- Red radishes
On the side you can also have one grissino breadstick or a piece of Melba toast for carbohydrates.
An apple, orange, or a handful of berries is also allowed for dessert, although if you like you can save the fruit and have it as an afternoon snack instead.
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In Addition To Your Protein Source, You're Also
Allowed To Consume Low-Calorie Vegetables.
Finally for your last meal of the day, dinner, you'll repeat the same protocol as you did in lunch, trying to choose different choices for each of your protein and vegetable sources so as to get more variety.
Throughout the day you are also encourage to consume as much water as possible in effort to stay adequately hydrated and flush out all of the toxins from the body.
This diet protocol is to be carried on for as long as necessary to reach the target weight loss, for up to 40 days, after which a maintenance diet should be followed for at least three weeks where you're allowed to add in more fruits, vegetables, cheeses, dairy products, and meat.
It's still recommended during this stage however to stay away from all higher carbohydrate food choices.
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A Maintenance Diet Should Be Followed For At Least Three Weeks Where You're Allowed To Add More Fruits, Vegetables, Dairy Products, And Meat.
From the diet plan outlined below, 3 major problems should jump out you immediately:
1. Protein Content
The diet is extremely devoid in protein content. Although you are getting your 100 grams of protein in at lunch and dinner, which is more than some other fad diets have you consuming, altogether this is still only going to provide roughly 50-60 grams of protein per day, which isn't enough to support lean muscle mass maintenance even on a regular diet plan.
2. Calorie Intake
The calorie intake on this plan is disastrously low at approximately 500 calories, which is a sure-fire recipe for hunger, metabolic slow-down, and a general feeling of being unwell. Follow this diet plan for up to 40 days total, which they instruct is allowed, and you're sure to see some serious health deficiencies develop as well.
The third problem with this diet plan is that with so few nutrients coming in, exercise will be virtually impossible. In fact, the creator of the diet actually recommends against any exercise more than a light walk because it will simply be too difficult on the body while using this diet.
If you want to look and feel good while losing weight and after, exercise needs to be an important part of the equation. This diet severely limits that.
So what's the verdict on the HCG diet?
If you want a fast way to get skinny, lose muscle mass, and destroy your metabolism, dive on board! This diet will be perfect for you.
But, if you want lasting weight loss that's going to make you healthy and looking your best—firm and fit, you had better bypass this diet plan and look for something else.
Any time a diet is so restricting that all exercise—especially strength training (which is the top exercise to maintain lean muscle mass while on a diet) is excluded, you immediately should veer away from that approach and look elsewhere.
So there you have everything that you need to know about the HCG diet. Hopefully next time you come across this diet, you know to look the other direction.