Comprehensive Overview of the Pritikin Diet

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The Pritikin Diet is a high-fiber, low-fat diet designed to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health. In the Pritikin Diet, almost 70-80% of calories come from carbohydrates, 10-15% from fat, and 10-15% from protein.

The Pritikin Diet includes very small amounts of animal products and primarily consists of plant-based foods(1). This diet recommends daily aerobic exercise, strength training three times a week, and regular stretching to improve your health.

How to follow the Pritikin Diet?

The goal of the Pritikin Diet is not weight loss or body shaping. This diet is based on the fundamental principles of nutrition to improve overall health. Therefore, if you intend to lose weight, it’s better to consider other diets. Eating a variety of whole plant-based foods and exercising can help prevent disease and promote human health.


Permitted Foods on the Pritikin Diet

They are include various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes(2). As you can see, like most plant-based diets, the variety of foods in this diet is very limited. Animal sources have a small share in this diet. Supporters of this diet believe that plant-based foods are healthier than animal-based foods.

For example, antioxidants help our cells suffer less damage and almost help prevent any chronic disease. On average, plant-based foods have 64 times more antioxidants than animal-based foods. Fiber is another important nutrient that is only found in plants by definition.

Fiber helps protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and several chronic diseases. Supporters of this diet say that many people are concerned about getting enough protein, but in reality, they should be concerned about getting enough fiber.


Foods that should be limited in the Pritikin diet

As said, this diet does not have a high variety of food. In the food plan of this diet, there are food groups that you don’t need to completely stop eating. But you are allowed to eat a limited amount. Consumption of lean meat, fish, various oils, processed seeds, and lean dairy products are limited in this diet.


Foods that are prohibited on the Pritikin diet

The Pritikin diet program prohibits eating many foods. Cream, cheese, butter and other dairy products, liver, liver, white liver and such meats, processed meats such as hamburgers, egg yolks and palm oils are prohibited in this diet. As a result, it can be said that you do not have much choice to cook food in this diet.


Pritikin Exercise and Diet Program

Undoubtedly, exercise is beneficial for our bodies for various medical reasons such as burning calories, weight loss, and protection against heart diseases. However, regular exercise also helps our emotional well-being, prevents depression and anxiety, reduces stress, and provides a better sense of well-being.

This exercise program has three main sections:

  1. improving the condition of the cardiovascular system;
  2. strength training;
  3. flexibility (stretching) exercises.

This exercise program includes all of these elements and each component is designed in a simple, practical, and easy-to-do manner so that you can easily perform it at home. Additionally, this exercise program is suitable for both novice and professional individuals.


Benefits of the Pritikin diet

1-Emphasis on whole plant foods

Many studies have confirmed the positive effects of lifestyle and plant nutrition on arterial diseases. Perhaps the most striking example of these studies was conducted by Dr. Caldwell Selstein of the Cleveland Clinic in 2014.

In this research, 198 patients with advanced cardiovascular disease volunteered to follow a completely plant-based diet. Of 177 patients who followed a plant-based diet for more than three years, 99.4% had heart disease prevented or delayed.

On the other hand, among the twenty-one patients who did not follow the diet, thirteen of them had a major cardiovascular disease such as heart attack or stroke. This important study shows that a plant-based diet can reverse heart disease.


2-Reducing the risk of cancer

In 2006, four researchers tested the ability of the Pritikin diet to fight breast cancer cells. The subjects of this experiment were divided into two groups: an experimental group that followed the Pritikin diet plan and a control group that followed the standard American diet.

After twelve days, blood samples were taken from each group and poured into Petri dishes containing breast cancer cells. After twelve days of plant-based diet, the blood of the experimental group destroyed cancer cells at a rate of 20-30% faster than that of the control group.


3-Avoiding unhealthy foods

Pritikin diet emphasizes on consuming whole foods instead of processed foods. Processed foods such as chips and cookies are high in sugar, sodium, saturated fat, and unhealthy oils.

On the other hand, whole foods like fruits and vegetables contain much more antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Unhealthy foods are known as unhealthy fuel in the human body.

When we eat a lot of them, we get sick over time. Instead we should focus on filling our diets with healthier foods like fruits and vegetables. However, we cannot ignore the dietary restrictions of the Pritikin diet.


disadvantages of the Pritikin diet

1-Consuming foods with high cholesterol

Nathan Pritikin initially designed the Pritikin diet with the aim of reducing his blood cholesterol level. Increased cholesterol intake is associated with increased blood cholesterol levels.

In other words, when we eat foods containing cholesterol, more cholesterol tends to circulate in our bloodstream. Because only animal foods contain cholesterol, the Pritikin diet allows very small servings of animal protein. Pritikin, for example, only allows 85 grams of chicken or fish per week in his diet.

Additionally, animal foods are typically more calorically dense than plant foods. As a result, eating too many animal foods can lead to weight gain. Conversely, there are few cases of people getting fat from eating too many fruits and vegetables because they are relatively low in calories.

However, high consumption of fruit also causes fatty liver. This diet believes that even small amounts of animal products can still increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, nutritionists recommend that all ingredients and food groups should be included in the diet plan, and eliminating a food group will harm the body.


2-Difficult access to the diet

despite having instructions related to diet and exercise on the website of this diet, to follow up and solve problems during the diet, you should visit the Pritikin diet center or a nutritionist.

Considering that most people do not have the time, money and ability to attend the center; This makes the app largely inaccessible.


3-Low flexibility

Pritikin diet includes a large list of foods to avoid, many of which are normally eaten on a daily basis. For this reason, it is difficult to follow the Pritikin diet plan for a long time. It also ignores other aspects of eating, such as tradition, culture, celebration, and the enjoyment of flavors.

If you intend to lose weight, it is better to choose a diet that takes into account your taste in food choices. Positive lifestyle changes are successful when a person is motivated to enjoy new behaviors and believes that they can maintain them in the long term.

Due to the large number of dietary restrictions combined with the long-term commitment to exercise, not everyone may be motivated or persistent enough on the Pritikin diet.

Remember that the Pritikin diet is not intended for weight loss and is intended to improve health. With all this, if you intend to follow the Pritikin diet, it is better to consult a nutritionist before taking any action.


sample menu for the Pritikin Diet


Oatmeal with cinnamon and sliced banana

Nonfat milk or soy milk

Decaffeinated coffee or tea


Fresh berries


Grilled chicken breast

Baked sweet potato

Steamed vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots)

Side salad with nonfat dressing


Baby carrots and hummus


Grilled fish (such as salmon or cod)

Brown rice

Grilled or steamed vegetables (such as zucchini, bell peppers, or onions)

Side salad with nonfat dressing


Nonfat Greek yogurt with sliced almonds and berries.




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