Fat Loss Biology
Dr. Dennis Clark - hCG Weight LossDr. Dennis Clark - hCG Weight Loss

Way too many people, in my opinion, are regaining weight after completing the hCG diet protocol. Even one person would be too many. Weight regain has nothing to do with the old myth of eating too much and exercising too little. It has much more to do with meal spacing. Here is what I mean.


Meal Spacing

Understanding what happens after you eat is the clearest way to grasp when to eat for optimum benefits from food. To keep things as simple as possible, let’s just follow the response of the three most important ‘players’ in this cycle: blood glucose, insulin, and growth hormone (hGH).

The graph below shows you at a glance what your body does in response to a meal.

After hCG Diet Meal Spacing

What does this mean for meal spacing?

Here is a little section that I have taken out of my Fat Loss Biology book (see link at the top of this page) that explains what the graph tells you.

Insulin, of course, is the famous protein hormone that most people know as the key to metabolizing blood glucose. It is secreted from the pancreas, starting as soon as a meal is anticipated and spiking within the first hour of eating. Insulin, however, is much more versatile that most people realize. It is the most important starting point for understanding what you must do for maintaining a healthy metabolism.

The reason that insulin occupies such a central role in a healthy metabolism is because it guides glucose into the liver, into skeletal muscles, and into fat tissue. It is like a ‘master decision maker’ on where glucose goes. It has to remove excess glucose from the blood, which would otherwise become toxic. In doing so, it has to put that glucose somewhere. Wouldn’t you just love know how to control what your insulin decides so that you get more glucose into muscle tissue and less into your fat cells or your liver? BINGO! That’s like saying, “OK, insulin…today I want you to build more muscle for me.”

That is exactly what you do, in effect, when you follow the right eating pattern. This is because of the relationship between insulin and another of the key protein hormones, hGH. As the graph above shows, response to a meal can be viewed in three phases. The first phase, which is well-known to the public, sees a rise in blood sugar and a responding spike in insulin over a time span of about 2 hours after the meal.

During the second phase, from about 2 to 4 hours after the meal, levels of blood sugar and insulin start to drop and levels of hGH start to increase. This is the period of time after a meal when the combination of insulin and hGH acts to build up muscle protein.

The third, or fasting, phase begins about 4 hours after the meal. During this phase hGH remains at a high level, while insulin almost disappears. This is the phase when hGH acts solely to direct the metabolism of fat as fuel.


Spacing meals to include a fasting period that starts at about 4 hours after you eat is crucial for taking advantage of the anabolic (muscle-building) effects of insulin and the anabolic and fat-metabolizing effects of hGH. The ideal strategy is to allow 5-6 hours between meals. Do not snack.

If you do a little math here, you may immediately realize that spacing meals that far apart doesn’t always provide for enough time in the day for three meals. Surprise! Human physiology is not adapted for handling three meals per day. The whole notion that you should eat three meals per day is a modern creation. Moreover, it is a false premise.

Isn’t it interesting that the entire mega-industry built on breakfast cereals and other non-foods is based on this false premise? Once again we have a common belief – that is, you must eat three meals per day – a concept that is fueled by the sales and marketing departments of food manufacturers. This concept is designed to benefit their financial bottom line, not your waistline … or any other aspect of your good health, for that matter.

Keep in mind that several other hormones besides insulin and hGH are also put into play once you have a meal. The graph and explanation above about what happens when you eat is just a starting point for understanding what to do for a healthy metabolism.

By the way, guess what happens when you follow the common advice to eat several small meals per day, supposedly to ‘fuel your fat-burning furnace’? Just take a look at the graph again and you will see that a high-frequency of meals will interrupt the muscle-building phase (phase 2) that you should be getting from the combination of insulin and hGH. Eating too often also prevents you from ever reaching the fasting phase when hGH directs the metabolism of fat, at least not during waking hours. The typical recommendation to eat breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and an evening snack is a recipe for a metabolic disaster.

Also consider the negative impact of eating too often. When you eat sporadically throughout the day or eat a series of small meals, your liver has no time to use its stored glycogen (glucose storage polymer) to generate energy. The resulting state of prolonged insulin response completely shuts off the metabolism of fat (i.e., puts you into permanent fat storage mode) and stops weight loss in its tracks. This is also a fast track to insulin resistance and diabetes. Furthermore, one of the responses of such an overburdened liver is the synthesis of excess amounts of cholesterol, even when the diet contains no cholesterol.

Is it any wonder that diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol have reached epidemic levels in modern western society?

Is That All?

No, of course not. However, in chatting with frustrated folks who keep rebounding after the hCG diet protocol, this is one of the two biggest issues that most people are unaware of. (The other one is food composition – i.e., what to eat – a topic that I will revisit soon.)

Stay tuned!

All the best after hCG weight loss,

Dr. D

49 Comments so far »

  1. by Lyle


    I love this article it shows me that you don’t have to eat all day that it’s better to stick to three small meals a day in order to lose weight and to build muscle because you aren’t allowing your body to do it’s job the natural way. I’m so glad I read this and I look forward to your next post you did a great job on this one keep up the good work.

  2. by Dorothy


    Thank you so much for this post I have been struggling trying to make sure that I ate every three hours during the day to keep my metabolism revved up and burning fat but now I see by your chart that is not necessary. That was a real struggle for me because I didn’t feel I was burning as much as I was consuming and that is just the facts in order to lose weight.

  3. by Gussie


    I can’t believe I fell for the old eat five times a day to lose weight thing. Your chart here makes so much more sense to me and it is just three meals a day, that is the way our ancestors ate and look at them do you remember any of them being fat with out it being a health problem that caused it? I am going back to basics I think.

  4. by Carmen


    I think this is the way you should eat before any diet you try I would bet that you wouldn’t need a diet if you ate this way in the first place. Thank you for breaking this down for us it makes much more sense this way. Keep posting these helpful hints you have no idea how much they help when you are stuggling like I do with weight.

  5. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Carmen: You are spot on. Diets would be less necessary if people just went back to separating meals for longer periods and not snacking between meals.

    All the best,

  6. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Gussie:

    I agree. The whole concept of ‘stoking the furnace’ with frequent meals would only work if human metabolism resembled furnace. Our physiology is much more complicated than that!


  7. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Thanks for your kind comments, Lyle. Keep up the good work!


  8. by Kenneth


    I have been wanting to take HGH injections, but I hear it is an expensive treatment. If I understand correctly, it is possible to maximize your HGH levels naturally. That is great news. I never really thought of the significance of meal spacing and how it can affect the way your body burns fat. This idea of fasting goes against everything I had learned about dieting which indicates you should eat 5 times a day.

  9. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Good point, Kenneth. The easiest and most consistent to boost hGH levels is get a good night’s sleep (after NOT snacking before bedtime). The hormone spikes up about 2 hours into your sleep. HGH secretagogues can also help, although not all of them are very good.

    All the best,

  10. by Lyle


    I have not lost weight for three days. I’m open to suggestions. I have been on for 7 days, I do not eat beef. Have been eating recipes that I have found in the Phase 2 recipes. I have been drinking black tea with Stevia in the morning and been seasoning with Braggs and Franks. I have NOT been mixing vegetables. My doctor instructed me to only eat 6 apples for 24 hours and no water.

  11. by Linda


    Thanks for writing this well informed article. My question is would you recommend eating breakfast? The Hcg diet generally skips breakfast. I can see how fasting has proven its self on the HCG protocol alone. It works!

  12. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Lyle:

    Many people face the same issue. Even though I talk about the importance of spacing meals, it may not be enough if you get to a place of metabolic resistance. In such cases you can do a 24-hour fast, e.g., dinner to dinner, and see whether that gets you unstuck. I have made a habit of doing such a fast twice per week. It becomes more important the older you get, so a my age (65) two fasting days per week is minimum. Some researchers go so far as recommending three or four per week. If this still doesn’t work for you, let me know. I have one other, even more powerful, trick up my sleeve that I can tell you about.

    All the best,

  13. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Linda:

    Breakfast is fine, and I sometimes have an early morning meal. When I do so, I make sure that there is a lot of ‘power’ in it. This means eating exclusively protein and fat. No carbs at all, unless they come with something such as an avocado. My favorite breakfast is canned tuna, mixed with mayonnaise (the lowest sugar content is Kraft), and half an avocado. Mmm, good! Pure power!

    All the best,

  14. by Judson


    Hi there everyone, I came across this site while searching Google for HCG Diet support groups. I will be starting my diet on monday (today is thursday) and I am very excited to begin a new weight loss journey. I have been doing the Body by Vi shakes for nearly three months and have seen very little success, so I’m ready to try something new.

  15. by George


    So if I understand this correctly, the hcg protocol, how it works is to increase metabolism and reduce caloric intake so that the body must burn off excess or abnormal fat. This fat that is reduced serves no real biological function. So in effect, the hcg protocol strives to protect our necessary fat while ridding us of the abnormal fat.

  16. by Tammi


    It is easy for people to fall back into old eating habits after learning how to eat the HCG way. This is true about any new habit we may develop. But I think if we understand the intricacies behind why you should eat this and when, then with that comprehension we might maintain the discipline that got those good results in the first place.

  17. by Angela


    Most people are skeptic about the diet and despise the fact that HCG Plan demands the dieter to remain under 500-calorie limit. But the fact is HCG diet plan never makes you feel hungry or weak during your weight loss regimen. HCG Diet promises permanent weight loss however there was temptations to cheat and eat more during my initial days as my body is accustomed to high calorie food.

  18. by Barry


    I thought that you should eat breakfast because it fuels your body for the rest of the day and if you’re going to eat carbs it should be then rather than any other time of the day. I try to follow this method of eating like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner to make sure that the calories taper off all day. Is that not a good plan?

  19. by Dexter


    Thank you for this advice I am looking forward to getting off of my diet and an a regular eating plan but this is going to help me considerably, what should you do if you eat when you are bored? I know the simple answer is to find some thing to occupy your time so you aren’t bored but what if you don’t have that option? And what about cravings?

  20. by Tammy


    What is so special about the HCG diet? I would think that it would be better to eat like this all the time in the first place. Is this what they would call intermittent fasting? I was told that this was a bad idea because of the starvation mode that your body goes into. Is that a false statement are people being taught wrong?

  21. by Richard


    The single most important contributing factor to poor health and premature ageing (internally and externally) is a high calorie diet. Many animal studies have conclusively shown that calorie restriction is associated with longevity. For this reason, it is important to keep track of how much you eat every day or to follow the principles from the HCG diet. I never considered fasting periods until I learned about the role timing plays into it.

  22. by Samuel


    When I tried a high-low carb diet, I got the cans of Turkey Breast or the cans of Chicken Breast. They are easy to measure out the oz. I also got bags of Shrimp. For veggies I got the bags of Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers….they have a lot of varieties to choose from that are low cal. I also got cans of French Style Green Beans, Mixed Veggies and Black-Eyed Peas. I also ate lots of apples and oranges.

  23. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    You will be pleasantly surprised, Judson.


  24. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, George…That sounds about right. The reduced food intake forces your body to hunt for replacements, which the hormone directs to be derived from ‘abnormal’ fat – i.e., visceral fat.

    All the best,

  25. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    I’ve heard the same thing, Barry. The fact of the matter is that we did not evolve to eat three meals per day. That is a modern invention.

    All the best,

  26. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Dexter:

    What I do is replace ‘comfort’ junk foods with healthful items that are equally mouth-watering. For me, this includes a handful of macademia nuts or cashews, a few pork rinds dipped in clam sauce, or even a half an avocado. Delicious! These kinds of things will help you put junk foods in the background, much to the benefit of your health.


  27. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    That is very prescient of you, Tammy. Indeed, intermittent fasting is a fantastic way to accelerate any strategy that you follow. As for myself, I fast at least twice per week for about 24 hours at a time.


  28. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Also, Richard, make note of the similar health results between calorie restriction, which advocates a 30 percent reduced intake at every meal, versus intermittent fasting. When I fast for 24 hours, twice per week, I am a little hungry on those particular days. However, even the staunchest followers of calorie restriction are typically hungry all the time. It is not for me!

    All the best,

  29. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Sounds good, Samuel. Except for the lack of fat. What you describe is way to low on crucial fat intake.

    All the best,

  30. by Columbus


    I’ve just been reminded, by an article in my TV guide, of a BBC documentary shown a few months ago by another Dr on intermittent fasting. The Doctor had high levels of visceral fat (he looked thin on the outside but had a lot of fat around his organs) and was borderline diabetic with high cholesterol and a family history of premature death through heart disease, hence his interest. He has done some interesting TV documentaries on scientific evidence-based weight loss.

  31. by Dorothy


    I heard it from some of my friends that it is a good idea to keep a food journal. It’s a good idea, when you’re on any diet, to keep a journal that details what you have and have not been eating. Seeing each successful day recorded in print can have a strong motivating effect, as well as help keep your diet varied and interesting.

  32. by Anthony


    I understand eating well but what is this HCG diet that people are doing and then not knowing how to eat afterwards? I would love to try this and the more I read about it the more I like the idea. You have a great post here and the eating importance should be stressed to all people that are trying to live healthy or lose weight.

  33. by Barry


    I never considered trying fasting periods for fat loss, but recently, I started taking a natural supplement that reduces your appetite and this enabled me to try fasting. Once I did, I lost weight at a greater rate than before and I worked out before and after I started taking it. So I think I will start to follow the HCG diet principles more closely.

  34. by Amanda


    This was a great reminder to those of us that have been doing a diet even if it wasn’t the HCG diet. You have to change your lifestyle in order to keep the weight off if you don’t, it doesn’t matter what diet you were on you are going to regain the weight you lost. I hate that fact but it’s true we have to go back to eating the way of the old days.

  35. by Kimberly


    So many people think that they can continue to eat the same way as they used to when they lose the weight that they want. They don’t stop to realize that the way you were eating is what caused the weight gain in the first place and when you stopped it obviously came off. We need to eat like they did in the old days really, grow what you eat.

  36. by Columbus


    I discovered that the Simeons protocol made my blood sugar go seriously wonky – up as high as 126 one morning. I started taking my blood sugar after meals, and discovered quite quickly that a supper of chicken breast and cabbage (a very tasty salad) left me with sugar of 147 two hours after dinner. Clearly this was not working out for me. I quit after just two days of the 500 calorie per day phase of the protocol.

  37. by James


    Eating correctly in the first place is where so many people go wrong, you gain weight because you start eating the super sized fries and the supersized sugar filled soda’s and things like that or the big candy bars that is actually enough for three people. Society today has changed us from our natural programming to eat right and forced us to change to this.

  38. by Anthony


    This is a great post I think this is something that everyone should know and practice regardless if they were on a diet before hand or not. Thank you for posting this I hope that a lot of people read it and get on board with it soon. Maybe they should all read the book Fit for Life and see what they can get out of that. Keep up the good work.

  39. by Columbus


    I think this is a great blog post to show people the way they should eat. I was following the South Beach Diet really close for a couple of years but I fell off the wagon when I was traveling over the road with my husband in a semi tractor trailer and you just can’t eat the way you are supposed to out there. I am getting back to it now.

  40. by John


    This is a great blog post so many people think that when they finish a diet they can just eat whatever they want to eat and the weight will stay off because they lost it but they don’t stop to think about why they gained it in the first place. Keep up the good work with these because you are retraining people from what they believe.

  41. by Elizabeth


    It is the beyond that people have a problem with you have to eat the right foods from the first day you change because it has to be a life style change not just a diet. Thank you for posting this because I am sure there are many people confused at how they are supposed to eat in the first place. Keep up the good work your doin great.

  42. by William


    Some time around 2004, I noticed that while I was getting a ton of benefit from cheat days in terms of fat loss and mental reprieve, the “digestive aftermath” wasn’t pleasant. If I cheated on a Sunday, I would pay for it Monday in terms of intestinal distress. Not only would I be in the bathroom more than I wanted, but my stomach would hurt, and eating was a huge chore.

  43. by Sandy


    I understand that this HCG diet is rather radical and you are only supposed to be on if for a certain amount of time, what if the person goes further on it what will happen? I agree that the eating right after the diet is a huge thing to concur and what I am asking is what if you aren’t ready so you just stay on the diet?

  44. by Julio


    I never understood what happens in the body when you eat, this was a very interesting post and it makes me understand more about myself and what I should eat more. If you know how your body digests food then you know what it is going to take to make sure you have enough fuel to exercise later etc. and what is going to happen when you eat something you shouldn’t.

  45. by Jodie


    Ok Doc. Do you or don’t you fast twice a week? One post says you do and the next one days you don’t!

  46. by Connie



    I can’t find anywhere on your website that talks about doing a second round of hcg. Can you start a second round after the 21-day phase 3 is over?

    thank you

  47. by Lisa Millette


    Today is my 19th day of injections and I have reached my goal. I would like to start maintenance right away. I have a big anniversary party on day 19 of P3 will the 19 days be enough on maintenance to introduce carbs?

    Thank you. Great site

  48. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Lisa…It should be fine. Follow up with a steak day if necessary afterwards.

    All the best,

  49. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Connie…I suggest you dig into the protocol more thoroughly. See my book here:


    All the best,

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