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What is the HCG diet protocol?

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Quick Answer

The original hCG diet, invented by London physician A.T.W. Simeons in the 1950s, limited food intake to 500 calories per day, banned the use of lotions and makeup, prohibited exercise and called for daily injections of human chorionic gonadotropin into the thigh. Modern hCG diets allow up to 800 calories per day, and may allow hCG in drop or pill form or add vitamins or supplements to it.

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Full Answer

Some hCG diet protocols now allow moderate exercise, such as up to 30 minutes of walking per day, while banning strenuous exercise such as aerobics or running. Some allow makeup and lotions that are oil-free. Those with 500-calorie restrictions allow dieters to consume those calories however they wish, as long as they choose organic meats, vegetables and fish while excluding all fats, dairy, carbohydrates, alcohol and sugar.

Many believe it is the low-calorie aspect of the diet that results in dramatic weight loss rather than the hCG in whatever form it's used. Others claim that hCG helps block hunger and allows the body to lose weight but not muscle despite the severely restricted caloric intake. The FDA advises consumers not to use the hCG hormone other than for fertility issues, and it is not approved as an over-the-counter weight loss medicine.

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