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Pritikin Principle Diet Review

by George Pierce
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The Pritikin Principle Diet, also called The Pritikin Edge, written and developed by Nathan Pritikin, has been around since the 1970s..   Any time that a diet can stand the test of time is a good sign.  When this diet was first published, its ideas about nutrition, low fat, high fiber, and exercise were new.  Its claim that healthy eating and exercise could lower, reverse, or prevent heart disease was eye opening.  In spite of its new ideas or because of those ideas, the diet hit the best seller list in 1979.  

How Does It Work?

The diet is based on ten principles or steps.  
These steps help you to attain the Pritikin Edge.
  1. Avoid foods that are high in calories.
  2. Stop drinking high calorie drinks such as sodas and most alcohol drinks.
  3. Begin each meal with a salad, soup, whole grains, or fruit.  These foods will help you to feel full.
  4. Opt for whole healthy foods.  Avoid processed foods and fast foods.
  5. Use salt sparingly.
  6. Exercise on a regular basis.
  7. Reduce your intake of red meat, opt for fatty fish.
  8. Snack on healthy foods and at specific times.
  9. Reduce your stress.
  10. Stop smoking.
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What You Can Eat:

This diet is a low fat, reduced calorie, low protein, high carb, high fiber diet.  The foods that you will focus on are fruits, vegetables,, legumes, non-fat dairy, fish, and lean protein.

Foods You Need to Minimize or Avoid:

Foods that you should minimize consumption of will include refined sugars, salt, oils, and refined grains.  

Foods to avoid are foods that are high in saturated fats, processed meats, organ meats, and foods that are high in cholesterol.

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Sample Menu Plan:

Breakfast:

1/2 cup of oatmeal with  jam, 1 cup of nonfat yogurt,1cup of nonfat milk, and a cup of caffeine-free chicory coffee

Morning snack:

1/2 whole-wheat bagel and 1/2 of a cantaloupe

Lunch:

1baked potato with 1/2 cup of marinara sauce,
mixed greens salad, fresh fruit, and a whole-wheat roll

Afternoon snack:

1/2 cup of raw broccoli, 1/2 cup of cauliflower, and 2  tablespoons of ranch dressing

Dinner:

chicken curry, 1 cup of asparagus,  mixed salad greens,1/2 cup of wild rice, 1/2 cup of skim milk, and 1 tablespoon of chutney

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The 3 Week Diet

Exercise:  

Walking is recommended daily and adding more cardio vascular exercise, stretching., and strength training.

Level Of Difficulty:

This diet has medium to high difficulty.  If you are an indulgent eater, this diet may prove difficult. No fast food or soda and limited amounts of processed foods, red meat and alcohol are factors to be considered.

Meetings:

No in person meetings are available.   Online help is available.  Click here to see our list of 22 online forums and communities.

Cost:  

If you follow the diet book, your food cost should not change, you can also sign up for a free Pritikin Newsletter which offers online support..  

If you use the Pritikin food delivery plan, your 'starter kit' include a one year online Pritikin Membership, the book which is the Pritikin Edge, one week of the Pritikin Frozen Food Plan, and a 30 minute dietitian consultation.  The cost of the starter kit is $459.95, at the time of this posting, the starter kit had a special price of $349.95.  The following weeks frozen meal plans cost $247.50 per week.

Pritikin Dieters are strongly encouraged to spend time at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Florida.  Single rates range from from about $1940 for a 3 day weekend to $6110 for a week   Pritikin says "A Stay at Pritikin Will Change Your Life!"

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Food planning, food shopping, food preparation.
 
Since the diet is based on fresh foods,  planning, shopping, and preparation is necessary (unless you opt for the frozen meal plan), but easier than some diets.

Does it work?

Yes, you should lose weight, about 1 to 2 pounds per week.  The Washington University School of Medicine conducted a study that found that the Pritikin Diet lowers numerable risk factors for heart disease, which includes weight loss and blood pressure.

Vegan or vegetarian?

Making this diet vegetarian is relatively easy.   Making it vegan is doable as well.

Gluten free?

Many of the diet carbs are gluten free already, just keep an eye on the labels.

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Positives:

Lose weight
Healthy eating
Junk foods are forbidden
Heart healthy diet.
Lower Blood Pressure.

Negatives:

No sugar
No white flour
No processed foods
No sugar, salt, and fat may be too bland for some people
No fast food
Low fat diest may lead to your not getting enough fatty acids
Most experts feel that 20% or more of your diet should be made up of fat, Pritikin is around 10%.
“But in the long run, extreme low-fat diets create many problems, not the least of which is the fact that most people can't stay on them. Those with enough willpower to stick with them are highly likely to develop health problems including low energy, inability to concentrate, depression, immune system breakdown, and even weight gain,"  according to Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, a board-certified clinical nutritionist
The diet may be lacking in vitamins D, E, and B12.
The diet may lower your good cholesterol.
Hard to stay on.


BBC Documentary - Fat v Carbs with Jamie Owen

Conclusion:

The Pritikin Diet is one of the front runners of many of our modern diets.  In the low carb vs. low fat debate, presently, more experts seem to favor low carb and it is also hard to rule out low calorie diets as long as they are not too low.  

Most diets have flaws, but eliminating certain foods, being too restrictive, and hard to maintain are some of the reasons why I give the Pritikin Edge a thumbs down and do not recommend that you add it to your list of weight loss options.

Thank you for reading, my friends.  I wish you success on your weight loss journey.

Kind regards,
George Pierce
Win At Losing Weight founder

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Low Fat vs. Low Carb Studies


Source: 23 studies on Low Fat and Low Carb Diets at HealthLine website.

If you visit the HealthLine website, you will find 23 studies comparing low fat and low carb. Your first impression might be like mine, low carb beats low fat.  

I agree that studies seem to indicate that the low carb diets beat the low fat diets.  In fact, in all but one of the 21 studies out of the 23 that reported weight loss, low carb outperformed low fat regarding weight loss.

My point, however, is to find the 'right fit'!  The diet that fits YOU best is the one that you should put at the top of your list.  

Losing weight long term is making changes in your lifestyle and the 'right fit' allows you to make those changes more easily and those changes are more likely to be permanent.  

Think of finding the right diet as being comparable to shopping for sensible shoes. The right fit is what is important.  

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