By Chef K.T. Murphy
The Pritikin Diet was developed by Nathan Pritikin in the 1970’s. It is the direct opposite style of eating (very low fat) as seen in the Ketogenic diet (low carb). It was after Pritikin, an engineer, suffered a heart attack when he was only in his 40’s.
He studied a variety of cultures from all over the world and reviewed their eating lifestyles and patterns. It was from this information that he developed a book, which included diet advice, and exercise.
The Pritikin Diet revolves around low fat, low protein, high fiber foods.
Research, according to WebMD, has shown that this style of diet can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also reduces weight around the mid-section, which fights the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. It was created as a heart disease diet, and while initially it wasn’t advocated by medical professionals, it has gained in popularity as research has shown its effectiveness in reducing cholesterol levels.
Some of the principles that are included in the Pritikin diet are found in the current dietary guidelines, which include a high fiber intake.
• The diet includes 5 servings of legumes, grains, or starches every day; they should be wholegrain, and starchy vegetables count.
• Additionally, you should have 5 servings of vegetables every day, as well as 4 pieces of fruit.
• You can enjoy 2 servings of low-fat dairy products every day, but you should only have 1 serving of an animal-based protein every day, that serving should be no larger than the size of your palm.
• You should enjoy 2 servings of omega 3-fatty acid fish every week. The Mayo Clinic points out just how beneficial omega 3 fatty acids are.
• The diet avoids the majority of fats, as they are limited to just 1 teaspoon a day, which includes butter and oil.
• On the Pritikin diet, nuts should be limited to 30 grams a day, which is perfect for reducing cholesterol levels.
Proteins are graded on 3 different levels, poor, satisfactory, and best.
• Poor would be red meats, particularly game.
• Satisfactory is prawns, and poultry, like turkey and chicken.
• Best is considered to be fish.
The diet recommends limiting the poor protein choice to just once a month.
Because you’re reducing your intake of bad proteins, you are including more plant-based proteins, which are beneficial to your health, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Perhaps the biggest difficulty with the Pritikin diet is avoiding healthy fats, and if you have an insulin resistance, it will be way too high in starch for you.
You can take different aspects of the styles of the diet that will work for you and modify them for your needs if there are aspects that don’t fit into every aspect of your health needs. Perhaps the best way to tailor it to suit you would be by visiting a dietitian.
For instance, you can take the recommendation to eat a lot of vegetables, and use that to reduce your cholesterol and improve your heart health.
Fiber intake should be around 20 to 30 grams every day, and every piece of fruit is around 4 grams. Therefore, if you don’t eat enough vegetables, you will never achieve the correct fiber intake, which is why many people deal with constipation.
The best way to ensure you stick to your diet is by keeping unhealthy snack food out of your home! You can’t slip into bad habits, if those vices aren’t within your reach.
What you can eat:
• Fresh fruits, not jams, juices, or jellies.
• Vegetables (but no olives or avocados, sorry)
• Vegetable juice
• Whole grains
What you have to restrict:
• Egg whites
• Dry white wine in your cooking
• Lean meats (not red)
• Skim-milk products
• Refined grains
What should be eliminated:
• Egg yolks
• Artificial sweetener
• Oils, butters, and margarine
• Caffeinated drinks
• Nuts (except chestnuts)
• Extracted sugars, this includes honey, fructose, syrups, and sucrose.
Always work with your doctor and build a team for your health.
All the best