The hCG Diet originated decades ago, but has gotten attention over the last couple of years. The diet’s founder, Dr. A.T.W. Simeons, published a study in the 1950s that claimed patients using hCG and a restricted diet, lost an incredible amount of weight quickly. Now 60+ years later, we still see the same results. We have a much better understanding now as to why hCG is so effective and it all goes back to gut health. We know that by working through your hCG program you will feel more energized and experience an improvement of a multitude of symptoms because you are working to balance your microbiome (the trillions of bacteria in your GI tract). Through the process of eliminating problematic foods and reducing the stress on your GI system, you will be able to lose weight and begin (or continue on) your journey to good health. Using hCG injections for weight loss has helped thousands of people quickly achieve their goals. But remember, the hCG Diet is strict, and any variation of the diet will reduce your chances of achieving your desired results.
Phase 1 (Load UP on HEALTHY FATS) Days 1 and 2 and ONLY days 1 – 2!
Phase 2 (VLCD) Days 3 – 24 (up to 40 days)
Beverages: Water (2-3 L/day or 68-100 oz/day), unsweetened tea or coffee (no more than 1 cup daily; you may consider eliminating caffeine if you know it is problematic for you or you hit a stall in your weight loss), bone broth (no more than 2 cups per day)
Daily Intake: Two 3.5oz Proteins. This is an all-inclusive list. Measure meat raw. Meat should be grilled, boiled, roasted, or broiled without adding oil or butter. Should be the highest quality you can buy: organic, hormone/antibiotic free, if possible
- Two 6.5oz Vegetables (FRESH is best, may use frozen, DO NOT use canned vegetables)
- ONE vegetable (do not mix veggies) and ONE protein for each meal
- Two Fruits
- May include 1-2 tablespoons of fermented veggies at each meal
The Last 72 hours of the VLCD Phase of the HCG Diet:
For the last 72 hours on the HCG diet (after your minimum of 24 days on the HCG and VLCD), you will have finished taking your HCG injections and you must keep following the same VLCD for 72 hours. This part is extremely important to allow your body to metabolize ALL hCG before re-introducing healthy fats back into your diet.
Phase 3 (Stabilization—The Microbiome Diet): Begins at the conclusion of the last 72 hours of the VLCD and lasts for 8 weeks. During this critical period of stabilization, you are resetting your body to your new weight and establishing the continued growth of the bacteria in your microbiome. You must stay +2lbs of your weight the morning after your last dose of hCG. You may mix your vegetables, increase your proteins (to 4-6oz.) and add healthy fats back into your diet. You will use The Microbiome Diet by Dr. Raphael Kellman as your guide. This portion of your journey is divided into 2 phases that total 8 weeks. At the end, you will have the tools you need to develop a sustainable long lasting lifestyle that will keep you heathy. It is imperative that you purchase a copy of this book and start reading it while on Phase 2 of hCG.
To be as successful as possible on your program, we recommend you take part in our Microbiome Group Program. This program includes a weigh-in every other week for continued accountability, support from others who are on this journey, and information sessions by Erin Copenhaver, PA-C to continue to guide you to a long term sustainable healthy lifestyle. Following the completion of your hCG program and your Microbiome Group Program, you should be feeling great and completely equipped to maintain your weight (or continue losing weight) and positive lifestyle changes.
Steps To Take
Patients interested in the hCG diet will meet with a provider on the first visit. She (he) will have appropriate bloodwork done and be instructed to read Dr. Simeons’ Pounds and Inches, which explains the history and protocol of the diet.
A second visit with the provider will be scheduled a week later to go over the bloodwork, and patient will meet with the weight counselor the same day to start the diet.
*Please note that most insurance plans cover visits with the provider and the bloodwork. The patient is responsible only for their normal co-pay.
The cost of the diet is separate, and is not covered by insurance.
1. What is hCG and where do I get it?
hCG is a natural substance that is produced in the human body during pregnancy. Pharmaceutical companies extract this substance from the urine of pregnant women. It is purified and made into pharmaceutical grade hCG. Although it is a natural substance, it is classified as a drug and available by prescription only. You must get hCG from a medical doctor with a prescription. The FDA has not approved hCG to be used in weight loss treatment but it is not illegal.
2. What if I just did the diet without the hCG injections?
Many double-blind studies have been conducted that give the answer to this question. If you just do the diet without the hCG injections, you will, in fact lose weight. The problem is, during the diet you will be losing muscle and structural fat; you will not lose any of the abnormal fat deposits in the problem areas. Your body will not be reshaped and re-sculpted. When you finish the diet your metabolism will be lower than before and your hunger higher than before. You will not have achieved the results you want.
3. What does the FDA say about hCG?
They state that hCG has no known effect on fat mobilization, reducing appetite or sense of hunger, or body fat distribution. They further state hCG has not been demonstrated to be an effective adjunct therapy in the treatment of obesity and does not increase fat losses beyond that resulting from caloric restriction. Just as there have been no trials to prove the effectiveness of hCG in weight reduction, there is no documentation or substantiations backing up and proving that these negative statements are true. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to support claims that hCG is effective when used with this protocol. Dr. Simeons was very clear that if the protocol was not followed exactly as described, the results would not be achieved.
4. My doctor says this won’t work and is not safe.
Doctors are educated on new drugs by pharmaceutical companies only after FDA approval. hCG will never gain FDA approval because huge amounts of money cannot be made from a naturally occurring substances, therefore no one will put up the millions of dollars for the necessary research. One of the benefits of working with Rhett Women’s Center to achieve your weight loss goals is that our staff understands the issues associated with this protocol and will be there every step of the way to help you succeed in your journey.
5. Is it true that 500 calories a day is too low to be safe?
No. As recently reported in the New York Times, research confirms that eating very low calorie diets actually increase overall health, have anti-aging effects, and increase lifespan. More importantly, when you are doing the diet combined with the hCG injections, Dr. Simeons reports that your body is being flooded with over 2,000 calories of nutrition from the releasing of the abnormal fat reserves. This is one of the reasons that during the diet, consisting of the VLCD protocol and hCG injections, you are not overly hungry and generally have an increase in energy levels.
6. During the diet am I allowed to take supplements and prescription medication?
Yes, in order to maintain a healthy nutritional balance you should use supplementation and medications that have been recommended/ prescribed. It is important to have a consult with one of our medical providers to review medications, supplements, and lab work prior to starting hCG.
7. Must I increase healthy fat intake during the first 2 days of the diet?
Yes. Dr. Simeons protocol states that normal fat reserves should reasonably well stocked to better tolerate the restrictive phase of the hCG diet. It is a fundamental mistake to start the 500-calorie diet as soon as hCG injections are started as it seems to take about three injections before abnormal fat deposits begin to get released and circulate, thus becoming available to the body as fuel.
8. Must I increase healthy fat intake during the first 2 days of the diet?
Yes. Dr. Simeons protocol states that normal fat reserves should reasonably well stocked to better tolerate the restrictive phase of the hCG diet. It is a fundamental mistake to start the 500 calorie diet as soon as hCG injections are started as it seems to take about three injections before abnormal fat deposits begin to get released and circulate, thus becoming available to the body as fuel.
9. Can I mix vegetables?
No. The intention is to limit the stress to the GI tract as much as possible, allowing for more complete digestion.
10. Can I change some of the food items on the diet?
No, you must be very strict in following the diet exactly if you want to achieve maximal weight loss. That being said, depending on your specific health needs, weight loss goals, and how you respond to the program, we may make minute changes to your food options at your weekly visits.
11. Will I be hungry during this protocol?
During Phase 2 you may be hungry, especially between one and seven days. If you follow the instructions to load up on calories the first two days, this will not be as noticeable. Too address hunger, stay adequately hydrated, incorporate bone broth daily, and incorporate fermented vegetables into your meals daily.
12. Can I use artificial sweeteners while on this protocol?
No. You should never use any artificial sweeteners. All artificial sweeteners, including NutraSweet and Splenda, should never be consumed. They increase depression, are physically, chemically addicting, and they make you fat. You may use stevia or lakanto (monk fruit extract), both natural sweeteners that are available online or in your grocery store.
13. If I am not hungry while doing the diet, do I still have to eat everything as described?
Yes. Whether you are hungry or not, you must eat the lunch and dinner in their complete form. You cannot have one big meal per day. You may take the fruit from either lunch or dinner and eat it during the morning. You may also take the fruit from dinner and eat it for a mid-day snack.
14. What if I cheat on the diet during the diet?
If you do cheat for a meal or for one or two days in a row, it means is that the weight loss process will stop for a few days or a temporary slight increase in weight may occur. Immediately start the diet again at the next meal and carry on. If you cheat on a meal every other day you are wasting your time.
Every time you cheat (deviate from the prescribed food protocol), you are setting yourself back 3 days (which could be as much as 3 lbs.)
15. What if I have low energy or hunger during the diet?
Some patients may be dealing with insulin resistance or low blood sugar. Arranging your foods appropriately and make appropriate food choice is an important part of maintaining proper energy. If this becomes an issue for you, please contact the office. It is important to come for your weekly check-ins to address this and other issues.
16. Can I eat salt?
During all the phases, salt should be used to season your food, however, always choose a high- quality salt, like: sea salt, Himalayan salt, or truffle salt.
17. How do I season/flavor my food?
Make your food as flavorful as possible while still following the parameters of the hCG protocol. We encourage you to use a variety of herbs and spices, many of which of fabulous health benefits (anti-inflammatory/gut balance). Fresh herbs are best (ex. Cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, basil) but you may also use dried herbs. Be generous with garlic, turmeric, cinnamon; all of which help encourage growth of good gut bacteria. You may use salt and pepper, and any type of vinegar. Stay away from oils/cooking sprays.
18. Are there any additional foods I can eat besides what is listed?
You can consider using 1-2 fermented vegetables (ex. Kimchee/sauerkraut) with each of your meals. Fermented vegetables contain bacteria that function as a natural probiotic that helps to replenish your healthy gut bacteria. A healthy microbial balance promotes fat loss and speeds up the metabolism.
19. The instructions in all the phases call for a large consumption of water and teas. Is this necessary?
During all hCG Diet phases you should drink a minimum of 2-3L (68-100oz) of water per day, up to a maximum of 150oz. It is important in the treatment of the obesity condition. The importance and benefits of adhering to the water cannot be emphasized enough, as iIt is absolutely vital in order for the protocol to work effectively.
20. Will I gain the weight back?
The goal in the entire program (hCG and Microbiome) is to heal your gut and establish a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria which will in turn heal your body. If you go back to eating a diet of highly processed and inflammatory foods, you will undo all the hard work, healing and weight loss, you have done on your hCG program. This is a palate changing protocol! Rather than craving greasy carbs, you will hunger for fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats.
21. If I want to lose more can I do this protocol again?
Yes, you need to wait at least 6-8 weeks between each round of hCG.
22. What if the food label says all natural?
Today, the phrase “all natural” means absolutely nothing! You must read the ingredient list on the food you are purchasing.
23. What if I show no weight loss for four days in a row?
Dr. Simeons discussed at length daily weight fluctuations and reaching weight plateaus. He explained there may be no drop of weight at all for two or three days, which is then followed by a sudden large drop which re-establishes the normal daily average of about one pound per day during Phase 2. Note that weight fluctuations occur more so in women than in men. If a person weighs themselves and notices the weight stays the same for four days in a row, the patient is told that after weighing on the fourth morning, to only eat six apples for the day. The next morning there should be a drop in weight. If there is not a drop in weight, do not be concerned. It is important to note this protocol is synthesizing and releasing so much abnormal fat, the body may retain excessive water to fully rid the system of this excess released fat and accompanying toxins. This, at times, results in no apparent weight loss on the scale, however; you must know that the body is still being reshaped and massive fat loss is still occurring.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: There are two questions that we ask immediately when the above situation arises. You may want to consider the following questions:
• (For Women) Are you having a period or are you close to having a period? This seems to cause water retention and as soon as the period is over, the weight is lost.
• How are your bowel movements? If you are not having regular daily bowel movements, you are retaining weight. It is recommended that you take a supplement or a tea that will help you become regular again. We DO NOT recommend using laxatives, stool softeners or similar over the counter medications during HCG.
• Are you drinking all your water and eating all your foods?
• Are you using more salt in excess? This can also lead to water retention.
24. Can I take higher doses of hCG?
Dr. Simeons said to never go above 200 of hCG IU per day.
25. Can I stay on Phase 2 longer than six weeks?
Dr. Simeons found that the body has a tendency to create immunity to hCG; therefore, staying on the diet for longer than a total of 40 injections is not advised.
26. How much does this cost?
Our programs range from $395-$595. Every individual has different needs and desires. Here at Rhett Women’s Center, we take pride in being able to customize our program to suit your individual needs.
27. How much can I expect to lose?
Provided you have optimal hormones and nutrients and have addressed any underlying medical issues, we expect about ½ a pound to 1 pound daily during the active phase of hCG.
28. What are possible side effects?
Not all side effects happen to all people, some individuals show none or all of the following symptoms:
• Mood Swings
• Blood Clots
• Water Retention
• Breakthrough Bleeding
29. When should I contact the office?
Please contact our office immediately if you experience any of the following:
• Severe pelvic pain
• Swelling of the hands or legs
• Stomach pain and/or swelling
• Shortness of breath
• Weight gain 3 days in a row
• Nausea or vomiting
• No weight loss for more than 4 days in a row
• Depression, anxiety
• Unrelieved hunger pangs
30. (For Women) What about my period?
We recommend you stop taking the hCG injections for the first three days of your menstrual cycle, but continue the VLCD protocol foods as normal. Resume the hCG injections on the fourth morning of your cycle.
hCG Patient Testimonials
“I really was never hungry except at a family event with great food—which I resisted!” Dr. Edmund Rhett
Results may vary by patient.