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Comparing the HCG Diet to the Ketogenic Diet


The HCG Diet was formulated in the 1950’s by Dr. ATW Simeons as the result of previously working with boys who suffered from Froehlich’s Syndrome. He noted that when given HCG injections and following a very restrictive diet, patients were not hungry and their abnormal fat deposits decreased. The doctor turned his focus to the treatment of obesity and helped the rich and famous of Europe to slim down in the 1950’s and 60’s. The HCG Diet became very popular in the U.S. in the 1970’s with a resurgence that began in 2007.


The Ketogenic Diet, formulated by pediatrician Mynie Peterman, has been around since the 1920’s but until fairly recently, was used as medical nutrition therapy for pediatric patients who did not respond to medication for seizure disorders. With several celebrities touting it for weight loss for about the last 20 years, the Keto Diet was one of the top 10 diets googled in 2017!


Family Cooking Healthy with DIY HCG Diet

Summary of the Diets

On most other diets, the body burns carbs for fuel but on both of these diets, the body goes straight to burning stored fat. The difference between the two is in how the body gets into that fat-burning mode.


On the HCG Diet, a person 1) takes HCG (homeopathic drops or prescription injections, drops, cream, or spray) and 2) follows a very low-calorie diet. HCG is what is present in a woman’s body when she’s pregnant and, if she is not getting enough nutrition, it is the HCG that tells the body to tap into its abnormal fat deposits for nutrition and fuel. This process takes anywhere from 2 to 5 days. Once HCG is in the system, a person normally has energy, is not hungry (except at mealtime), experiences a general feeling of well-being and achieves rapid weight loss.


On the Ketogenic Diet, a person eats very few carbs (20-50 per week depending on the person), a moderate amount of protein and lots of fat. In the absence of carbs, the body must source another form of energy – fat. The liver takes fatty acids and changes them into ketones. This process is called ketosis and it takes the body about a week to get into this mode. To make sure you get in ketosis and stay there, you must check the level of ketones in your body by monitoring the breath, blood or urine. (Checking the urine by purchasing keto sticks is very inexpensive and easy to do although it may not be quite as accurate as the other methods.) Once in ketosis, participants say they achieve immediate weight loss and have energy and a lower appetite.

How Much Will I Lose? (Remember that everybody is different!)


HCG Diet -  1st Week – 7 to 10 lbs., after the first week, 2 to 5 lbs. per week


Ketogenic Diet – 1st Week – 4 to 10 lbs., after the first week, 1 to 2 lbs. per week


What to Eat and Drink


On the HCG Diet, you’ll eat 2 meals per day and they consist of:


Protein: 100 grams of protein (white fish, water-packed tuna, shrimp, lobster, white meat chicken, and very lean beef. No pork or turkey.)


Vegetables: 1 vegetable from a list of 13 – spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, lettuce, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage


Starch: 1 grissini breadstick


Fruit: 1 fruit from a list of 4 – apple, orange, ½ grapefruit or handful of strawberries


Beverages: Plain water, tea and coffee are the only beverages allowed and may only be sweetened with saccharin or stevia.  No other artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols may be used.  No fruit teas, flavored coffees, diet soda, sugar-free drink mixes, juices or alcohols are allowed.


Special Considerations/Notes for the HCG Diet:

No moisturizers, lotions, or oils other than mineral oil/baby oil should be used on the skin or scalp as they can cause a stall or gain in weight loss.  Mineral oil may be used on the skin as a moisturizing substitute.


On the Ketogenic Diet, you’ll need to figure out how many carbs to eat each day. Each person has a unique carb limit depending on the following elements:

  • amount of protein you eat
  • amount of stress you have
  • amount of exercise you do
  • how keto-adapted you are

In general, a good method for determining your carb limit is to start out with 35 grams of total carbs (25 carb grams) and go from there. You’ll want to make sure you are in ketosis and then add 5 carbs at a time to see how many you can eat without going out of ketosis.

As far as deciding on what you’ll eat, 5% of your diet should be carbs, 20% protein and 70-75% fat. You’ll choose:


Fats & Oils: Natural sources are best, i.e., meat and nuts. Also, you can have coconut oil, olive oil and butter.


Protein: Unprocessed (meaning skip the deli meats) beef, poultry, seafood, and eggs


Vegetables: Above ground veggies are best, especially the leafy/green ones.


Dairy: Most dairy is fine as long as you get the full-fat items; make sure to check the carb count.


Nuts and Seeds: Macadamias, almonds – Eat from this category in moderation.


Beverages: Drink water, water water! Of course, you can flavor it with lemon or lemon juice and add stevia or sucralose. Coffee, tea, broth and unsweetened almond milk are allowed. Avoid diet soda and alcohol.




Special Considerations/Notes for the Keto Diet:

Take care not to eat too much protein, which will be a temptation since proteins are naturally low carb. If you do, your body will break down protein instead of fat, which is called gluconeogenesis. This process wastes your lean muscle mass and is not healthy. Also watch for extremely high levels of ketones in the bloodstream, especially if diabetic.


In conclusion, it is fairly simple to figure out what to eat on the HCG Diet while it takes much more time to calculate and keep track of what you’re eating on the Keto Diet. There’s a bit more variety on the Keto Diet but results come quicker on the HCG Diet. Both the HCG and Keto diets burn fat as fuel for the body, do not require exercise, are low carb and obtain rapid weight loss. Which one is a better fit for you?

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