Tag: rapid weight loss

Why You Should Eat Whole Foods

Most people are largely unaware of the fact that what they are eating isn’t actually food.

Sure it may look like food, but in reality “food-like product” would be a better term for it.

Ultra-processed, hyperpalatable “food-like products” take many forms but most of them will require more resources to digest them than they provide – essentially negating one of the two major factors for why we eat in the first place: nutrition. As humans we are programmed to eat in order to obtain energy (calories) and nutrition (micronutrients/fatty acids/amino acids/etc).

Our biological drive to eat has been hijacked relatively recently, but once you have an awareness of this fact, it is possible to gain control once again. Shifting your dietary focus towards more whole foods is just one part of eating for health and longevity, but it is a major part. Whole foods are those that are closer to their natural state, have been minimally processed, contain no artificial ingredients, and by definition provide at least some of the raw materials we need to build a healthy body and mind while simultaneously allowing for greater appetite control, better digestion, and so much more. There is no single factor that will lead to you being healthy today, tomorrow, and long into the future, but choosing foods that are closer to their whole, natural state over those that have been packaged and heavily processed is typically at the foundation of any eating plan we develop at Ikon Health. Research continues to prove that there are countless health benefits to opting for an apple over applesauce, veggies over poptarts, or fruit instead of potato chips – at least most of the time. Although there are no foods that can be considered inherently bad (except maybe trans fats), we are going to cover the three major components that are often missing from these “food-like products”, and what they often do contain that you should be aware of. 

Protein: building health & longevity

Perhaps the most common aspect of whole-food nutrition that most processed and packaged foods are missing is protein.

Even all the cereals and bars that contain added protein often come up short in this absolutely crucial macronutrient. Your body literally requires that you eat protein in your diet in order to survive, it is essential. Within that total daily protein requirement (most research indicates about .6-.8 grams per pound of bodyweight is sufficient for the average person, although it is much higher for athletes, there are more factors to consider).

For instance, each protein source consists of a relatively unique amino acid profile. Amino acids are the molecular building blocks of proteins and long story short, some protein sources have profiles that are more favorable to health than others. This is why protein quality must be considered as well as protein quantity – what kinds of protein you eat is nearly as important as how much total protein you eat. Processed foods are usually devoid of protein and those that do contain it often consist of less than favorable amino acid profiles. Your body needs protein to build muscle, manufacture neurotransmitters, create DNA, and so much more. Not to mention that foods containing protein (and fiber) are by far the most satiating, helping to regulate appetite and allowing you to maintain control of your diet just that much more. This satiating effect is nothing to scoff at – especially if you are dieting to lose excess body fat.

Dieting for weight loss requires that you cut calories – it sucks, I know. However, if you cut calories and slash your total protein intake, you have a recipe for losing lean body mass (muscle). This fact was demonstrated beautifully by a study conducted by Baylor University showing that women following a higher protein diet (up to 40% daily calories from protein) experienced greater loss in body weight, fat mass, percent body fat, and waist circumference when compared to women following a high carbohydrate/low protein diet (15% total calories from protein). This mirrors the common understanding in the fitness-research community that higher protein diets both support muscle growth (anabolism) and prevent muscle loss (catabolism). It is worth mentioning one more time – protein is invaluable for maintaining health and fostering longevity. Next on the list of reasons why packaged and processed foods just simply aren’t cutting it nutrition-wise is fiber. 

Fiber: more than just metamucil

Fiber is a rather important component of sound nutrition whose awareness has long since been relegated to members of the advanced-age population just trying to keep things regular. Fortunately, fiber has undergone a bit of a renaissance in recent years and people are beginning to become aware of the benefits of eating both soluble and insoluble fiber for gut health, appetite control, and more. Soluble fiber (think oats, chia seeds, etc.) and insoluble fiber (think leafy greens, some veggies, nuts, etc.) play slightly different roles and it is important that you consume enough of each. But how do you know if you are getting enough? Well, eat whole foods and pay attention to your digestion. If everything runs smooth, you have no bloating or gas, and your bowel movements are normal (see bristol stool chart), you are probably in the fiber intake “sweet spot”. 

Micronutrients: you need them whether you want them or not

While fiber and protein are both incredibly important for overall health, micronutrients are the unsung heroes of human physiology.

Depending on who you ask, micronutrients are the vitamins, and minerals (some people like to include specific amino/fatty acids to this list) that you need in small quantities from your diet in order to survive.

But just because you only need them in small amounts doesn’t mean they aren’t important – in fact, nothing could be further from the truth…

Micronutrients play countless, vital roles throughout the body including facilitating energy production, enabling DNA repair, allowing proper immune function, blood clotting, tissue growth and repair, bone health, fluid balance, and so much more. Many processed and packaged foods have been fortified with certain vitamins and minerals to try and remedy their lack of micronutrition (often caused by the actual processing itself), which is a bit like missing the forest for the trees. Adding micronutrients into common foods is a practice that was once a saving grace for the general population (see: iodized table salt) when food distribution and supply was limited. Flash-forward to 2020 and the American population generally has access to more food than ever – theoretically negating the need for grains, cereals, and other food products to be fortified with vitamins and minerals to support health – if we would just eat whole foods more often.

Unfortunately, these fortified products may still be the primary (albeit inadequate) source of micronutrients for some people. Although what is missing from packaged and processed foods may be enough of a reason for most people to switch to a more whole foods-based diet, what they do contain may be even more alarming. 

What Is In Processed Foods?

Packaged and heavily processed foods are created to be hyperpalatable.

What this means is they have been designed and developed to manipulate our brain’s ancient reward mechanisms. While this isn’t meant to sound alarmist, it is important that you become aware of it.

In nature, we rarely (if ever) would encounter the ingredients and sensations found in that box of crackers, sleeve of cookies, or toaster pastries all in one place. Combining high-carbohydrate with a high-fat content triggers a deeply-rooted reward mechanism within our brains that drives us to overeat (why do you think foods like nachos, pizza, or cake are so tasty?). Our brains have not yet caught on to the fact that food is no longer scarce for most people. Calories are on every corner and in every cabinet, but our biology hasn’t realized that quite yet.

To accomplish this rewarding sensation, companies have crammed in processed vegetable oils like soybean, canola, corn, and other heavily processed and unstable oils into the same products that contain high amounts of carbohydrates from sugar, refined grains, and other sources. Considering the fact that the British Medical Journal published a cross-sectional study that found 59.7% of total energy (calories) consumed by Americans came from ultra-processed foods, it is no wonder obesity and it’s related diseases have become and remain increasingly prevalent. Consistently eating foods high in sugar, low in fiber or protein, and high in unhealthy oils results in our insulin and blood sugar levels being yanked around, allows chronic inflammation to run amuck, and our body having to work overtime to achieve homeostasis or balance behind the scenes. 

Our Approach To Nutrition

Ikon Health takes a whole foods-based approach when designing eating plans for all the reasons we have already covered. Most of our clients follow a an intuitive eating lifestyle, which still allows them to eat foods they love, in moderation, while focusing primarily on what you are eating, rather than what you aren’t eating. Ikon Health does offer a more rapid weight loss protocol for individuals who are very heavy or obese. We offer this plan in order to quickly get our heavier clients back to health as quick as possible. Our rapid fat loss protocol is similar to the HCG diet, without having to buy hcg injections, yet, more effective. The rapid fat loss program implements a VLCD, or very low calorie diet, paired with medical services designed to help improve overall health and wellness.

There are few aspects of a healthy lifestyle that have as much clout as shifting away from heavily packaged and processed foods does. This is by no means a condemnation of processed foods entirely. In fact, modern processing and packaging has made foods available to more people, extended shelf life, and made them better tasting and cheaper. It is important to keep in mind however that obtaining energy (calories) isn’t the only reason that we eat, however.

Ignoring the concept and requirement of eating for actual nutrition is a recipe for experiencing uncontrolled hunger, cravings, and likely overeating. If you are looking to add health back into your life, and facilitate the process of gaining muscle or losing body fat, we recommend you incorporate whole foods as much as possible to ensure you are getting the protein, fiber, and micronutrients your body requires. Adding these crucial nutritional components back into your diet and avoiding the processed oils and refined carbohydrates found in processed foods as much as possible is likely your “secret” to improved health – only it isn’t a secret, it’s just a return to what was once considered common knowledge. 

Buy HCG Injections? Or Something Better?

Before You Buy HCG Injections Online

Don’t Buy HCG Before You See This

Buy HCG Injections Online

Better than HCG Shots

The HCG Diet Protocol with Peptides

The reason that so many individuals have gone to local weight loss clinics or online suppliers to buy hcg injections, was because for some, it seemed like the only diet plan that worked. There are a number of reasons why HCG diet injections paired with a low calorie diet caused fast weight loss, but the reality is that now, 70 years after the HCG Diet was first introduced, there are much better options for rapid fat loss. The answer? Peptides!

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The Replacement for HCG Shots

Our medically supervised Peptide Protocol has a number of benefits over the hCG Diet protocol for weight loss. Not only did we improve on the hcg diet protocol with an improved cyclic diet plan, but peptide injections are far superior to hcg diet injections. While clients can still purchase hcg shots from Ikon Health, in most cases we will recommend our peptide protocol instead. Not only do peptides work better than HCG injections, they are also more beneficial for anti-aging purposes and overall health. Additionally, clients can take peptide injections after they are finished with the diet, and continue to see improvements in their appearance.

Why are peptides better than buying HCG injections?

  • Stronger Metabolic (fat burning) Effect
  • Powerful Guard against muscle loss
  • Better Improvement of Energy Balance
  • Additional Anti-Aging Benefits
  • Improves Sleep and Energy
  • Improves Skin Health and Elasticity
  • Additionally Improves Sex Drive

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the details

Peptide Weight Loss Protocol

An improvement over the hcg diet program
Individuals all over the world schedule appointments with doctors to consult and buy hcg, or find some of the more recently available Telemedicine clinics to purchase HCG Shots online. It’s no mystery why the HCG Diet became such a popular diet for individuals who need to lose a significant amount of weight quickly. The mere idea of being able to lose weight with the help of a prescription medication sounds great to many who have tried all kinds of diets, only to fail in their efforts.
While the HCG Diet worked great for many individuals over the years, the diet has it’s problems. Many clients that buy hcg shots find they can lose weight quickly, but regain the weight almost as fast after they get back to regular life. Not only is the hcg diet not sustainable, but the once successful weight loss patient no longer has the aid of a prescription medication. Also, hCG injections provide no long term benefits for weight loss after a person discontinues use.
The importance of thinking two or three steps ahead in your weight loss journey cannot be overemphasized, because there is a secret that most people embarking upon this transformation don’t know: In America, we don’t have a weight loss problem, we have a weight management problem. Most people who seek to lose weight are able to do so, to some extent. It is the keeping the weight off that presents them with difficulty. The HCG Diet has proven time and time again with many patients, that the weight loss achieved through the HCG Diet is very difficult to sustain. Our Peptide Weight Loss Protocol is designed with exactly that issue in mind. It has been developed to create rapid weight loss while sparing lean body mass and minimizing any negative adaptations (like a reduced resting metabolic rate) that may often occur as a result of relatively aggressive calorie restriction. One of the main differences between the HCG Diet and our improved rapid fat los protocol, of course, is that you don’t purchase hcg injections. Instead, we will be using a peptides in place of hcg shots, which are more beneficial in a number of ways.
Before we start, it is absolutely vital that you understand the importance of taking care of the major factors that will influence your ability to lose weight. Without making sure you are getting enough quality sleep, managing stress, and staying active, your capacity for healthy and sustainable weight loss will be greatly diminished. There are so many factors that can influence weight loss which we have no control over, it is imperative we manage and take control of what we can.


Qualities Peptides HCG Injections
Fat Loss More Powerful Minimal Effects
Lean Body Mass More Powerful Significant Benefits
Hunger Some Reported Benefits Some Reported Benefits
Add’l Benefits Sleep, Energy, Skin/Hair/Nails Some Energy
Long-Term Effect Lasting Effects Minimal Lasting Effects
Anti-Aging Very Powerful Most Likely None

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A Critical Analysis of the HCG Diet

Does HCG Really Aid in Weight Loss?

When it comes to weight loss protocols, not many are as misunderstood and controversial as the hCG diet. Used for decades now to quickly lose substantial amounts of body fat in a short period of time, clients buy hcg injections to use in conjunction with the HCG diet, which involves a combination of extreme caloric restriction, and use of a hormone known formally as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) . From a mechanistic perspective it makes sense to use HCG as an aid for weight loss as it has the ability to promote the production of beneficial hormones in women, as well as men – theoretically resulting in less lean body mass being lost while on a calorically restricted diet for weight loss. This muscle-sparing capability is impossible to overemphasize because the ultimate goal for creating sustained weight loss success is to maintain, or even better, increase muscle mass while losing weight from body fat. 

Thus, the question of whether or not HCG is effective at enhancing weight loss when compared to placebo or any other strategy is potentially a misplaced one. Ultimately, the total weight loss is of far less importance when viewed through the lense of where that weight has been lost from (lean mass vs. fat mass). One source of weight loss (from reducing mostly fat mass) is far more preferable and will likely lead to much more lasting, albeit somewhat slower, results. The skillful application of HCG and the diet that accompanies it has no doubt been successful, but it is no less rife with controversy. Anecdotal reports of boosted weight loss while using the HCG diet protocol are often struck down by those demanding rigorous and randomized trials to determine whether or not a method is effective. We want to give you enough information for you to decide whether or not you think HCG will be a viable tool for you to use when seeking weight loss. 

What is HCG?

HCG is a 237 amino acid, proteoglycan that is very similar to other hormones like luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). HCG is primarily produced by specialized cells in the placenta during pregnancy, and its similarity to other hormones is part of why it can help the fat loss process – LH signals the gonads to produce testosterone. Once a female is pregnant, HCG is also responsible for promoting the production of certain hormones needed during the gestation process, kickstarting blood vessel formation where needed, and shielding the growing life from the mother’s immune system. These pregnancy-specific effects are not particularly relevant to the use of HCG as a weight loss aid however. Where HCG shines in this regard is by creating the hormonal conditions to lose fat, spare muscle, and have substantial energy available during a period of relatively extreme caloric restriction. Indeed, the ability for HCG to create at least a degree of anabolism (building) during an inherently degrading (catabolic) environment that is created while dieting for weight loss is precisely why it has gained favorability among bodybuilders, athletes, and other populations who are likely to utilize anabolic steroids. Chronic use of anabolic steroids will almost inevitably result in a dysfunctional relationship between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the gonads – an intricate relationship known as the HPG axis. In fact, this complex relationship was the focus of the initial campaign to use HCG as a weight loss aid by an infamous doctor experimenting on what he called “fat boys” way back in the 1950’s.

What is the HCG Diet?

Perhaps some of the negative perception regarding the use of HCG to enhance weight loss comes from the rather rudimentary dietary guidelines and loose science on which it is based in the first place. Research leading to the discovery of the fascinating hormone now commonly known as HCG dates all the way back to 1912, although the name was not coined until around 1927. As we alluded to already, the now infamous Dr. Simeons, whose name has become synonymous with the HCG diet, got the ball rolling to use the hormone as a means to enhance the weight loss process back in the 1950s – developing his protocol over the course of a few decades. Though his results are often sensationalized, misunderstood, misapplied, and haven’t been consistently replicated, the use of HCG as a weight loss aid has been popular ever since. Over the counter HCG products have been declared illegal by the FDA, but when it is prescribed by a medical professional, in combination with an intelligent plan for restricting energy (calorie) intake, HCG may be incredibly effective at preventing muscle loss while dieting for weight loss. Making any claims about losing stored fat from specific areas may be somewhat unfounded and would likely only detract from what should be the ultimate goal when using HCG as a weight loss aid which is losing fat, without losing muscle. 

More advanced variations of the HCG diet have been developed over time – although they all require some form of caloric restriction and usually involve specific macronutrient distributions. Macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) are not all created equal. 

Protein: the building block for tissues and arguably the most important macronutrient for weight loss, should always be eaten in adequate amounts if the goal is to lose fat and not muscle. Dietary fat: used for creating cell membranes, some hormones, as a source of energy, and a whole lot more, is also incredibly important for overall health and weight loss. 

Carbohydrates: almost exclusively utilized as a source of energy, are far less important to include in a weight loss diet – although they can be incredibly helpful when seeking to avoid specific metabolic adaptations that can occur energy restriction. 

It should be no surprise then, that even the original, outdated form of the HCG diet created by Dr. Simeons focused on protein and kept the intake of dietary fat and carbohydrates rather low. Another key component of the HCG diet protocol is the utilization of specific phases which each emphasize unique facets of an approach seeking to create lasting changes in body fat levels. 

Phase 1: Likely everyone’s favorite phase is known as the Loading Phase and it involves eating a surplus (or at least maintenance) of calories. This phase is meant to send a signal to the body and brain that energy is not scarce and that it is fine to metabolize stored body fat as fuel. 

Phase 2: This is where the real work begins. Known as the Low Calorie Diet Phase, phase 2 requires rather extreme caloric restriction. This restrictive phase creates a large energy deficit (specific calories vary) and encourages the body to utilize stored body fat as fuel to meet energy demands. Only approved foods are allowed during this phase and it is paramount that you align your intake as closely as possible with the guidelines provided to ensure you are giving yourself every opportunity to be successful.  

Phase 3: Arguably the most important phase, the Diet Break Phase. This phase will prepare you for maintaining your weight loss once the short HCG diet protocol is over. In addition to preparing you for daily life post-diet, the Diet Break Phase will also help to mitigate the metabolic adaptations that can occur from caloric restriction such as reductions in lean body mass, suppressed energy levels, decreased hormonal function, and more. Intelligent practitioners usually reincorporate carbohydrates during this time. 

Phase 4: The inherently restrictive nature of the HCG diet necessitates a short duration. From this starting point you will need to transition into a lifestyle which facilitates weight maintenance. This is where the Transition and Maintenance Phase comes in. Understanding and controlling your food intake is key to creating lasting, sustainable changes in your weight. Calories are increased during this phase to determine how many you should eat, and weight continues to be monitored over time. This information will be invaluable for guiding decisions and helping to develop a fully individualized plan for the future. 

Should You do the HCG Diet?

Although the HCG diet is rife with controversy, and people like to point out that it hasn’t been scientifically proven to increase weight loss when compared to other protocols, it remains a viable option for facilitating faster weight loss. Empirically proven or not, there is no end to the anecdotal reports of successful and sustained weight loss being achieved by HCG users. Keep in mind however, the HCG diet protocol, in any form, is meant to be a short term headstart for weight loss. For many people seeking to lose weight, the initial loss in body fat enabled by an HCG diet plan can be exactly the jumpstart they need to gain the momentum and drive required to sustain what will almost certainly be a long road to weight loss success – however they may define it. Because such extreme cuts in calorie intake are utilized, some individuals may experience adverse events that simply suggest they aren’t suited for this level of calorie restriction. Admittedly there is much room for improvement on the original protocol created by Dr. Simeons and many weight loss experts have put their own spin on it in order to create a plan that is both safer and more effective. Perhaps, there are further alternatives to the HCG diet which utilize other naturally occurring compounds (maybe…peptides?) to prevent muscle loss while enhancing the fat loss process. This kind of protocol is exactly what we are developing at Ikon Health in order to bring a more practical and applicable approach to rapid fat loss utilizing customized calorie restriction plans, specific peptides, precisely applied exercise, and comprehensive coaching to increase our client’s weight loss success. 

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