HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is used in combination with a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) in a medically supervised program to lose weight, reverse the metabolic dysfunction underlying obesity, and maintain weight loss. This approach is not our default strategy for weight loss, rather it is the choice when more moderate efforts at lifestyle change have failed.
Tremendous health gains are possible beyond weight loss. Stores of abnormal fat are responsible for the disruption of healthy metabolic function, thereby contributing to the development of life-shortening illness, including heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers. By losing the fat weight and keeping it off, the metabolism is enabled to reset proper, healthy function.
The protocol was developed by Italian physician Dr. A. T. W. Simeons who spent decades of his practice studying the nature of obesity. In years of work with patients, experimenting with diet and rigorously recording results, he determined that metabolic dysfunction causes the body to store fat abnormally such that it is locked away and not available as fuel for the body’s normal function, as normal fat reserves are. In his findings, it is this abnormal ‘locked away’ fat which is the cause of obesity.
You can read Dr. Simeon’s manuscript, “Pounds & Inches, a New Approach to Obesity”, here.
HCG is the pregnancy hormone which is thought to trigger the mother’s body to release stored fat to be used as fuel for the developing baby, as Nature’s way of assuring the survival of the species, even during famine. Its use in the weight loss program replicates that action: trigger the body to release abnormal fat stores normally locked away to be used as fuel source. Hence, the necessity to combine HCG with a 500-calorie/day very low fat diet in order to prompt this release.
Since HCG releases 1,500-4,000 calories of stored fat per day, dieters rarely feel hungry on this protocol. Combined with the 500 calories of food, they have access to 2000-4,500 calories/day of fuel!
HCG is taken daily for a maximum of 40 days at time, or when the dieter has lost a maximum of 25-30 pounds, whichever comes first. This phase of the protocol is followed by a maintenance phase of six weeks, in which time the use of HCG is discontinued and the dieter resumes eating normally, though carefully, and ‘trains’ the body to reset the new weight point. Without careful attention to this phase, the lost weight will be easily ‘reclaimed’ by the body that wants to resume its previous weight set point.
After 6 weeks in this phase, those dieters who have reached their target weight enter the balanced life-time eating lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed in the course of the weeks of the protocol. Those who have more weight to lose in order to reach their target do more rounds of the HCG/500 calorie/day protocol interspersed with the 6-8 week maintenance phase.
In our practice, Dr. Sharp provides medical assessment and supervision, including metabolic testing and risk assessment, body composition analysis and overall suitability for the protocol. Kathleen provides coaching on the implementation of the protocol and support throughout its duration.