Nathan Pritikin introduced the world to his now famous Pritikin Principle diet in 1976. Since then, thousands of dieters have found success and healing by following the guidelines Pritikin outlined in his many books. His son Robert has recently began tweaking the diet and bringing it into the now. The Pritikin Principle Diet is based on a principle that choosing the right foods to eat while dieting gives you the freedom to eat as much as you want- until you get full. The Pritikin diet comes with many restrictions, although calorie and fat counting are not one of them.
When using the Pritikin Principle to diet, one should stick to a low fat diet (calories garnered from your fat consumption should be no more than 10% of the total calories eaten n a single day) mostly comprised of whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Meat is not forbidden in the diet, but it is limited since it generally contains fat. The most basic tenet of the Pritikin Principle is to eat foods that are no calorie dense but that do offer satisfaction. They encourage you to eat your fill of low calorie foods in high volume to fill you up. An example would be eating 1 pound of raw asparagus versus 1 pound of peanut butter. The asparagus will have very few calories (a few hundred) whereas the peanut butter will have a few thousand.
The Pritikin diet preaches a pretty sensible diet. Because they encourage you to avoid sugars and processed foods, weight loss is generally fast and many health conditions associated with obesity, like diabetes and high blood pressure, either are cured or become asymptomatic. Many clinical nutritionists are concerned at the low fat aspect of the diet. Since fat gives us satisfaction, many nutritionists are concerned that no matter how many bunches of asparagus one eats in a day, they’ll still feel unsatisfied and hungry and want to cheat. Additionally, the low fat portion of the diet could impact a dieter’s ability to absorb fat soluble vitamins and can negatively impact organ function- since organs need healthy fats to work.
Dieters, however, have been in love with this diet since 1976. Because the diet does not exclude carbohydrates or restrict them at all, many starchy vegetables that are off limits on other diets can be a staple on the Pritikin diet. Potatoes (sweet, red, russet and the like), corn, rice and whole grain pasta are all perfectly acceptable diet staples. Sugar is not allowed, so no simple sugars or processed foods can be eaten. Dieters do have one major complaint while adjusting to the diet. Because of the focus on whole grains and fiber rich fruits and vegetables, many dieters experience gas and bloating on the diet.
The Pritikin Principle is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle change. Once you’ve lost the weight you set out to lose, you are still recommended to follow the tenets of the diet for life. It is important to discuss the plan with your doctor or nutritionist before starting this or any diet. Proper nutrition is challenging to maintain- even when basing your diet on plants and whole grains. You’ll need to understand the various vitamins and nutrients you need and what foods you can find these ever important nutrients in to fully ensure that you introduce enough variety to your diet. Dieters who follow the Pritikin Principle diet and eat only potatoes, apples, and wheat bread are going to miss out on some very important nutrients and proteins, and may end up becoming ill.