published by Dr. Marcantel on January 26th, 2010 Print this page


HCG FAQ contains some frequently-asked questions and straight talk about the controversy surrounding the HCG diet. Dr. Tina Marcantel is a naturopathic doctor in Gilbert, Arizona, who also serves the East Valley cities of Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Apache Junction, and Queen Creek, and the greater Phoenix area.

What is HCG?

HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin–also written hCG) is a hormone produced in pregnant women that allows the body to mobilize fat and use it as energy for both the mother and her fetus. By combining a small amount of this hormone with an extremely restricted calorie intake, it’s possible to lose stored body fat without a significant loss of energy or feelings of extreme hunger.

How is Dr. Marcantel’s program different from other programs that are being offered?

We do not offer this as a “quick fix” for your weight problems. Dr. Marcantel believes that any weight loss program should be only one part of an overall health and wellness plan that will enable you to experience long-term success in achieving your health goals. She will evaluate you first to determine if this diet plan is right for you now or if you should explore other options before starting the diet. When you do start the diet, you will be seen regularly in the office by Dr. Marcantel to monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments in your plan or medications to ensure your safe and successful completion of the diet program. Please read our article Why Must I First Be Admitted to Dr. Marcantel’s Services Before Participating in the HCG Program? for more details.

Who is a good candidate for the HCG diet?

Properly following the HCG diet protocol takes planning and commitment. We have found that the best candidates for the diet seem to be those who have “tried everything” but still have trouble losing weight. Patients who have already dealt with hormonal and other medical issues and who have been through a good detoxification plan and who are already eating properly and exercising regularly but still can’t seem to lose weight may be ready for the HCG diet. The diet is also good for patients who need to lose a lot of weight and who are ready to make a commitment to getting it off and keeping it off.

Is it safe? Are there risks or potential side effects involved with taking HCG?

We are unaware of any reported health problems directly related to the use of low-dose HCG or the diet protocol we are using. However, with any medication or diet plan there is always the potential for side effects. That is why we believe it is crucial to be under a doctor’s care while using HCG or following a highly restrictive diet plan.

Can both women and men use the HCG diet?

Yes. The small amount of HCG used does not mimic pregnancy and it can safely be used by both men and women.

How long does the diet last?

The diet plan is divided into two main phases. Phase 1 is the “fat burning” phase when the HCG hormone is taken and calorie consumption is very restricted. This phase lasts for 21 days and is the time you experience the greatest loss of weight and inches. Phase 2 is the “weight stabilization” phase in which more calories are introduced. The 3 week “weight stabilization” portion of the diet is designed to help the patient stabilize at their new weight and develop healthier eating habits to maintain the loss long-term.

What kind of foods will I eat and how much can I eat?

You’ll eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, meat, and seafood in limited proportions. Your caloric intake during the “fat burning” phase will be between 500-800 calories per day. The use of the HCG hormone, vitamin B12 injections, and specially chosen nutritional supplements during this period will help suppress hunger and boost your energy levels.

Do I have to buy special meals from Dr. Marcantel as part of this program?

No. There are no preprepared meals to buy. Everything comes from your favorite grocery store.

How much weight can I expect to lose on this diet?

Most patients lose an average of 1/2 pound to 1 pound per day during the 21-day “fat burning” portion of the diet while they are taking the HCG hormone.

Do you guarantee results?

Although a patient may lose 5 pounds a week or more on this program, Dr. Marcantel does not guarantee results.  Weight loss depends on many variables, such as adherence to the diet and how physically active the patient is, that are completely out of the control of Dr. Marcantel and her staff.  Though we will provide you with the tools and information to ensure your success, we can not guarantee that you will lose weight.

Will I gain back all the weight I lost when I stop the diet?

People gain weight for many different reasons. It is important to deal with such things as hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems, insulin resistance, and even emotional issues before beginning this diet to ensure the ability to keep off the weight you have lost. It is Dr. Marcantel’s goal to help you use this diet as a jump-start to a lifetime of healthful dietary and exercise habits. That’s where Phase 3 of the program comes in: the “Lifetime Maintenance” phase. We will continue to work with you to find your way to optimal health as part of our Next Step program.

Can I repeat the diet program if I want to lose more weight?

Yes. Additional rounds of the program are offered at a reduced price for our patients. We recommend a minimum break of 3 weeks between rounds for optimal results.

Has the FDA approved HCG for weight loss?

Use of HCG to treat obesity or for medical weight loss treatment is not an FDA approved use of this prescription drug. A patient’s physician may prescribe HCG for an unapproved medical purpose or off-label use of the drug because the use of this drug has not generally caused serious adverse side effects when administered to patients for its approved use in treating infertility. Allowing physicians professional discretion to prescribe HCG in treating obesity or for patient weight loss is not based upon any governmental determination that HCG is effective for such use.

There are both negative and positive reports on the Internet about HCG diet programs. How do I know which ones to believe?

We have visited dozens of websites with information about HCG diet programs. Many of the sites report that HCG has no beneficial use as part of a weight loss program. On the other hand, there are hundreds of testimonials swearing to the effectiveness of the HCG diet. As with any form of alternative therapy, it is possible to find sincere people on both sides of the issue with differing opinions. Here is what we do know: Dr. Marcantel has tried this diet for herself and it worked for her. She has also worked with a number of patients who’ve had excellent success. The bottom line is that we encourage each potential participant in the program to do research on their own and determine if they are comfortable with the program before committing to it.

Why must I be admitted to Dr. Marcantel’s services before starting her HCG program?

Read Dr. Marcantel’s personal testimonial about her experience on the HCG diet

Return from HCG FAQ to HCG Central

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