April 9, 2015

The HCG Diet Protocol

In the previous article on the HCG Diet we learned about the theory behind the HCG Diet. Today we cover the original HCG Protocol as designed by Dr. Alfred T. W. Simeons. We will review the duration of the HCG Diet, the doses of HCG used, and the composition of the low calorie diet associated with the protocol.

HCG diet protocolHCG Diet Protocol

Nearly a pound of weight loss a day is possible with the HCG Diet. The duration of treatment depends on how much weight you need to lose.  For patients needing to lose 15 pounds the treatment is 26 days (23 injections) and for those needing to lose more the duration is 43 days (40 injections). But, treatment stops once 34 pounds is lost or 40 injections which ever comes first. If more than 34 pounds of weight loss is desired a second treatment round is given no sooner than 6 weeks from completion of the first round. The reason for the break is that the body develops resistance to HCG which is prevented/minimized if given in cycles.

More than 2 courses of treatment can be given if necessary with progressively more time between rounds of treatment. Eight weeks between a second and third round, 12 weeks between a third and fourth course, 20 weeks between a fourth and fifth round, and 6 months between a fifth and sixth round. So it is possible for someone to lose 100 pounds are more with several rounds of HCG.


The dose is 125 units of HCG per injection. In women injections are not given during menstruation, and it is recommended to start a course of treatment the day after the period ends. So in the 40 injection protocol menstrual interruption is likely.

HCG Protocol and Nutrition

Why 23 injections/26 days or 40 injections/43 days? Well, that lead us to the nutrition part of the HCG Protocol.

The HCG Protocol is based on a 500 calorie a day diet. However, on the first 3 days the individual is instructed to eat excessively. Following the third injection the 500 calorie a day restriction applies and continues for three additional days after the last injection (23rd or 40th injection), thus 26 or 43 days.

The first three days of excessive eating minimize hunger pangs associated with the first several days of injections, plus it take three days for HCG to mobilize the abnormal fat.

HCG Diet

Where should the 500 calories come from? The source of the 500 calories is critical to the success of the HCG Diet. Even cheating and consuming 600 or 700 calories will adversely affect results. Also, injecting more than 200 units of HCG daily will lead to inferior results as it seems to trigger hypothalamic counter-regulatory mechanisms. This is all based on Dr. Simeon’s research. In other words, the closer you replicate his protocol the more likely you will obtain similar results as he did.

Back to the diet.

Breakfast:  You can have unlimited tea or coffee, but without sugar but can use saccharin or Stevia. Only a tablespoon of milk is allowed throughout the day.


  • 100 grams of beef, veal, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp. All visible fat should be removed and boiled or grilled. No salmon, eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickle fish.
  • One vegetable from the following: asparagus, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, spinach, cabbage.
  • One breadstick (grissino) or one Melba toast.
  • An apple, or handful of strawberries, or one-half grapefruit.

Dinner: Same list of four options as for lunch.

Juice from one lemon daily is allowed. Salt, pepper, mustard powder, garlic, sweet basil, parsley, garlic, thyme may be used for seasoning. Butter, oil, or dressings are not permitted.

In addition, to coffee and tea, water and mineral water are permitted in unlimited quantities throughout the day. At least 2 liters of fluids should be consumed daily.

The breadstick or fruit permitted with lunch and dinner can be eaten between meals if preferred.

In essence, the HCG Diet meal options are designed to provide enough nutrients while the bulk of the calories you need each day will come from the abnormal fat being mobilized by the HCG.

HCG Diet Protocol and Cosmetics

Cosmetics can interfere with the success of the HCG Diet. Many cosmetic contain estrogen-like chemicals and other ingredients that affect hormone function including HCG (also a hormone) function. Lipstick, powder, and fat-free lotions are permitted. Mineral oil can be used for dry skin. Sun tan lotion is a no-no.

This is the gist of the original HCG Diet Protocol developed by Dr. Simeons. The closer you stick to the protocol the better your results will be.

HCG Diet Protocol: Pros and Cons

Our view on the HCG Diet is that it is a short-term tactic for a long-term problem. Yes, it can work, but to work patients must adhere to the low calorie diet and many do not and thus do not get the results they were anticipating. Also, it is difficult to maintain a moderate or strenuous exercise program while on the Protocol.

By the way, it is commonly mistaken by those with little understanding of the HCG Diet that individuals would lose the same amount of weight simply adhering to the low calorie diet without the HCG injections. That is not true. More weight is lost because of the use of HCG. There’s no way you can lose 34 pounds in 6 weeks or less eating only 500 calories a day – and the weight you would lose would involve a higher percentage of muscle (undesirable) with restricted calories alone versus the combination of restricted calories coupled with HCG.

We used to think that weight loss needed to occur slowly for individuals to have better success keeping it off, but recent studies suggest that relatively rapid weight loss that like that that can occur with the HCG Diet keeps individuals motivated.

Do you really want to take a 100 or 50 weeks to lose a 100 or 50 pounds at a rate of one pound per week over the course of a year or two? Most individuals give up if they don’t see meaningful results to keep them motivated. So that relatively rapid weight loss is a plus with the HCG Diet Protocol. But, once the desired weight is lost a more long-term strategy must be employed that addresses dietary intake, exercise, and hormone optimization.

Again, the HCG Diet Protocol is a short-term tactic to a long-term problem, but does have a place in patients who need to lose significant weight.


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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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