Phase 3 of the HCG Diet sits somewhere in the middle. Here, you gradually increase your calorie intake as you reintroduce foods back into your diet. Part of which are carbohydrates. As far as nutrition is concerned, the consumption of carb remains one of the biggest bones of contention. As you all know, carbs are essential sources of immediate energy and everyone needs it. Cutting back on carb entirely during the HCG Diet would be difficult. That’s why on the HCG Diet, as you gradually increase your calorie intake you also begin to incorporate carbs back, but how?
Let’s discuss first the other part of the bone of contention of carbohydrates. Others say that carb is bad for your body and you should go without it. Why? Is it because carbohydrate can make you gain weight? Just an honest opinion- whether you are on or off the HCG Diet, whether your diet is high in fat or high in carb, any foods can make you gain weight if you eat them too much. If you frequently consume too many calories more than your body uses, you are then likely to gain weight.
Importance of Carbohydrate on the HCG Diet
Carbs are your body’s main source of energy. In the absence of carb, your body will have to use protein and fat for energy. That would be fine for a while but eliminating carb from your diet on a long-term basis could mean your body won’t get enough nutrients which could potentially lead to health problems. In the process of breaking down fat to convert it into energy, your body undergoes ketosis which can cause dehydration, headache, irritability, dizziness, and fatigue.
Low carb tips on Phase 3 of the HCG Diet
- Know what foods are low in carb. Knowing what foods are low in carb will help prevent future mistakes which can lead to unwanted weight gain when on the maintenance phase.
- Use healthier sources of carbohydrates
Best carb options for phase 3 include:
- Low carb fruits- Strawberries, apples, avocado, peaches, and watermelon
- Low carb veggies- Spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, mushroom, asparagus, cucumber, and celery
- Gluten-free products- Oats, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, corn, and tapioca
- Nuts- Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and Brazil nuts
- Grains- Spelt, Kamut, teff, amaranth, and millet
- High-fiber foods- Flax seeds, chia seeds, pears, berries, cereals and artichokes
- Protein is your best friend during this phase. Eat sufficient protein at every meal. Your typical daily protein should be based on your weight and your activity level. When you were in phase 2, you are allowed to eat 200 grams of the leanest protein. Now you are in phase 3, you can increase your protein intake. If you exercise on a moderate level, your protein intake must be one-half to three-quarters of a gram of protein per body weight. Just keep your caloric intake within a framework of no weight gain.
- Do not combine fat and starch together. From Dr. Simeons’ protocol,“If no carbohydrates whatsoever are eaten, fats can be indulged in somewhat more liberally… but as soon as fat and starch are combined things are very liable to get out of hand.”
- Not all vegetables are HCG diet-friendly. Many veggies are high in fiber and can aid in weight loss. However, some veggies have more digestible carbs than fiber. Choose veggies that are low in carb content and avoid those that are high in carbs like sweet potatoes, corn, potato, and beets.
- Stay away from pasta. Pasta is very high in carb and you must avoid them at all costs. One cup of cooked pasta contains 43 grams and only 3 grams of fiber. If you are craving for pasta but don’t want to go over your carb limit, try making Shirataki noodles or spiralized vegetables instead.
- Know the carb count and serving sizes of foods. It is essential for you to know the carb content of each food you consume. The foods below contain approximately 15 grams of carbs.
- 1 sliced bread
- 1 tennis ball-sized apple or orange
- 8 ounces of milk
- 1 cup berries
- 1 small baked potato
- 1/3 cup of cooked rice
- 6 ounces of plain yogurt
- ½ cup of peas
- ½ cup of corn
- Enjoy alcohol in moderation but stay away from beers. Beer is fairly high in carbs. One can of beer has 13 grams of carbs while a can of light beer has 6 grams of carb. What’s more? Consuming beer tends to promote weight gain than solid carb. Choose dry wines and spirits instead.
- Avoid sweetened yogurt. Yogurts are great weight-loss food. It’s overflowing with gut-healthy probiotics and packed with metabolism-revving protein. It helps keep you full so you won’t have to starve an hour after you eat. However, avoid sweetened yogurt due to its sugar content. Sweetened yogurt often contains as many carbs as a dessert. 100 grams of sweetened yogurt, the sugar content ranges from 1.6 grams to 9.5 grams.
- Avoid sweetened juice. It’s one of the worst beverages on phase 3 because it’s very high in fast-digesting carbs which can cause your blood sugar to spike. For instance, 12 ounces of apple juice has 48 grams of carbs while grapefruit has 60 grams of carb per 12 ounces.
- Carry low-carb snacks with you. This includes a hard-boiled egg, a handful of nuts, cheese, and unsweetened yogurt.
- Know the difference between simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are easy to digest like refined and processed white flour and white sugar. Complex carbs take longer to digest as they need to be broken down into a simpler form. Examples of complex carbs are beans, fiber-rich fruits, and whole grains.
- Be familiar with the low-carb alternative. Some low-carb alternatives for high-carb foods are cauliflower pizza crust, eggplant lasagna, lettuce leaves instead of taco shells, spaghetti squash, and baked butternut.