The HCG Diet

Dr Sandra Cabot and nurse Vanessa McDermott discuss the effective rapid weight loss program known as the HCG diet. HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin; a hormone produced in pregnancy that allows your body to access fat stores that can be used in the form of a compounded drop alongside a strict calorie-controlled diet to lose weight. If followed correctly, people lose 5-8 kilos in 3 weeks on the HCG diet, making it great for people who want to lose weight quickly. In this podcast, they go into a lot of detail about the diet, what’s involved and what to expect while doing it.

Listen to this podcast and leave a comment below if you have any questions.

DR CABOT: Hello, everyone. My name is Dr Sandra Cabot. And today I’m talking to you about the famous HCG diet for rapid weight loss. And I’m joined by nurse Vanessa McDermott. Hi, Vanessa.

VANESSA: Hi, everybody. Welcome. Can’t wait to start talking to you about HCG and see some fabulous results. I myself done it and lost 8 kilos in the rapid weight loss phase and another 12 kilos slowly after that. So I’m down 20 kilos. Go me!

DR CABOT: It does work. Well, it’s a very famous diet, the HCG diet. Was developed in the 1960s by an English doctor, Dr Simeons. And it’s been used a lot in Hollywood by celebrities who want to look fabulous for some movie. And it’s used by people who want rapid weight loss. Perhaps there’s a wedding or special event that you really want to get those kilos off rapidly. And that’s what this diet is designed to do.

VANESSA: Summer is coming, everybody! And I’ve had loads if phone calls saying how everybody’s gained stacks of weight with these lockdowns we’re all facing and they’ve eaten the wrong food. But let’s surprise everyone and go out of lockdown quite a few kilos down. Bikini body!

DR CABOT: That’s right. So HCG, it stands for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, which is produced from the placenta during pregnancy and enables women during times of famine to access the deeper levels of fat in their body to keep the fetus alive. So basically, it facilitates fat burning, the HCG.

VANESSA: Don’t be scared, guys. This diet is not going to make you grow breasts or anything like that. It is for males and females. Put simply, it’s just the hormone in pregnancy. And it’s a very, very low dose.

DR CABOT: Yes. And you take it orally. You take the HCG drops twice a day.

VANESSA: Yep. Once in the morning, once in the night, approximately 12 hours apart.

DR CABOT: And you do need a prescription. It’s made up by a compounding chemist. It’s a little bit controversial. Some of our institutions don’t really like it because it’s made up by a compounding chemist, and it’s not a branded drug from a drug company. So, it’s a little bit controversial. But still, people want it because they see their friends do it and they go, “Wow, what happened to you? I want something to get the weight off rapidly.”

VANESSA: That’s exactly right. And let’s face it, once you get to a certain age, that weight tends to stick around our bellies and our bums, and it gets harder to get off every year. And this is a sure fire if you stick to the diet, which isn’t hard. Because what Sandra hasn’t told you yet, is HCG tricks the part of your brain called the hypothalamus from feeling any hunger. So, whilst you’re on the diet, you’re not hungry at all.

DR CABOT: Correct. Yeah. You have to stick to the diet because it is only 500 calories a day and it’s low carbohydrate and low fat. But it’s only for 21 days that you have to stick to that diet.

VANESSA: Yeah, it’s high protein. And to be perfectly honest, when I was on the diet, it was actually a chore to go and eat because I wasn’t hungry. As far as the foods and stuff goes, they’re all easy and cheap to buy at your local supermarket. You’re looking at proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables. There’s nothing out there that’s going to go and cost you a fortune. There’s no premade meals and snacks. You’re looking at things like chicken, turkey, ham without fat on it, fresh fruit, apples, oranges, strawberries and fresh veggies, lettuce, cucumbers, celery. Those sorts of veggies.

DR CABOT: Yeah, green veggies. Not starchy. So, it’s a healthy diet, but it’s very low calorie and it reboots the hypothalamus. So, it’s working on different levels. And so, if you’re a person who has imbalance in their hunger hormones. Let’s say you’ve been overweight for a long time and nothing will get you started. This is a kickstart. This kind of gives your hypothalamus a kick, which it needs to reboot your hormones to get you burning fat. And a lot of people who’ve been overweight for a long time have very high levels of leptin and insulin. You can measure it in their blood. And unless we get those hormones down, then you will not lose weight. And we get your brain responding to those hunger hormones again. So that’s why you don’t feel hungry.

VANESSA: That’s exactly right, guys. Sounds a bit too good to believe. It actually really works. So, Sandra’s been talking about 500 calories; very, very low calorie, very low carb diet. What she hasn’t said is it’s very, very high in protein. And what that does, guys, is it puts you into what’s known as ketosis. We’ve all heard that word. Everybody loves that word, but nobody really knows what it means. What it means, is basically your body is going to get very clever because of the high protein -low carbohydrate, you go into what’s known as ketosis. And your body is going to convert all that stored fat you’ve got into energy to fuel your body. So, whilst you’re on the diet, you’re actually going to have more energy than what you’ve got now because carbs, believe it or not, guys, slow you down. So, in ketosis, your body is converting all that stored fat to energy and it’s fueling it. So, you’re gonna have loads more energy and goodbye to those afternoon nana naps.

DR CABOT: Yeah, true. And you can expect to lose between 6 and 8 kilograms over the three weeks. But you’ve got to take the drops regularly and you’ve got to stick to the diet. Absolutely.

VANESSA: Yeah. My advice from somebody who is an absolute sugar and carb addict is before you start the diet, get your head in the right head space and throw all that chocolate and ice cream and scones and everything I used to eat out before you start. Have your food prepared, which we’ve got in the book or we can send it to you in email version. Have it ready to go and you can’t fail, guys. First day or two, I’ve got to admit, bit hard because those sugar cravings are hard. But we have supplements that help with those, don’t we, Sandra?

DR CABOT: Oh, they make a huge difference. Yeah. The Syndrome X powder is very good. Synd X Extreme Protein is very good for cravings.

VANESSA: And we use the Tyrosine. It also keeps you feeling up and happy. And it also reduces the food cravings.

DR CABOT: Yes. And drinking water. Put a bit of salt and magnesium in it. That keeps your energy up and reduces cravings. Drink a lot of water.

VANESSA: Yeah. You have to drink two liters of water on the diet and as it’s getting warmer, guys, it’ll be a little bit more. Always add an extra half a liter on for what we call an insensible loss. But that’s something I’ll talk to you guys in person or over the phone about.

DR CABOT: And our little booklet is very good. You get that booklet as part of the Weight Loss Detective program, if you want to do the HCG diet. But you need a prescription for the HCG, which we can arrange. And sometimes people do it again! Like, they might do it for 21 days and then go on a maintenance program with meal plans, which we can provide. And then they go, “I really want to lose another 6 to 8 kilos in a hurry” and they can do it again, can’t they?

VANESSA: Yeah, that’s right. Most people generally do the 3 week course. If you’ve got loads of weight to lose to start with, some people will do 42 days. 42 days can be a bit monotonous and boring. It is easily to do, and then you’ll need to have a break for at least a month after that, whilst you go into the maintenance phase of your diet. Okay? And that’s basically continuing on eating the same good healthy foods, but just a little bit more of it. The reason people fail in this diet, is people tend to get lazy and go back to their old eating habits and it becomes a wine night and pizzas and those sorts of things. Occasionally that is fine. But we can’t say…

DR CABOT: Not only 21 days.

VANESSA: Yeah. And you can’t do it all the time, guys. All that weight will creep back.

DR CABOT: Yeah, that’s right. The carbs, you got to stay off the carbs. And wine is very high in carbs. If you want to have a drink, it’s better to have a spirit.

VANESSA: Pains me to say it, but she’s telling the truth, guys. Your gin and tonic or your vodka. And lemon, whatever it is that you want.

DR CABOT: And you can make your own drink mix with lime and lemon. Put a little bit of Nature Sweet Sugar Substitute in it, some soda water.

VANESSA: And Sandra’s actually got a really nice book on low carb cocktails.

DR CABOT: Yes. We have the “Low Carb Cocktail Party”.

VANESSA: Yes, it’s a great little book. I have it in my bar at home. There you go.

DR CABOT: So, what about the stabilization phase? That’s what they do after the HCG diet.

VANESSA: Look, what we do is we’ll do something together with you. I like to say you go grain and sugar free. I find that really easy. Other people say, “Look, I have to have my toast. Or I have to have this and I have to have that.” So, we work out compromises and what things are really important to you to keep in the diet. So, some people will say they have to have their latte every morning.

DR CABOT: Oh, that’s all right! Just don’t put sugar in it. Put the Nature Sweet.

VANESSA: So, we’ll work out something that will suit you. As a general rule, you can follow Sandra’s book “I Can’t Lose Weight… And I Don’t Know Why?” And you follow the stage 1 and stage 2 in that. Or more simply, you can just go grain and sugar free.

DR CABOT: Yeah. And before they do the 21 days of the HCG drop, there’s something called the loading phase.

VANESSA: Oh, the first two days of your diet. So, we’re taking a step back, guys. Sandra is talking about when you start the diet, you take the drops for the first two days. Now, HCG takes 48 hours to build up in your body and start working and 48 hours to completely leave your body. So, while we’re waiting for the drops to work, we do what’s known as the “loading phase”. So, the first 2 days of your diet, we get you to eat every 2 to 3 hours. And you’re eating foods that are high in what they call good fat. So, they’re things like your cheeses, your nuts, your custards, your creams, your yogurts. Those sorts of things. Why we do that is when you first go into ketosis, your body can struggle a bit to get into those deep-stored fats. So, they’ll take it from your circulatory system first, guys. So, first 2 days of your diet is not like a diet at all. You’re eating very regularly, 2 to 3 hours. And I will also tell you to pop in those sneaky foods that you’re going to miss. So, if you’re a chocoholic, I’ll tell you to have a few bits. If it’s pizza, is your poison, then you can have a slice or two of that because you won’t be having it once the diet starts on day 3. Once the diet starts on day 3, you’ll follow our eating plan, which is outlined in the book, and it does consist of morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. So again, you are eating regularly, but it’s much more structured and we tell you exactly what to eat. So, morning and afternoon tea, you’ll have piece of fruit from our list. And lunch and dinner, you’ll have a protein serve, plus a serving of salad or vegetables of your choice.

DR CABOT: Yes, that’s true. And the other thing that I think is a little bit of a myth is people are told they can’t use any moisturizing creams.

VANESSA: No, we even have that in our book for a while. And after doing an extensive, extensive literature search, we found out that that’s just not true.

DR CABOT: So, you don’t have to have dry skin during it.

VANESSA: No, you can use all the normal shampoo, conditioners makeup, guys. So, no more of this having to go and buy all oil-free stuff for your skin and your hair. It’s not necessary. It doesn’t make an ounce of difference to your weight loss. So again, that’s another money saver.

DR CABOT: Yeah. And the thing about the HCG diet, is only for 21 days. It’s very strict, but you’ve got to be in the right head space. You’ve got to go, “Right! I’m going to nail this!” And you’ve got to be totally focused. Like you’re a warrior. You’ve got to stick to it and fight every little distraction among other people that are telling you, “Don’t do it! It’s extreme. It’s unhealthy, blah, blah, blah.” You have to really want to nail this for yourself and you have to be in the right state of mind.

VANESSA: That’s right, guys. And you can use me. You can ring me up once a week and I’ll record your weight loss and we’ll troubleshoot any issues you might be having. Occasionally, weight loss may stall, and you may lose less than 200 grams. If that happens, I’m going to see what’s going on with your bowels. And we’ll probably end up doing a protein-only day because some people it’s got nothing to do with your size or your starting weight. Some people require more protein than others to stay in a strong ketosis. It’s all got to do with your metabolism. That’s why being able to ring and talk to me once a week is a good thing as well. Keeps you on track. You’ve got somebody there to support you, and it’s great all over.

So, who can’t do this diet, Sandra?

DR CABOT: Well, if you’ve had certain cancers. There’s never been any studies to show that someone who’s got a hormone sensitive cancer could be at risk from HCG. So, if you’ve got breast cancer or uterine cancer or ovarian cancer, we don’t have studies to show that HCG is safe.

VANESSA: So, we wouldn’t recommend it.

DR CABOT: No. We can help your lose weight in other ways.

VANESSA: That’s correct.

DR CABOT: There’s many ways to lose weight. We have many different strategies. So, the contraindication would be if you have had in the past or you do have currently or hormone sensitive cancer. Also, you wouldn’t do it when you’re pregnant. That’s for sure.


DR CABOT: And a type 1 diabetic probably wouldn’t be able to do it. They would get low blood sugar. So, they’re really the only contraindications.

VANESSA: That’s right. Type twos, guys. You absolutely can do this diet. We’re going to change the whole way, though, looking at how you eat. Traditionally, all the dietitians and staff at the hospitals – and I can say that because I still work in the hospital setting and have done for 30 years. We’ll be telling you carb, carb, carb this point that point. It’s not necessarily right. And you’ll find being type 2 diabetic, you are more prone to gaining a lot of weight. We’ll change the way you look at your eating. You will not have a hypo and you will be losing all those carbs and replacing them with fresh fruit and vegetables and be much healthier.

DR CABOT: It’s a healthy diet. It’s just not a lot of food to eat.

VANESSA: But you’re not hungry.

DR CABOT: But it’s only for 21 days.

VANESSA: And again, you’re not hungry.

DR CABOT: That’s right. Well, it’s a very unique, specific diet. It’s time proven. It’s got a lot of studies behind it, as far as its effectiveness in producing weight loss in people who have tried everything, and they just find that they can’t get going. They can’t get the weight loss started. It’s like a kickstart.

VANESSA: That’s right.

DR CABOT: Reboot of your hypothalamus.

VANESSA: That’s right. And if you’re like me, you’ve had a lifetime of sugar and carbs, and then all of a sudden you get to what they call – and I hate to admit it – middle age and you start to get that belly and that bum that you’ve never had before. Then you might actually find this will be the diet that’ll turn everything around and get you back to that slimmer figure that you used to have when you were younger.

DR CABOT: Yeah, absolutely. And after that, you go on a healthy maintenance plan. So, the HCG diet very famous, very effective, and something we’ve been doing for a long time.

VANESSA: Absolutely. I’ve been working here with Sandra now for many, many years. And, guys, we’re here to support you. So, give us a call. Make an appointment. Or if you’re still not sure, why don’t you ask the girls just to send you out a little bit more information about HCG. Have a read and then ring us up and make an appointment.

DR CABOT: Yes. Great. Well, thanks, Vanessa. That’s very exciting, isn’t it? Talking about the HCG diet.

VANESSA: Absolutely.

DR CABOT: People who are stuck.

VANESSA: Thanks for having me.

DR CABOT: It’s a great diet to unstick you.

VANESSA: Absolutely. Bye, guys.

DR CABOT: Okay. Bye, everyone. Thanks for listening.