Basics of HCG Approved Food List
While on the HCG diet, Dr. Simeons explains in his protocol that a strict diet of 500 calories a day is necessary in order to see the full effects of the HCG hormone. Within his protocol Pounds and Inches Away published in 1967, Simeons explains that “The diet used in conjunction with HCG must not exceed 500 calories per day, and the way these calories are made up is of utmost importance.” Simeons knew that simply cutting calories, was not the proper method to weight loss due to the harmful effects certain foods could still have on the body. This methodology is emphasized as he states, “if a patient drops the apple and eats an extra breadstick instead, he will not be consuming more calories, but he will not lose weight.” This is due to the fact that certain foods, especially fruits and vegetables, could have low caloric value, but are absent from his list due to low nutritional value. These foods can interfere with regular weight loss while on the HCG diet, due to their composition. Simeons points out pimiento peppers, okra, artichokes and pears as examples of foods with few calories, but are still harmful to the body when trying to lose weight.
Something to keep in mind when on the HCG diet is your geographic location. Simeons, who wrote his protocol in Italy, based off of the caloric value of Italian foods, explains that certain modifications should be made if you are dieting in another country. For example, beef in the United States has almost double the calories of South Italian beef, which contains much less fat. Because of this, Simeons substitutes low-grade veal to be used while following the diet. Italian breadsticks, known as Grissini, are perfect for the HCG diet, but are mostly unavailable to people in the U.S. Melba toast can be used instead, even though, as Simeons puts it “they are psychologically less satisfying.” Even when changes are being made to the diet due to location-based feeding habits, Simeons continues to stress that the total daily intake should not exceed 500 calories. If dieters would like to see the best results, they should follow this protocol, sticking to approved foods. A daily ration should contain 200 grams of fat-free protein, a mix of fruits and vegetables, and a small amount of starch.
In his protocol, Simeons also makes it clear that because the daily dose of HCG drops is consistent for everyone, the same diet should be followed, regardless of who is doing it. The same diet should prove to be effective whether it is “a small elderly lady of leisure or a hard working muscular giant.” Simeons states that no matter the shape or size of the body, it is able to get all the calories it needs from abnormal fat deposits, regardless of whether you are burning 1,500 or 4,000 calories per day. Simeons emphasizes this point in his protocol, explaining that we use our fat for fuel far more often than we use what we eat to move us during the day. Before diving into the specific foods allowed on the HCG diet, Simeons breaks down a few unique scenarios that could apply to a variety of people trying to follow the HCG diet.
Special HCG Situations
The first example he covers is vegetarians, who are unable to consume any sort of animal protein. In order to obtain the proper amount of protein per day, which is 200 grams, Simeons says they must drink 500 cc or just over 2 cups of skimmed milk per day. When it comes to fruit, vegetables and starch, the vegetarian diet is very similar to that of the HCG diet. However, they will not consume their usual intake of vegetable proteins from legumes such as beans or derived from wheat and nuts. Due to some of these restrictions, vegetarians see about half the average weight loss of non-vegetarians while following this plan. Simeons attributes this to the amount of sugar in the milk that vegetarians need to substitute for animal protein. More information about following the HCG Diet as a vegetarian can be found here.
Faulty dieting is another aspect of the HCG diet that Simeons stresses in his protocol. While on the HCG diet, it is crucial that the approved foods list is followed, as “the slightest deviation from the diet has disastrous results as far as the weight is concerned.” While taking the HCG hormone and following the strict diet, the body is extremely sensitive to anything that isn’t approved by Dr. Simeons’ list. Small errors can stop the weight loss process, and ruin previous progress. Simeons mentions that people in high official positions are still able to follow the HCG diet with the proper preparations and discipline. If they are at official dinners, it is important to stick to the diet, and work around foods that don’t follow the guidelines. This is extremely important due to the fact that a meal against protocol can cost them three days of treatment progress. Something that many patients have questioned about the HCG diet is the use of vitamins. There is a common fear that the restricted diet is limiting the amount of vitamins and minerals they are getting. However, physicians can assure their patients that when they are losing fatty tissue, only the actual fat is being burned, and the vitamins, proteins and minerals contained within the foods are still taken in by the body.
Following the HCG Diet
Before going over the list of approved foods, it is important to understand the specific way in which the diet should be followed. Every item on Dr. Simeons’ list is carefully researched and picked for specific reasons. No variations or substitutes can be used for the approved food list. All items that are not on the list are forbidden, due to the fact that nothing permissible has been left off. When it comes to the daily ration of meat, the 200 grams should be weighed raw, after any visible fat has been trimmed off. Another important aspect Simeons points out is the way in which meals are broken up. A breadstick and an apple can be eaten for breakfast or right before bed, as long as it is deducted from the regular meals. However, it is important to keep in mind that a daily ration of two breadsticks and two fruits should not be consumed at the same time. Furthermore, items saved or not eaten in previous days cannot be transferred and eaten on the next day. Since a new diet can often be difficult to track at first, Simeons highly recommends keeping a diet sheet to reference, with a list of everything consumed each day. If a cheat does occur, find out what you can do about it here. Some patients have asked before about following the diet protocol without taking the HCG hormone. Simeons is very much against doing this, and explains that it will lead to trouble in just a few days. Furthermore, it is important to note that showing off to friends about your dieting powers, without letting them know about taking HCG hormones is also dangerous. This can cause friends to try the same diet without the hormone, which proves to be a failure and can often be dangerous.
When it comes to finding loopholes in the diet and protocol, Simeons suggests finding another way to lose weight instead. His protocol and plan was researched for decades, and each food and procedure is chosen for a specific reason. Loopholes such as eating two small apples instead of the recommended one large apple, can change the caloric value delivered and alter dieting results. Similarly, chicken breast must be from a chicken and cannot be replaced by the breast of any other fowl. Simeons promises results if dieters follow the exact process and protocol, and any attempts at tricking the system or getting around certain foods can prove to be detrimental to results. It is best to follow the process that he lays out in his manual, and follow this list of approved foods, straight from his book Pounds and Inches Away. With each of Dr. Simeons’ approved foods, we will also dive into the benefits of consuming each when it comes to not only weight loss, but also overall vitamin, mineral and protein content.
HCG Diet Meals
Beginning with breakfast, tea or coffee in any quantity is allowed, but no sugar can be added. Instead, a sugar substitute should be used, such as Stevia. A tablespoon of milk is allowed per 24 hours. As for lunch, there are a variety of meat options that are approved by Dr. Simeons. These include 100 grams of veal, beef, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab or shrimp. Before cooking all meats, they should be trimmed of all fat and weighed raw. The meat should then be boiled or grilled, with no additional fats added. Any fish such as salmon, eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickled fish are not allowed on the HCG diet. White fish such as Tilapia, Cod and Halibut are permitted, as well as albacore tuna (packed in water only).
Along with your meat choice at lunch, one type of vegetable can be eaten. Most vegetables are approved for the HCG Diet, with the exception of high starch options such as corn and potatoes which are left off the list. All greens are approved on the diet and eating a variety of vegetables each day is highly recommended. The protocol states that 2 cups of vegetables per day should be eaten, and split between both meals. Dieters should choose from the following list: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus and cabbage. One breadstick (Grissini), or if not available, one Melba toast can be eaten as well. For fruits, one apple, a handful of strawberries or one-half grapefruit rounds out the meal. The fruit or breadstick can be eaten between meals, instead of during lunch or dinner, however, no more than four items on the list should be eaten at one meal. As for dinner, the same four choices should be used as lunch.
Simeons also outlines a variety of rules that go along with what can be eaten while on the diet. Tea, coffee, plain water, or mineral water are the only drinks that can be used, however, they can be consumed in any quantity, at any time. Check out these 6 beverages you should be drinking when on the HCG Diet. Simeons recommends that HCG dieters consume around 2 liters of fluids per day. Many dieters believe this will cause them to retain more water, however, this is not the case, and furthermore, the body is inclined to store more water when it is not being hydrated enough. The juice of one lemon per day is allowed for any purpose. As for seasoning, salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard powder, garlic, sweet basil, parsley, thyme, marjoram, etc. can all be used. However, no oil, butter or dressing should be consumed while on the diet.
Dr. Oz HCG Diet
With most diets, there are always variations to what the proper foods and processes are to lose weight. The HCG diet has had a resurgence, due to Dr. Oz bringing it to light in 2013. Dr. Oz’s vegetable list contains: any kind of lettuce, onions, tomatoes, fennel, cucumber, radishes, celery and asparagus. For proteins he lists white fish, lobster, crab, shrimp and extra lean beef (96% lean ground beef including pot roast). For fruits his list contains apples, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and lemons. For condiments, Dr. Oz approves Braggs Liquid Amino (healthy soy sauce substitute), mustard, apple cider vinegar and any natural herbs or spices. While not drastically different than Simeons’ approved foods, it is important to note that there are a variety of methods and processes you can follow while on the HCG Diet. We suggest following the approved foods list that is explained in the previous paragraphs, which come straight from Dr. Simeons book, Pounds and Inches Away.
When it comes to salt, Simeons explains that there is no restriction on the use of salt. Instead, he focuses the attention on hydration and ensuring that dieters drink large quantities of water while taking the HCG hormone. The goal of reducing abnormal fat is a completely separate process than salt consumption, and does nothing to affect weight loss. However, although there is no limit, the daily salt intake should roughly stay consistent as not to suddenly alter the body’s balances, which can give faulty results day to day.
Makeup and Cosmetics on the HCG Diet
Another important aspect of the HCG diet, often overlooked, is the use of cosmetics, which can often be a hidden issue when it comes to weight loss results. Simeons explains that many of his patients were surprised to hear that the fats and oils contained in their creams and ointments could be absorbed after being applied to the skin. Once absorbed, they can interfere with weight loss, in the same way as if the fat and oil had been eaten. Simeons emphasizes the sensitivity of the body while doing the HCG diet and the importance of controlling as many variables as possible. This minor increase in fat and oil can have dramatic effects on the success of the diet. Simeons uses an example of a worker at a beauty parlor, who is constantly handling organic fats, and never had a satisfactory loss of weight until they eliminated contact with these fats and their skin. Simeons solution is to use plain mineral oil, which has no nutritional value. However, mineral oil should not be used in preparing food, since it has laxative qualities and can absorb fat-soluble vitamins which are later released from the body. The use of lipstick, powder and lotions that are free of fatty substances, are all approved on the HCG diet. Brilliantine can also be used on the hair, but not to be rubbed into the scalp. Sun-tan oil is strictly prohibited. Approved cosmetics include: Mineral based/oil free foundation/lotions, bare essentials/bare minerals, mineral stick deodorant (Crysalux Crystal), baking soda, face soap/make up removers, Arbonne, Neutrogena Oil Free Cream Cleanser, and Witch Hazel. For skin and lip moisturizers, there are a variety of approved products to choose from. However, various foods can also be eaten to promote healthy skin, check out the link for more info. For HCG approved products they include: Alba Oil Free Facial Moisturizer, Aloe Vera 100%, coconut oil (cold pressed), Fiji Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Kiss my Face Oil Free Moisturizer, St. Ives Vanilla Lotion. As for shampoos and conditioners, approved products include Aubrey Organics, Life Extension, Magik Botanicals Oil Free Shampoo and Conditioner, Mastey Products, and Natures Gate Alovera. Dial soap can be used as well as baking soda for everyday cleaning. Sunscreen should be used based off the following products: Aveeno Oil Free Sunscreen, Clarins Oil Free Sun Care Spray SPF 15, Coppertone Oil Free Sun Block for Faces SPF 30, Coppertone Oil Free Sun Block Lotion, Ocean Potion Sport Xtreme Sun Block Water and Sweat, Oil Free Sport Xtreme Sun Block, Peter Thomas Roth Ultra Lite Oil Free sun products, Zia Oil Free Sunscreen SPF 15. For toothpaste, Spry and Tom’s of Maine toothpaste are both acceptable. For an easily printable list, check out a List of Recommended Beauty Products Safe for HCG.
HCG Approved Foods
To aid dieters in the choosing of foods on a daily basis, we will break down the caloric information of the approved foods, explain the various benefits you receive from each item, and provide a few HCG approved recipes that you can try out at home. This will help you better plan out what foods you’d like to eat, and stick to your diet goals.
Fish (3.5 oz):
- Lobster – 98 calories
- Cod – 83 calories
- Shrimp – 110 calories
- Tilapia – 94 calories
- Flounder – 90 calories
- Halibut – 110 calories
- Crab Meat – 100 calories
- Red Snapper – 110 calories
- Haddock – 88 calories
Meat (3.5 oz):
- Sirloin – 110 calories
- Loin Chop – 117 calories
- 93/7 Lean Ground Beef – 150 calories
- Cube Steak – 160 calories
- Sirloin Tip Side Steaks – 130 calories
- Top Round Steak – 166 calories
- Tri-Tip Steak – 154 calories
- Chicken Breast – 216 calories
Vegetables (3.5 oz):
- Asparagus – 20 calories
- Broccoli – 34 calories
- Celery – 15 calories
- Cabbage – 24 calories
- Cauliflower – 22 calories
- Cucumber – 12 calories
- Lettuce – 20 calories
- Radishes – 12 calories
- Spinach – 20 calories
- Tomato – 20 calories
- Apple (small) – 55 calories
- Apple (medium) – 72 calories
- Apple (large) – 110 calories
- Orange (navel) – 69 calories
- Orange (Florida) – 65 calories
- Orange (California) – 59 calories
- Strawberries (12 large) – 72 calories
- Pink Grapefruit (California) – 92 calories
- Pink Grapefruit (Florida) – 74 calories
- Grissini Breadstick (3 gram) – 12 calories
- Melba Toast (3 gram) – 12 calories
Example meal plans can be found below, along with the overall health, nutritional and weight loss benefits that each food provides. For an easily printable list of approved foods, check out this link.
Example Day 1:
Breakfast: Herbal tea with Stevia, and 1 piece of Melba Toast
Lunch: 3 oz of grilled chicken breast, 3.5 oz of Asparagus, 1 breadstick and a small apple
Dinner: 3 oz of baked halibut, 3.5 oz cauliflower, 1 breadstick and 12 strawberries
Nutrition Facts: 494 calories, 10.6g fiber, 31 carbs, 51g protein, 229mg sodium
Nutritional benefits of this meal:
Starting your day with a cup of herbal tea such as black tea or green tea is a great choice when it comes to your overall health. Green tea specifically has been shown to increase fat burning and boost your metabolic rate. In a study done on 10 healthy men, it was found that green tea increased energy expenditure by 4%. More information about this study can be found here. Mix in a spoonful or two of substitute sugar, such as Stevia, which is 3 times sweeter than sugar, but has very few calories and a low glycemic index. To go along with your tea, a slice of Melba Toast is an excellent way to incorporate a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrate into your diet.
Following breakfast, the caloric intake increases, with four items on the menu. At over 20g of protein and only 200 calories, grilled chicken breast is a great way to give your body the protein it needs to keep your muscles strong and well-fed while working out. Made up of important amino acids, the protein contained in chicken helps to form the building blocks of muscles in the body. Not only is chicken great for its protein content, but also the vitamins and minerals it contains. For example, the Vitamin B that chicken provides, can help boost immunity, regulate digestion and prevent problems such as migraines, high cholesterol and diabetes. Also contained within chicken is vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium and strengthens bones. Vitamin A, also found in chicken, helps with overall eye health, while its traces of iron help with muscle activity. Overall, diets with high levels of protein are shown to help with weight loss, as it provides the necessary protein your muscles need to burn abnormal fat. Along with the chicken at lunch, choose a few ounces of asparagus. It’s packed with fiber and antioxidants that keep your body running smoothly. Vitamins such as A, C, E, and B6 as well as high levels of iron, copper, and calcium, give your body the key nutrients it needs while on a restricted caloric intake. At only 32 calories per cup, asparagus contains a lot of soluble and insoluble fiber, which is great when you’re trying to lose weight. The fiber, while helping with digestion, is consumed slowly by the body and keeps you full longer in between meals. Antioxidants found in asparagus, especially the purple kind, can help your body fight against cancer cells and strengthen your immune system. Adding a bit of sweetness to the end of your meal can be a great way to boost your energy, while also providing your body with excellent nutrients and vitamins. Apples, ranked first in Medical News Today’s article on top 10 healthy foods, are high in Vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant that can fight against free radicals and infectious agents. Along with minerals such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus, the B-complex vitamins within apples are great for maintaining red blood cells and keeping the nervous system in great shape.
Dinner contains plenty of natural and nutritious items such as halibut, cauliflower and strawberries, all of which have immense health benefits to the body. Halibut is an excellent source of protein, potassium, selenium and vitamin B12. It is also rich in fiber, and contains more than oatmeal and a variety of vegetables. The Satiety Index of Common Foods also ranks white fish such as halibut, as number two for the most filling foods, only topped by potatoes. This is due to the high protein content and also the influence it has on serotonin, a key hormone responsible for controlling appetite signals. Omega 3 fatty acids, which can be found in various white fish, are essential for the body and cannot be synthetically created. Therefore, it needs to be supplied from an external source such as cod and halibut. Other nutrients such as magnesium, in which halibut contains 22mg, helps relax arteries and veins in the body, which in turn, increases blood flow. Cooking methods such as broiling, baking and grilling, instead of deep frying, can help keep all the nutrients in the foods.
Pair your halibut with some steamed or baked cauliflower which is rich in vitamins and minerals. Cauliflower contains high levels of sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has been seen to kill cancer stem cells and limit tumor growth. Its anti-cancer effects can also help prevent prostate cancer, when combined with turmeric, which contains the active compound curcumin. Not only is it great for preventing cancer, but it also controls inflammation in the body due to its various compounds. Lastly, cauliflower contains 77% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, which is key to body development and repairs of body tissue. Also a good source of vitamin k, thiamin, phosphorous and potassium, cauliflower is a one-stop shop for many vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. Finishing your meal off with a dozen strawberries is a great way to not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but also provide your body with vitamins, potassium and fiber. All of these can help with weight loss and strengthen your body overall. Strawberries help promote the creation of adiponectin and leptin hormones, which both help with fat burning and increasing your metabolism. They also have anti-inflammatory properties by limiting the impact of enzymes and genes that can promote inflammation in the body. This is due to the high antioxidant content contained within them. Eating water rich foods such as strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes, which can contain up to 90% water, helps contribute to better overall hydration if eaten with a steady consumption of water as well. Containing more vitamin C than oranges by weight, one cup of strawberries fulfills 141% of your daily vitamin C needs. While not directly shown to cause weight loss, vitamin C deficiencies have been shown to hinder weight and body fat loss, so ensure that you’re fulfilling your daily needs while dieting. Vitamin C has also been shown to help dieters with high blood pressure. Lastly, strawberries are rich in nitrate, which can help increase the flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles by 7%. This has been shown to help dieters burn more calories and lessen overall fatigue.
Example Day 2:
Breakfast: Herbal tea with Stevia, and 1 breadstick
Lunch: 3.5 oz of shrimp, 3.5 oz spinach, 2 Melba Toast and a small orange
Dinner: 3 oz of beef, 3.5 oz tomatoes, 1 breadsticks and ½ grapefruit
Nutrition Facts: 493 calories, 19g sugar, 46 carbs, 45g protein, 281 sodium
Nutritional benefits of this meal:
Shrimp packs a punch when it comes to key nutrients and protein content. At around 20 grams of protein per 3 ounces, it provides just a few grams less than the same amount of chicken. A single jumbo shrimp provides about 3 grams of protein, but has very little fat and carbohydrates, making it a great food while trying to lose weight. It also comes close to fulfilling the body’s daily value for selenium, a trace mineral that can help limit inflammation, protect against heart disease and maintain a healthy metabolism. Along with selenium, shrimp provides around 60% of your daily vitamin B12 needs and 40% for phosphorous. To go along with the shrimp, try some sauteed spinach, which provides your body with 3.6g of carbohydrates, 2.2g of which are dietary fiber. Spinach contains 70% insoluble fiber, which helps improves digestion function and the transportation of food through the body. The other 30% is soluble fiber, which keeps your body from absorbing some fats contained in other foods. Fiber plays an important role in the body and especially weight loss. Learn more about the different types of fiber here. Spinach also has a low glycemic index of just 15, which makes it the perfect food for promoting weight loss and eliminating cellulite. 100 grams of spinach also contains 558mg of potassium, about 16% of your daily value. Containing more potassium than 100g of bananas, increased consumption helps with preserving bone mineral density and retaining muscle mass. It has also been shown to help prevent kidney stones, as well as control heart rate and blood pressure. To finish off lunch, try a small or medium orange. They have over 170 different phytochemicals and 60 flavonoids, many of which have strong antioxidant benefits and anti-inflammatory properties. One orange provides 130% of your daily vitamin C needs, which helps boost your immune system and keeps the body running smoothly. Choline, a vitamin contained in oranges, with 36mg per orange, has been shown to help with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory.
For dinner, the main meal of beef, tomatoes and grapefruit, contains a variety of
vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. At around 26 grams of protein, the 100g of beef will keep you full and strong while on the HCG diet. Beef also provides 35% of your vitamin B3 needs and 107% for vitamin B12. Maintaining a strong supply of proteins, vitamins and minerals is crucial while on the HCG diet, due to the decrease in calories consumed. It is important to provide your body with the building blocks it needs to stay healthy as you lose weight. To go along with your main source of protein, tomatoes are a superfood when it comes to nutritional content and the benefits it provides your body. They are rich in vitamin C, at around 40% of your daily requirement per tomato, and also in vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that can improve your vision. Lycopene, a component of tomatoes, has been proven to help protect against cardiovascular disease and decrease cholesterol levels. Finishing the meal with half a grapefruit, brings the body similar benefits to the oranges consumed at lunch, due to its high vitamin A and C levels. However, it still has a low glycemic index of 25, therefore, not significantly affecting blood sugar and insulin levels. Studies done by Dr. Ken Fujioka as part of the Scripps Clinic, showed that on average, obese participants who consumed fresh grapefruit before each meal, lost the most weight at 3.52 pounds over 12 weeks, with the placebo group only losing 0.66 pounds. Along with its weight loss benefits, grapefruits are one of the most hydrating fruits on the planet, made up of 91% water, and providing the body with important electrolytes.
Tasty, easy to make, and HCG approved recipes for the foods above can be found in the links below:
- Apple Pie Smoothie with Apple Butter
- Buffalo Chicken Wraps
- Grapefruit Popsicles
- Crispy Fried Chicken
- Grapefruit Vinaigrette
- Gluten-Free Grissini Bread Sticks
- Toasted Garlic Asparagus
More HCG approved recipes can also be found here!
Simeons notes in his protocol that “there is no objection to breaking up the two meals.” For example, there is the option to have a breadstick and an apple for breakfast or before bed, as long as it is removed from the regular meals and no more than four items are eaten during one meal. When first following the HCG diet and planning out meals, Dr. Simeons suggests keeping a diet log, in order to properly measure caloric intake and food consumption. Relying on memory can be difficult, and preparation will always serve to keep dieters organized and on-track with their diet needs. Overall, sticking to a plan is the most important aspect of the HCG diet and following the careful way in which the foods, process and treatment was designed.