You might have heard of the hCG diet, which restricts calories and limits fatty protein sources such as legumes. Does this mean you cannot be a vegetarian while on the diet? Not necessarily! Keep reading to learn more about hCG, this diet, and your body.
What is hCG?
During pregnancy, the body produces human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG. In fact, this is the hormone that some pregnancy tests detect. So when hCG is present, you’ll get a positive.
If there’s no hCG in your body, a test will come up negative. Of course, you could get a false negative if the pregnancy is relatively new and hCG levels haven’t built up yet. Furthermore, hCG levels are most concentrated in the morning, so pregnancy tests advise you to use them with your first pee of the day.
The hCG Diet
So how has this pregnancy hormone come to be involved with dieting? hCG plays a role in suppressing hunger and redistributing body fat. Because of this, some people add hCG supplements to their diet to help them lose weight and reap the health benefits. You can even get a prescription and order hCG weight loss kits online.
Combining hCG injections with calorie restriction may be an effective weight loss method for some people. However, the diet has some specific requirements that might make you wonder if it’s okay for vegetarians.
An hCG diet actually consists of three phases, each of which includes hCG injections along with adjusted food intake.
- The loading phase allows dieters to eat high-calorie foods with healthy fats for 48 hours to build up fat stores.
- The weight loss phase restricts caloric intake to between 500 and 1200 calories daily for three to six weeks.
- The maintenance phase requires animal proteins.
hCG Diet for Vegetarians
Vegetarians do not consume meat and some other animal products, although they might not restrict all animal by-products. For example, some vegetarians still consume eggs or dairy.
To make up for the loss of protein that usually comes with eating meat, vegetarians seek alternatives such as nuts or legumes. However, these protein sources can be fatty and calorie dense, and there isn’t much in the hCG diet for that. Still, vegetarians who consume dairy can get their required protein for the hCG diet from high-protein organic milk. Eggs and cottage cheese are also good protein options.
Along with substituting milk for meat-based protein, the hCG diet requires two servings of vegetables and fruits and two slices of toast daily. Vegetarians can easily consume these foods. Plus, coffee and tea are allowed in the hCG diet, as long as you add only one tablespoon of milk.