Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stats, almost two-thirds of US adults are either obese or overweight. This puts these individuals at risk of several health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Likewise, many people struggle with weight; about 114 million spend around $60 billion, if not more, on weight loss products every year.
But according to experts, the most effective approach for losing weight is by making lifestyle changes like eating healthy and monitoring portion size and regular exercises. One of the best diets for losing weight in recent years has been the HCG diet.
Naturally, several questions surround this diet. This article will address whether it’s okay to consume alcohol when using the HCG diet plan for weight loss. But before that, it’s necessary to clarify a few things.
What is The HCG Diet?
The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone released in pregnant women to sustain the growing fetus. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved HCG for use in certain medical cases. Doctors most frequently prescribe it for the treatment of infertility.
In terms of weight loss, the HCG diet comprises a considerably low-calorie diet combined with treatments of HCG, whether injected or administered orally. On average, this diet users undergo rapid weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds each day. The explanation behind this occurrence is simple.
HCG is present in both males and females even though women produce large quantities during pregnancy. This hormone stimulates the secretion of several different hormones. Therefore, it impacts the body’s metabolism, digestion, muscle tissue, and several others.
In essence, HCG doesn’t directly induce weight loss. Instead, it alters how your body sheds weight, per Dr. Sharon Emma. In other words, the low-calorie diet initiates the weight loss and the HCG how the body completes the weight loss process, making it faster and more effective.
The entire diet has three phases, namely:
- Loading phase – Begin taking HCG and calorie-rich food for two days
- Weight loss phase – Proceed with HCG and take only 500 calories/day for 3 -6 weeks
- Maintenance phase – Halt HCG and slowly eat more calories without starch and sugar for three weeks.
Now let’s understand the science behind these complex bio-mechanisms before looking at how alcohol drinks may affect it and whether you can occasionally have your favorite Crown Royal Reserve while on an HCG diet.
The Science Behind HCG Weight Loss
When you start eating a low-calorie diet absent any medication, weight can drop very fast. However, this approach has one significant downside. Instead of shedding only fat on such a diet, the body will also lose muscle or lean tissue on a 500-calorie diet. Due to the heavy nature of muscle, you record a significant weight reduction when you step on the scale.
This might sound good but is bad for the individual because it disrupts the metabolism leading to “rebound.” Rebound means rapid weight gain following a weight reduction. But this is prevented with the HCG.
HCG influences many glands and organs that respond to hormone levels in the body. Therefore, it can induce the production of testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen in men and women. Testosterone functions as an anabolic steroid and accounts for the results observed in HCG diets. In other words, it inhibits tissue catabolism when the body is fasting or starving.
So how does alcohol affect this complex process? Let’s find out.
HCG Diet and Alcohol
To be clear, the excessive drinking of alcohol does no good to the body. It overworks the liver and disrupts metabolism, which can lead to weight gain. But as far as the HCG diet goes, drinking alcohol can work against your goals, especially if you drink one too many glasses. Therefore, you want to avoid alcohol. But if you have to, drink tiny quantities. Remember, the key here is moderation.
As a guideline, you can follow this recommendation below:
- The volume of alcohol is 1.5 oz. for actual alcohol and 4.0 oz. of red or white wine.
- Moderate means three non-beer and sugarless alcohol drinks per week
Dr. Simeon included alcohol in his book Pounds and Inches. He stated, “If no carbohydrates whatsoever are eaten, fats can be indulged in somewhat more liberally and even small quantities of alcohols such as a glass of wine with meals, does not harm, but as soon fats and starch are combined things are very liable to get out of hand.”
Before you drink any alcohol on an HCG diet, it’s vital to do so intentionally and responsibly by picking suitable alcoholic beverages. Ideally, you want to stay away from grain-based drinks that contain gluten, such as:
- Grain-based vodka
- Grain-based Gin
Remember to limit your alcohol to no more than three days each week. Also, your maintenance phase is the most suitable for consuming alcohol. For instance, you can have a glass of cocktail or wine during Phase 3 of your HCG diet.
Again, moderation is KEY!
There are significant risks associated with alcohol since alcohol is known to harm health in the long term. As such, you should remain mindful since it can give rise to bad eating habits and render it more difficult to exercise portion size during your HCG diet. Secondly, alcohol can increase your appetite for food.
This also works against the low-calorie regimen of the HCG diet. Apart from these, it hinders the fat-burning process by reducing your metabolism, which counteracts the effects of the HCG hormone. These and many others are some of the reasons you want to avoid alcohol during your HCG diet.
Please make no mistake; alcohol intake while on the HCG diet impacts its effects. Assuming you consume any drink containing enough alcohol, you can expect your weight loss to stall for 3 to 6 days. It’s even possible to gain some weight following alcohol intake.
Therefore, the best cause of action that will ensure continuous weight loss is to stick to your diet and avoid heavy drinking. If you have to take alcohol, it’s better to wait until you get to the third stage of maintenance before you attempt combining alcohol with your diet.