According to the Boston Medical Center, an estimated 45 million Americans start a new diet each year. Many of them will join the ranks of the “yo-yo dieters”: people who regularly lose weight and then gain it back.

The problem? We get hungry.

As much as we want to get (and keep) the weight off, it’s hard to feel satisfied with a plate of vegetables, or to restrict calories alone without a plan.

That’s where the HCG diet comes in. You might have heard of HCG in the context of medicine, or lumped in with other types of diets—but this program packs a powerful punch.

One of the key benefits of HCG is the way it helps manage feelings of hunger so that even small servings of food are satisfying. Beyond that, it can help reset your hypothalamus for a healthier metabolism, which makes it easier to keep those stubborn fat reserves off in the long term.

If you’re new to the world of HCG, you probably have plenty of questions—but we’re here to answer them. Check out our beginner’s guide to HCG below!

An Introduction to HCG

HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. This is a naturally occurring hormone in humans, and it has many functions in the body. Most notably, women produce it during the first few months of pregnancy, as it increases their metabolism to allow fat stores to be broken down and used as food for both the mother and developing baby.

Its use as a weight-loss aid was first proposed by British endocrinologist Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons, who developed the original HCG diet plan. During a study of this hormone, Dr. Simeons found that combining HCG diet injections with a restricted food intake led to rapid fat loss. His 1954 book on the topic, Pounds and Inches, offers a deep dive into the science behind his results.

Today, we continue to use his findings as the basis for our HCG diet, along with research-backed diet plans and more modern HCG drops in place of injections.

Overview of the HCG Diet Program

The HCG diet protocol consists of a very low-calorie diet, specifically an intake of 500 calories per day.

This restriction occurs in the course of roughly one month. Depending on your weight loss goals, you can choose to do a single “course” of the diet, or you can continue with additional rounds until you’ve finally hit your target weight.

The low caloric intake is how the magic happens. Because your body still requires its normal energy to function, it needs to burn more than just the 500 calories you consume. As a result, an additional 1,500-3,000 calories of stored fat are burned daily.

For reference, one pound is the equivalent of roughly 3,500 calories—so the weight drops off fast!

During your diet, you’ll follow a very specific food list, and we also provide you with specific HCG diet recipes. Our plans recommend lean proteins and vegetables, and vegans and vegetarians can substitute plant-based proteins as desired. Typically, you’ll eat only lunch and dinner, which conveniently gives you a taste of the benefits of intermittent fasting as well.

Why HCG Helps You Feel Full

If you’ve ever dieted before, though, you know that caloric restriction can leave you feeling hungry. Worse, over time these cravings can prompt you to cycle back and gain even more weight.

And without help, you can forget about feeling full on a 500 calorie diet!

With the help of HCG, however, you can feel full on fewer calories. HCG interacts with the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for controlling your sense of hunger. Essentially, it boosts your metabolism and makes your fat stores more accessible.

Most perceptibly, it helps increase feelings of satiety, which helps you feel like you’ve eaten enough food even on a restriction of 500 calories.

How Much Weight Loss to Expect

Just as with any diet, your expected weight loss will vary based on a host of related factors, including your current weight, lifestyle, and even sleeping habits.

However, on average, most people can expect to lose between half a pound to a full pound per day during one course of the diet. Men tend to lose weight with this program more quickly than women do.

Phases of the HCG Diet

As mentioned earlier, you’ll carry out your diet in a rigid program of roughly one month. During this time, you’ll undergo three different phases that will get your body accustomed to HCG.

  1. Loading Phase: In the first 2 days, you’ll start taking your HCG diet drops. You’ll also get to gorge yourself on high-calorie foods that are rich in fats and proteins, which helps jump-start your body’s metabolism.
  2. Weight Loss Phase: You’ll start with a low-calorie diet of 500 calories per day while continuing to take your HCG drops. This occurs for 27-40 days, depending on your weight loss goals. Those seeking minimal weight loss might opt for less time, but significant weight loss targets would require more time in this phase.
  3. Stabilization Phase: For the final 3 weeks, you’ll stabilize your weight loss to keep the pounds off by eating regular amounts of food. (Note that your HCG diet food list will keep you away from starches and sugars during this time.) During this phase, you’ll stop taking the HCG drops.

Just as with any diet, it’s important to plan to keep the weight off following the program by following a healthy diet with moderate exercise.

A Diet of Many Benefits

One of the things we love about what we do is hearing from satisfied users who’ve experienced the HCG diet for themselves. Rapid fat loss, an increased metabolism, and feelings of satiety make it an easy win for our customers.

Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page for more answers, or check out our more in-depth diet instructions.