HCG Diet VLCD Questions

Dr. Simeons mentions planned interruptions in Pounds and Inches for clients who need the freedom to eat off-protocol foods temporarily during their round of the VLCD. Essentially, a planned interruption is a temporary (less than 14 days) stop in the treatment that puts the client into Maintenance 1. This allows for a bit more freedom in food choices.

To do a planned interruption, one would come off the drops and continue on VLCD for 3 days and then begin to eat M1 foods. So long as your planned interruption is no more than 14 days (including the 3 transition days), you may begin the drops again and resume the VLCD as normal with no loading days required. Please be sure to read through the section on interruptions in treatment in Pounds and Inches before attempting a planned interruption. These are only to be used in cases where an interruption is the only option. 


It seems like one of the most popular deviations from the protocol is the inclusion of coconut oil, macadamia nuts (or MCT oil), and chocolate due to the claim that these foods contain fats that will increase ketones and therefore increase weight loss while on the HCG protocol. These foods are NOT ALLOWED while on the VLCD portion of the HCG diet and can have the same negative consequences as any cheat on the VLCD. 

We have had many successful vegetarian and vegan clients who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off.  The ThinNow HCG Diet Guide contains a list of foods vegetarians and vegans may consume while on the VLCD.

Stalls are a normal part of the HCG protocol and can occur for several reasons. The most common causes of stalls are cheats, menstrual cycle, stress, lack of sleep, and natural water retention after fat loss. The best thing you can do while on a stall is to accept that it is part of the process and not stress about it! Stay off the scale for a few days and instead take your measurements. Often when the scale is not moving, the measuring tape will be! 

An apple day is used for naturally occurring plateaus lasting more than 4 days, and is purported to help break the stall. What is a naturally occurring plateau? This is where your weight does not move (up or down) for four days for no apparent reason, such as eating something off protocol, going through your menstrual cycle, exceptional stress or insomnia, etc.  If any of these factors are present during a stall, this is not considered a naturally occurring plateau, and an apple day would not be appropriate and, in fact, could have the opposite effect.

If you are on a naturally occurring plateau, we would recommend you wait it out and stay faithful to the program (stay off the scale for a few days, take your measurements instead). Plateaus are normal and will pass.  Often during a plateau, even though the scale isn’t moving, your body is changing, so you will likely see a change in measurements.


It is important to note that Dr. Simeons mentions that apple days are purely psychological – they produce a loss because apples are a natural diuretic. In our experience, apple days used in the wrong situations can have the opposite effect and we rarely recommend them.


Off-protocol choices while on VLCD are NEVER worth it! Eating something off protocol isn’t like cheating on a diet – it’s quite literally stopping the treatment. Dr. Simeons goes so far as to say that going off protocol, even by one bite, can nullify (cancel out) the effects of the entire protocol. Your goal is to lose the weight, but also to reset the hypothalamus to enable you to stabilize at your new weight.

If you go off protocol on the VLCD, you will likely notice: an increase on the scale within the next few days, a stall lasting up to 2 weeks, increased cravings for carbohydrates/sweets, emotional distress and guilt, and trouble stabilizing in maintenance. Dr. Simeons is very clear that one MUST have 21 VLCD treatment days to ensure that the hypothalamus will reset during maintenance. Don’t cheat yourself out of this wonderful gift! Call a friend or our support line if you are tempted to go off protocol! You deserve it! If needed, our Recovery Guide is in the ThinNow HCG Diet Guide.

You may drink whey protein shakes while on VLCD up to three times per week as one of your protein choices. When choosing a protein powder, look for one that has 100-120 calories per serving and has less than 2 grams of carbohydrate per serving (not net carbohydrate – total carbohydrate). Look at the ingredients section and verify that there are no other sweeteners besides stevia. We sell a fantastic VLCD-friendly protein powder in our store: https://www.thinnow.com/store.php

All protein portions are 100 grams (3.5 ounces) in weight. After selecting your protein choice, remove all visible fat and weigh your protein raw on a digital kitchen scale. Pre-portioning your protein makes for an easy, grab and go convenience while on the HCG diet.

Crab, lobster and crawfish cannot be removed from the shell, prior to cooking.  To account for this, after cooking remove the meat from the shell and weigh out 3.0 ounces for the correct VLCD portion. These are the ONLY three protein choices that have these guidelines.


You may either weigh your vegetables or use the handy portion sizes in our VLCD food guide. The calories for either option can be found in the ThinNow HCG Diet Guide.

You should not feel hunger for an extended period of time while on the protocol. It is normal to feel a bit “empty” but this should not equate to a hunger feeling. If you are on your first week of the protocol and you are hungry, this is likely due to inadequate fat loading – keep moving forward, eat lots of vegetables, and get through the first week. Generally hunger due to inadequate loading is gone after the first week.  However, if you are close to your goal weight and become ravenously hungry, it is important to contact our support staff soon as you can so we can help you finish your round successfully.