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14 of the Most Common Errors Made on the HCG Diet

Updated: Jun 3, 2019

The HCG diet program has gained popularity over the years for its rapid weight loss effects. This nutritional program, created by Dr. Simeons, combines the metabolic properties of the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone (which is a naturally occurring hormone in both males and females) with a low-calorie diet based on lean proteins, low-sugar fruits, and low-starch vegetables.

This regimen acts as a catalyst for weight loss, resetting the body's metabolism and laying a foundation for long-term weight reduction. By following the specific guidelines outlined by Dr. Simeons, patients experience life-changing nutritional and structural results. Although the HCG phase of the diet only lasts around 3-6 weeks, the strict diet protocol can sometimes be difficult for patients to maintain.

Here are some of the most common errors made during the HCG diet:

  1. Using the wrong spices. Spices must be used with extreme caution. One of the biggest rules when it comes to spices is to substitute regular table salt for sea salt. Check all ingredients for any substances that should be avoided (shredded orange peel), added sugars (brown, white, maltose, dextrose, etc.), starch (modified corn starch), and/or any type of oils or butters. Even a container of garlic salt can contain sugar and modified cornstarch!

  2. Not loading enough fat. The first two days of the HCG phase are designed to equip your body with the proper amount of fat reserves to utilize during the calorie reduction phase. Not loading enough fat during these two days can help explain any hunger that some patients may experience during the first week of the low-calorie phase.

  3. Mixing vegetables at a meal. Dr. Simeons' diet regimen clearly explains that patients should select one vegetable per serving. While many people lose quite satisfactorily while mixing vegetables, it is a place to review if weight loss slows.

  4. Chewing gum, mints, etc. These items are not allowed during calorie reduction phase. They can contain hidden sugars and other substances that can hinder the weight loss process. Again, some lose quite satisfactorily when violating this directive, but it is a place to review if losing slows.

  5. Drinking diet beverages. The HCG protocol clearly states that patients should drink water, tea or coffee only. Even low calorie drinks, like diet soda or lemonade, or water mixed with Crystal Light can contain substances (i.e. sugars) that can slow weight loss. If flavors must be added, use Stevia or Sweet Drops to flavor your beverages.

  6. Eating too much ground beef. Dr. Simeons noted for patients to consume lean beef, such as veal or buffalo. These proteins contain significantly less fat than ground beef. As a general rule, patients should strive to eat no more than 2-3 servings of beef per week, focusing on chicken and seafood as protein sources.

  7. Weighing food after cooking. Portion control is a major consideration during any diet regimen. Predetermined weights of protein and vegetable sources are based off of the precooked weight. Weighing food, especially protein, after cooking can drastically affect your portion sizes.

  8. Eating the same foods too often. Variety is key during the HCG phase. Aim to vary your selections of proteins and vegetables throughout the course of the program. Getting into a routine of "chicken and lettuce" over and over can reduce the effectiveness of the diet program.

  9. Limited water intake. Water intake is a major factor in weight loss, allowing your body to remain properly hydrated and helping flush any toxins out of your system. As a general rule, patients should aim to consume at least half their body weight in ounces of water per day (i.e. a 200 lb. person should consume 100 oz. of water, approximately 5-6 standard bottles of water).

  10. Inconsistent weigh-ins. Recording your weight at different times of day or in different clothing can create a false appearance of weight loss/gain. An easy routine to follow is to weigh first thing in the morning when you take your HCG.

  11. Eating out. Food preparation is the biggest concern when it comes to eating out on the HCG diet. Most restaurants will use some form of oil or butter to enhance the flavor of dishes. If at all possible, ask to speak to the chef to make special preparation requests and make the best selections given your choices on the menu.

  12. Using oily moisturizers, eye creams, or makeup removers. These substances all contain oils that can be absorbed through the skin, impacting weight loss. Even a fizzy bath bomb can play a role in reduced weight loss! Check your HCG book for a list of oil-free makeups, cleansers, and other beauty products that are approved during the HCG diet.

  13. Not reaching your daily calorie goal. Many people think that the less calories they eat, the more weight they will lose. This is true, to an extent. A deficit between intake calories and calories burned must be created in order to lose weight; however, creating too large of a deficit can cause your body to enter into "starvation mode." Starvation mode occurs when the body does not receive enough calories, resulting in the retention of unnecessary nutrients. If the body is under the perception that it may not get fed again for quite some time, it will hang onto anything it can just to keep going. Reaching your daily calorie goal is essential to fueling your body properly for weight loss.

  14. Skipping the maintenance phase. Maintenance is a crucial part of the HCG program. During this phase, patients are encouraged to maintain their post-calorie reduction weight while slowly integrating a wider selection of foods back into their diet. This phase is essential to helping the body adjust to a more normal diet plan and maintaining proper metabolic processes.

Want to know more about the HCG program? Get answers to 11 of the most commonly asked questions about the HCG diet here.


"HCG." (2014). Artisan Med Spa. Retrieved from

Simeons, A.T.W., M.D. (2010). Pounds and inches: a new approach to obesity. Roma, Italy: Popular Publishing.


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