Master The HCG Diet: Plan, Injections, Side Effects and Much More


woman injecting hcg substance

October 2015 UPDATE: FDA issued a warning – HCG Diet Products Are Illegal!

HCG diet was created by the British doctor A.T. Simeons, author of the book ‘Pounds & Inches. In his book, the doctor has exposed the theory behind this very popular program.

What makes this program stand out from the other weight loss methods is the fact that it uses a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. This is a special type of hormone, usually found in women at pregnancy.

At the beginning of pregnancy, the role of this hormone is to support the body in a fat burning process, especially when fat is broken down and used to feed the baby.

The 3 Phases of HCG Diet Plan

There are three main phases in the plan:

  1. Loading phase – This is a preparatory phase. You are free to eat whatever you want for just two days. The following period will be much stricter.
  2. Maintenance phase – This is the stage in which you will really start to see results, provided that you follow the rules. For three weeks, you need to follow a 500 calorie meal plan per day.
  3. Stabilization phase – Like in other programs, this is a transition phase, in which you progressively switch from extremely low-calorie levels to higher ones. It is designed to allow a come-back to a regular diet, without the dangers of putting on weight.

This is a very low-calorie diet, and a lot of people get scared at the thought of extreme hunger. However, Dr. Simeons argues that there is no starvation involved. HCG will help people conquer their food cravings and go through this phase without any struggling.

[pull_quote_center]HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.[/pull_quote_center]

Related studies:

Rabe, T., et al. (1987). “Risk-benefit analysis of a hCG-500 kcal reducing diet (cura romana) in females“, in Geburtshilfe und Reauenheilkunde, Vol. 47(5).

Lijesen, G. K., et al. (1995). “The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis“, in British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Vol. 40(3).

Foods You Can Eat While on This Diet

salad with spinach leaves

The fact that you have quite a freedom regarding what foods you are allowed to eat make this diet really attractive for people all around the world. Due to the low-calorie limit, you will not be able to eat a lot in the second phase.

However, being able to enjoy a variety of foods makes things a little easier. Below you can find five groups of foods with examples that you can enjoy during the second phase:

  1. Beverages – Water, coffee, milk, and tea.
  2. Vegetables – Lettuces, spinach, asparagus, chicory, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbage.
  3. Meat & fish – Chicken breast, shrimp, veal, and crab.
  4. Seasonings – Salt, pepper, vinegar, basil, garlic, and parsley.
  5. Fruits – Oranges, apples, strawberries, and grapefruits.

This is just a part of the food list you can follow. There is enough variety to prevent getting bored during whole three weeks.

The Difference Between HCG Drops & Injections

As mentioned, HCG plays a key role in this dietary plan, as it should suppress appetite and allow you to maintain such a low-calorie intake without any issues. The question is, how do you get it into your body?

There are two primary forms of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin you can take:

  1. Original injectionsThese were developed and used first. You need to inject these deep into muscles (leave administration for medical professional at a clinic). If you add the cost of the mixing kits, syringes, solutions, and clinic fees, the price can get high.
  2. Homeopathic drops – The second option is more convenient and much cheaper. You don’t need to deal with needles and worry about the administration. You can easily put the drops under your tongue and be done with it.

Because this diet has grown to be quite popular, selling products such as the drops is a profitable business. This attracted lots of companies which offer drops of questionable quality.

Pay attention: Always double-check how reliable the producer is and don’t make your choice based only on price. Legit companies do not always supply the cheapest products.

Most Common Side Effects

young woman with headache

As with any method out there, some people may experience side effects. Therefore, you need to monitor the progress and seek medical advice whenever you feel something is not right.

This diet is a low-calorie one and some common side effects found in such regimens are light-headedness, headaches, irritability, and light water retention.

HCG should facilitate the transition to the low-calorie intake. Those who chose to use injections may develop:

  • Redness
  • Swelling in the injected area.

This happens only in the cases in which the injections were not properly administrated. Make sure you know how to administer the injections properly or get some qualified professional help.

Another element to take into account is that it is a hormone, and the human hormonal system is a very sensitive. Although there were generally no reports of severe hormonal problems, there were cases of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome that include stomach and pelvic pain, swelling, and shortness of air.

Pay attention: Whenever you experience something that does not feel right, you should seek medical advice right away. It is best to be under medical supervision while following this diet (have blood tests done and a complete medical evaluation before starting any diet).

HCG Diet & Exercise

young couple jogging

Dr. Simeons recommends only moderate exercising while following his special diet. This includes for example:

  • Walking
  • Taking the stairs (instead of elevator)
  • Light biking

Some people are confused with the fact that intense exercising is not encouraged. It all has to do with the fact that this is a low-calorie (particularly low-carb) diet overall, and while performing high-intensity exercises, your body needs carbs as a source of energy.

Pay attention: Dr. Simeons argues that HCG drives metabolic rate up and that it also facilitates the break-up and use of fat to produce energy. This is good news, as typically when you lose weight, your body starts to break-up part of your muscles to use the amino acids as a source of energy.

Vegetarians & Their Options

Girl Eating Fruits and Vegetables

Normally, protein is part of the daily menu, and the main source of proteins are meat and fish. In this context, it seems that vegetarians would not be able to follow this diet.

This is not quite the case as in most situations, there are alternative solutions. It depends on what type of vegetarian you are, though.


This group of people avoids meat but is allowed to eat fish. This is the easy case, as this diet shouldn’t be any real problem for them at all.


This group of people doesn’t eat both meat and fish. However, they do eat eggs and dairy products. It is still possible to follow the plan, getting your daily protein intake from fat-free cottage cheese, fat-free milk, and egg whites.


This group of people avoids all animal products. You can still use soy, and vegan protein powder shakes as a source of protein. However, in this case, it seems extremely challenging to get good results with this diet.

Way to Get The Best Results with HCG Diet

woman with detoxing smoothie

To get the best results, this weight loss program should suit your lifestyle to some degree. If dieting is a permanent struggle, you will be very tempted to cheat, and your results will be poor.


Remember, your carbs consumption will be very limited. If you are currently eating a lot of carbs, you may consider lowering their share in your diet progressively as this will make it easier for your body to adjust.


Another element to consider is exercising as Dr. Simeons recommends only light workouts. If you are currently going for very intense workouts, you should adjust this for the period in which you plan to follow the diet.

Tips worth following for best success:

  1. Make sure you learn all you can before you start. You should start with Dr. Simeons’ book ‘Pounds & Inches‘.
  2. Any diet involves some degree of stress for your body. It is not the best idea to plan your weight reduction during the most stressful period of the year, after going through a prolonged illness and so on.
  3. Regarding products, using injections or drops depends on your personal preference. However, you need to be very careful in choosing a reputable company that produces only high-quality products.

Getting medical support is key to make sure you are safe and to maximize the results. The best way is to start by a complete medical examination including blood tests and to stay in touch with your doctor throughout the dieting process.

Hello, I hope you find here all the best info that will help you lose weight and feel healthy and fit!!! I want to make this site a great resource for everybody. Please always consult your decisions with your doctor. This website is for informational purposes only!!! REMEMBER: There is no such thing as a miracle cure. If something sounds too good to be true, you should be cautious. DISCLAIMER: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Remember, I am not responsible for the comments, I am not able to verify authenticity of comments posted. Please, do your own research before you decide to take any action.
  • landtinky

    My experience. I am currently on day 11 and believe me it’s working. I’m down 11lbs since I started and I constantly have to remind myself to eat. In the beginning (the first days after the loading phase) I was hungry, but nothing to the extreme and now I don’t even feel hungry or empty. I still have a long way to go to my ideal weight, but the HCG diet is helping me get there. I eat a lot more healthier now than I ever did. I’m taking the injections and trust me its not that hard to do. I’ve never tied the drops, so I don’t know if it works. I read Dr. Siemons book and I follow it to a T. NO soda or diet soda nothing that is not recommended by him. I recommend this diet to everyone that has experience the same dieting experience as me (I’ve tried EVERYTHING) and has been able to lose a couple of pounds and then can’t continue to commit. One more thing for those who are asking about exercising, I personally only play with my Nintendo Wii every other day and I’m still losing one pound a day.

    • JoAnne

      can you use sweet and low or just stevia??? i only use sweet and low in tea… i only use milk in coffee and i am a big coffee drinker so I will have to get used to drinking it black… but i’m hoping it will be worth it….

  • Christina Warner-Nelson

    I would not do this diet unless you were under a drs care at the time. It is extreme but it works I have seen fantastic results. There are many reasons to choose the shots over the pills or drops. For one it absorbs faster and another is there is less room for error. I take mine at the same time every morning , I was given supplements to take as well . 500 calories seems extreme but after you start the diet you will feel full . You can have diet soda no more than two a day . It is normal to have cravings , we all do no matter if we are on a diet or not . I was the queen of carbs and sweets and although I have a craving it is not severe. This diet has many phases it doesn’t stop when you are done with the medication. You eat healthy for women that means about 1200- 1400 calories in healthier foods and increase your exercise routine. It is not a quick fix it takes being motivated to make a life style changes. That being said if you are living a healthily lifestyle and getting exercise you can have some of those things you crave . Just don’t over do it I would recommend this diet to anyone hands down.

  • Smurfette

    There are no reasons to take the injections, most compounding pharmacies make the liquid hormone that can be used under toungue as drops that are as efficient as injections.
    I am currently on day 8 and It’s so hard… no wonder they say this is one of the most difficult diets both mentally and physically, you get very very very hungry, it doesen’t supress appetite that much, you want to stop every day, you get a bit weak, no energy and cranky cause you cant eat other stuff but… you get the results. Ihave to lose around 25 pounds and I have already lost around 10.
    I still have another 32 days to go (they say the process slows down a bit the more days you successfully complete)
    Also I am not stopping as I have paid 600.00 to a compounding pharmacy to make this for me after I’ve paid 70.00 to see a doctor and get a prescription.
    On average I am losing anywhere from 1 to 1.5 pounds a day and the results are Very Very visible. I hope this helps to all that area reading this post.

    • Cherry G Vangalder

      I can do a round of hcg 23 days lose 20-25 PDS take supplements for less then 60 dollars a shot in belly in morning and good to go

      • socalgal

        just wondering about your reply. Do you do the supplement and shots? i mean i only do shots and am still hungry I am 5’5″ 150 and am starving still on 25 cc of the shot each morning. what can i do?

    • Ann

      I did the drops and they never helped with the hunger. They say that if you are hungry you don’t have the real hormone.

    • CPerk

      You’re hungry because the drops do not provide any type of appetite suppressant. On shots you do not get hungry.

    • Barb Price

      I just paid about $80 for my HCG to be injected from a compounding pharmacy. I’m only on day 3 (my first low cal day) so am anxious to see what the scales show tomorrow!

  • Geoff

    Maybe it’s just the injections, but this sounds way too extreme for me. I’ll stick to exercize before I poke a needle in my arm, thanks.

  • Jessica Bell

    Only moderate exercise? This sounds fantastic for me! I’m really not into exercising. I try but it just doesn’t ever seem to go well. I’m too tired, I don’t have time, my kids and husband need me… You know the story.

    The HCG Diet sounds interesting. I’m not sure about using hormones to aid in weight loss but this plan seems solid.

  • Maria K.

    My friends were recently talking about a new diet where you are only allowed 500 calories a day. They said they knew people who are doing it. I wonder if they were talking about The HCG Diet? If so, I don’t think they understand that there’s more to this system than just cutting calories!

  • Susan Wilde

    I have been hearing so much about the The HCG Diet lately. It seems like everywhere I go someone is talking about it. There’s a lot of buzz about this program.

    Personally, I think it sounds very effective but maybe too extreme for me. I can see it being very beneficial for someone who is looking for rapid weight loss.

    • Vance

      I’ve been hearing about it too, but I think I’ve heard that there are some foods that are naturally high in this chemical, so that you can ingest it rather than inject it 🙂

    • Cherry G Vangalder

      You can increase your calories up to 800 a day you will not lose as fast but I lost 58 PDS in 6 wks if you follow diet

      • JoAnne

        wow— incredible!!!!

  • Linda

    I appreciate that The HCG Diet offers alternatives for vegetarians and vegans. Most weight loss plans don’t and I can personally say that I would never break my vegan diet just to fit myself into a program. I’m glad doctor A.T. Simeons understands those with restricted diets and is willing to work with them.

  • Jess MN

    Woah, the HCG Diet sounds seriously intense but I bet it works wonders. The program sounds solid and I like that there’s real science to back it up. I’m not sure this program is for me but I’m really intrigued by the idea of harnessing certain hormones to help aid in weight loss.

  • spiritholistics

    Ya know I have been pregnant twice and didnt even realize there was a hormone that helps with burning fat. Great concept to harness that hormone property to help burn fat in non pregnant women. Geniouse actually.

    I love how you explain each phase, helps me make a better decision. The foods to eat sections is great. Most of the time getting started on a supplement can be easy, but chosing the right food to eat can be confusing. Especially when my gaining weight is the lack of healthy food knowledge in the first place.

    • Donald

      There’s definitely hormones that help people gain fat, but this is the first that I’ve heard of fat burning hormones too. I’d love to know more about it.

  • Chantelle Clark

    I’m not the best when it comes to swallowing pills, but I’ve managed to become tolerant of doing so. But injecting myself… because I am on a diet?! I’m not one for needles in the first place, so I really don’t think I would be all that excited to hop on the band wagon for this one.

    I think it’s great that it is a lower calorie diet, that is paired with low intensity exercise (no intensive stuff), but I tend to play sports a lot, so I really don’t think that this would be for me, as interesting as it seems, diet wise.

    Great information though!

    • Brianne

      I’m with you. I’d love to see this made into a shake, or maybe even a patch would work. Are there any weight loss patches on the market these days? That sounds easy enough.

  • Ruth Martin

    One more comment, this is my last one, I promise! The one thing I do like about what I read on the HCG diet was the fact that only light exercise is recommended. I don’t do well with heavy exercise – it makes me light-headed and dizzy. Probably because of my blood sugar level problems. Anyway, great job on the weight loss info on your site, Christine, I’m learning a lot!

  • Ruth Martin

    Thanks for including the MayoClinic and WebMD sites’ information about HCG. I visit their sites a lot for health info, I know I can trust them.

    • Brittany

      Hi everyone.
      Iam officially starting the drops tomorrow morning. I am a bit nervous. I do have some questions tho. Maybe you all can help. At what times of the day do you take the drops and how many drops at once? I only want to lose 20lbs. Im excited to start this journey

  • Ruth Martin

    I’m still not quite convinced with the HCG diet, but I liked what I read on here about the Fat Loss Factor program, by Dr. Livingston. That sounded very doable and natural. I’m sure that everyone has their own personal preferences though 🙂

  • Ruth Martin

    Someone once sent me a free book that was all about HCG – if I was going to try it, it would have to be the drops, I don’t do needles! Does anyone know how the drops taste?

    • Nel

      They are souwer, like a lemon…

    • Rose

      I found them to be tasteless. Varies from brand to brand perhaps?

    • Alex

      There are also HCG pills that you leave under your tongue until they dissolve, and they taste sweet.

  • Ruth Martin

    I need to watch what I eat constantly, or I gain weight. It’s really depressing. I’m wondering if there is a way to maintain my weight better? Or is HCG just for losing extra weight?

    • Cherry G Vangalder

      You won’t use hcg to control hunger when not on diet you would gain weight that’s why fats…sugars and carbs are controlled but lots of time drink a glass or two of water hunger will ease

  • Ryan Levine

    I don’t know about this one… maybe it’s just an emotional reaction, but the thought of having to inject myself with anything just to lose weight seems a little extreme. It’s like using steroids in reverse!

    • Kim

      Can’t feel the teeny tiny needle. I took my first dose today.

  • Amanda Austin

    Your posts are so honest, it’s great that you include the benefits AND the side effects. Thanks to you I am sure I won’t be trying this diet considering the FDA has issued a warning on it. You are a life saver!

  • Janette

    Thanks Christine for a great article, I particularly like how you have mentioned they are other methods of ingestion other than a needle as this thought quite scares me, Also being a mother myself i do not want my Children to see me injecting myself or having needle marks when i goto pick them up from school.

    • Jeanne

      Janette…I was scared of needles also…but I figured if I became a diabetic from being overweight I would need to use needles for insulin. Plus, you inject into belly fat so you won’ t feel it much or see it. I was on it a few years ago & lost over 80 lbs. I have been bad…I went back to overeating the wrong foods & have gained back 20 or so….but it does work. I have to lots of health issues to exercise, can’t be on feet to long or I can’t walk for days , plus I was always the one that never saw results or gained the energy that so many do. I have done the drops, the homeopathic & injections. I had best results with the injections…so I always went back to that method. Never hungry with that method. Hope this helps. Good luck!!!!

      • JoAnne

        great answer…. my sugar was starting to get on the high side from all the darn carbs,… my cholesterol and triglycerides were fine but my sugar concerns me… you are so right about the shots… i was soooo squeamish Monday when I gave myself the first one with the dr right next to me.. he promised it wouldnt hurt and frankly, i dont feel a thing!!!!

    • Jeanne

      I understand being scared of needles. I was also at first, but I figured if I ended up a diabetic for being overweight I would have to use needles then. So I learned to deal with it & got over it. Yes at times I still freaked but overcame my fears. Besides, you put it in your belly fat, so it really doesn’t hurt. So needles marks to see, unless you are wearing a mid drift top. lol. I have tried the all forms, injections, drops & homeopathic, nothing was as effective as the injections. I had lost 80 lbs a few years ago. So I can attest…this does work. You just have to stick to it & change your life style. I admit I have been bad & went back to eating the wrong foods so I have gained back 20+ but I am ready to start back on it soon…Hope this helps. Good luck!!!!

  • Eve Schofield

    Is it safe losing weight this quick? In my personal opinion i think that surely it must be safer than being heavily overweight?

  • Rebecca Finnigan

    If using needles please make sure you use fresh needles each time and do not share needles to avoid infection. Just thought i would mention this although im sure everyone knows about sharing needles.

  • Dannielle Houston

    Has anyone who tried the diet found that they have cravings for sugar? I myself love a can of cola and often find this being one of the downfalls of my diets (as this is where it spirals out of control) But does the HCG surpress the need for this?

    • Smurfette

      Hi Danielle,

      You can cheat** a little bit and have a can of diet coke every other day it will not change the way you lose weight but you have to be strict with the rest of the food plan in order to work. I don’t find myself craving sugars so much, but I crave all the food in general because your body in this stage is so deprived of so many other foods and the food is so plain – you find yourself craving all sorts of stuff like soups and cheese and rice and REGULAR coffe, like cap. and lates, because you are ONLY allowed one tablespoon of milk a day! .. things you don’t normally crave because it’s so readily available to you.
      I found myself craving boiled celery today and I NEVER crave vegetables cause I usually eat a lot of them when not on this diet anyway!

    • landtinky

      You can try 100% liquid stevia. I’m a sugar freak and trust me this is working for me. No you CAN NOT cheat or else it won’t do you any good.

  • Ashleigh Draper

    Just a quick question, As this diet will surely result in quick weight loss as it will burn your current fat as you are not taking in enough food is there an ideal weight or BMI to stop this diet at? I know most people would like to be slim but at what stage would this diet become unsafe?

  • Charlotte Robbins

    I like the fact that you can still eat chicken does this also mean turkey would be ok?

  • Matty Brown

    SO hang on? Take the tablets, cut back on the food that your not craving anyway as your appetite is surprised and no heavy exercising on top sounds like a piece of cake (pun intended)

  • Irene Jones

    Im still skeptical about this diet, as some may say I am a wimp but i don’t like the idea of needles however i would try the tablets but i don’t know if i have the will power to cut down so drastically.

  • Gemma McFadden

    I had never heard of this diet until reading this either, However it is very interesting. Christine mentions that it is important to buy these from reputable sources. Do you have any links to websites? or store suggestions where good quality hcg can be purchased. Preferably in the tablet form as I’m not a fan of needles.

  • Dave

    I love the fact that there are no difficult meals to prepare or buy (for an extra cost) Once you have the pills / or injections. I don’t like needles personally so will probably opt for the pills as its easier and doesn’t look dodgy if you need to do it while at work or whatever.

  • Lisa

    I never heard of this diet before. I am usually not able to catch Dr. Oz show because of my work schedule. So, I missed this one. It sounds very good. I would say if you could handle a strict diet for 3 weeks you will see the results.I would say for me, I would definitely have to build up one day at a time. I would have to try to make it up to a week and then increase it until I could do the 3 weeks.

  • BD

    I could never do injections…I hate needles. Yikes!!