The HCG diet allows a specific list of protein choices, and these proteins are carefully selected to be healthy and low in fat so that they don't interact with HCG, just like the fruits and vegetables. They are also great protein choices to incorporate in your everyday diet after the HCG diet is over. The HCG diet requires any protein used on the diet to have all visible fat removed, which isn't a bad idea to consider even if you're not dieting. A decent range of protein choices are allowed on the diet, particularly for red meat and seafood, and the portions and calories are carefully controlled when on the HCG diet to ensure that they don't exceed 500 kcal per day.
Below are some of the health benefits of each type of protein.
Chicken Breast - this is one of the best sources of protein that can stabilize your blood sugar for several hours while on the HCG diet, and it is also low in calories per ounce compared to other types of meat; an important consideration when you have a maximum of 500 calories per day. Chicken breast is rich in particular minerals such as selenium as well as copper, phosphorus, zinc and iron. It is naturally lower in sodium than other proteins and can fit into many different HCG diet recipes quite easily. Chicken is also rich in various B vitamins including B6, B3, B12 and others which are important for metabolism, blood cell maintenance, and a lot more.
White Fish - the health benefits of fish in general are widely known, and in particular white fish has some unique advantages. It is lower in fat than other types of fish, which is one of the primary reasons why it is allowed on the HCG diet. Like chicken, it offers the benefit of larger portions with lower caloric intake levels. Adding white fish to your diet is never a bad idea because you will be consuming a regular source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to be beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Studies have also shown that regular consumption of white fish can normalize blood pressure levels, lower cholesterol levels and reduce weight.
Crab - like chicken and white fish, crab is low in calories per ounce and it is another great source of omega 3 fatty acids. Crab happens to be low in saturated fat. However, crab meat is high in sodium and has high cholesterol levels, although the link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease is controversial. Those who have high blood pressure can turn to other sources of protein that are lower in sodium, otherwise crab can be a great choice for the HCG diet for some meals.
Lobster - lobster provides several B vitamins and is another great source of lean protein when prepared without large amounts of butter. Lobster also happens to be rich in vitamin E, which is one of the most important antioxidants and vital for vitamin C and A absorption. Lobster has significant quantities of important minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, zinc and magnesium, however like crab it is high in sodium. Phosphorus is important for metabolism and important for kidney function and can reduce arthritis pain, and it is one of the more abundant minerals found in lobster.
Red Meat - although most people don't think of red meat is being healthy and it has been blamed for a wide range of different illnesses, there are several good reasons to consume a small amount of red meat in your diet regularly. It is rich in B vitamins which is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system and nearly every other system. It is also rich in iron and can be very beneficial for people with iron deficiencies. Red meat has a metabolite called hydroxycholecalciferol which is a metabolite of vitamin D that is absorbed quickly by the body, and red meat can help increase overall vitamin D levels. Several types of red meat are allowed on the HCG diet including a variety of different steaks, and very lean ground beef.
Preparing protein on the HCG diet
With the health benefits that each type of protein offers they are all great choices for HCG dieters, but as previously mentioned some dieters may have to take special considerations into account for meats that are higher in sodium if they have high blood pressure. The protein used for the HCG diet must be weighed raw, and it is critical to cook each type of protein without the use of cooking oils.
An easy way to cook many of the proteins is by using marinades made from lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and spices. You will find that having a grill will be very beneficial (but not necessary) for cooking protein on the HCG diet, as the grill won't require the use of cooking oil.
Shrimp and fish can be baked in the oven and the HCG diet allows for the use of lemon juice which is very versatile in seafood cooking as well as several herbs. If you enjoy white fish at all you should be sure to include it in your HCG diet, as it is the healthiest protein option due to the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.
Chicken breasts can be marinated and cooked on a stove or grill, or even boiled and chopped up for salads, and they are one of the more versatile protein items that you can use on the diet. It can also be easily baked or made with a small electric kitchen grill.
With several protein choices available on the HCG diet you have a wide range of different recipes to try, and each protein option has proven health benefits. Always try to purchase organic protein as it will be free of antibiotics and hormones. For fish you should generally try to purchase wild caught fish, as farm raised fish has shown to have high levels of organic pollutants, antibiotics and pesticides compared to wild caught fish. Also be sure to check the mercury levels for any fish that you consume.
Our HCG diet comes with a detailed recipe book with several great recipes for cooking the protein choices allowed on the diet. Get more information on how to get started with the HCG diet.