The HCG diet consists of four parts or “phases”. The part that gains the most attention is the HCG diet 2nd phase. This is because it is the phase when your caloric intake is limited to 500 calories per day. To those just looking at the diet this seems like an extreme, starvation nearing limitation. The key to understanding this phase is understanding how HCG works and what it is.
First, what is HCG?
HCG, or human chorionic gonadrophin, is a chemical produced in the placenta of pregnant women to allow the growing fetus access to mom’s stored fat when enough isn’t being taken in.
Next, how does HCG work for weight loss?
The same way the fat stores are accessed in pregnancy, the fat stores are released into the bloodstream. The abnormal stores of fat that the HCG instructs the hypothalamus to release are those stores that are typically only accessed when a body is nearing starvation. They are also the unsightly collections of fat that we work so hard to get rid of that never seem to go away. Furthermore, if left untreated these collections of fat can lead to obesity and many other life threatening ailments.
Finally, Why 500 calories?
The 500 calorie protocol that Dr. Simeons created is based on what the body needs to be healthy as well as what will allow the optimum amount of weight to be lost. Each session of the diet is short because it is unhealthy to lose too much weight too quickly. 500 calories, when made up of the specific foods on the HCG diet approved foods list, provides the vitamins and nutrients needed to be healthy while also allow the 3000 to 4000 calories being released into the bloodstream by the HCG to be burned as effectively as possible.
Another equally important component of the 2nd phase of the HCG diet is the approved foods list. The list is short but must not be deviated from. The foods allowed are the ones that work best with the HCG while providing the necessary nutrients to maintain optimum health while on the restricted calories portion of the HCG diet. Phase 1 of the diet is called the load phase. This is the time you prepare your body for phase 2, VLCD (very low calorie diet). The 3rd phase is a 2 part maintenance plan which restrains your metabolism and ensures long term success. Phase 4 is the life phase. This is when you return to normal eating.