Pritikin Eating Plan

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Making optimal food choices is an integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

An optimal diet emphasizes foods naturally high in unrefined carbohydrates and fiber and naturally low in fat, salt and cholesterol. This is why the Pritikin® Eating Plan emphasizes whole grains, beans, peas, starchy vegetables, vegetables and fruits along with modest amounts of nonfat dairy products and fish.

Such a diet, combined with regular exercise and avoidance of excessive stress, should help you live a healthier and longer life.

The typical Western diet is high in cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, and sodium and low in fiber and many important nutrients. The typical Western diet also includes an excess of "empty" calories in the form of sugar and other refined sweeteners, refined fats and oils, and alcohol.

The Pritikin® Eating Plan, on the other hand, is low in total fat (especially hydrogenated and saturated fat) and sodium, and rich in natural unrefined carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, beneficial phytochemicals, antioxidants and dietary fiber with adequate amounts of protein and essential fatty acids.

GO - Recommended Foods

Choose at least five servings of unrefined complex carbohydrates: Five or more servings daily of whole grains (wheat, oats, rye, brown rice, barley, millet), starchy vegetables (like potatoes, yams and winter squashes), chestnuts, beans and peas. A serving is 80 calories or approximately 1/2 cup. Limit refined grains (such as white bread, white rice, white pasta) to no more than one or two servings per day, with none being optimal.

Choose at least four vegetables: Four or more servings of raw or cooked vegetables daily. A serving is about 25 calories or about 1 cup of raw or 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables. Include dark green, yellow, or orange vegetables daily. You may choose "no salt added" vegetable juice in place of one of your vegetable servings per day.

Choose at least three fruits: Three or more servings of whole fruit daily. For most fruits, a serving fits in your hand and is about 60 calories. Fruit juice (1/2 cup) may be used in place of one of your fruit servings per day.

Choose two calcium-rich foods: Two servings daily. Choose from: nonfat milk (1 cup), nonfat yogurt (3/4 cup), or nonfat ricotta (1/2 cup); or fortified, enriched nonfat or low-fat soy milk (1 cup).

Choose no more than one serving of animal protein per day: Fish or shellfish are preferable over lean poultry, and choose lean poultry over lean red meat. A serving is about 3-1/2 oz cooked or the size of the palm of your hand and the thickness of a deck of cards.

Optimally, limit poultry to no more than one serving per week and red meat to no more than one serving per month. If you prefer red meat weekly, substitute delicious free-range, grass-fed bison in place of poultry.

Vegetarian options: Instead of animal protein, choose from: beans, peas, or lentils (2/3 cup); or tofu and other soy products (4 to 6 oz).

GO - Miscellaneous

Beverages: Water (plain, bottled, low-sodium, mineral), hot grain beverages (coffee substitutes), low-sodium vegetable juices, and non-medicinal herbal teas (such as peppermint, rosehips or chamomile), and cocoa. Limit caffeinated beverages to one a day, making any additional choices decaffeinated, and choose tea (black or green) over coffee.

Alcoholic beverages: Use in moderation or not at all. For women, up to 4 drinks per week, with no more than 1/2 to 1 drink per day. For men, up to 7 drinks per week, with no more than 1 to 2 drinks per day. A drink is approximately 5 oz of wine, 12 oz of beer, or 1 to 1-1/2 oz of 80 proof liquor. Choose red wine over white wine, wine over beer and either over liquor.

Garnish/herbs: Culinary herbs are rich sources of many beneficial phytochemicals. Include at least 1 to 2 tsp. of dried herbs or 1 to 2 Tbsp. of fresh herbs each day.

Egg whites: Up to 7 per week.

Avocados, raw or dry roasted unsalted nuts and seeds: e.g. walnuts, flaxseeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, pistachios, sunflower seeds, filberts (hazelnuts), peanuts, cashews and macadamia nuts. Limit to 2 oz (1/4 cup) daily.

If you want to lose weight: Go wild on vegetables. Limit calorie dense foods such as breads, crackers, cold cereals, fruit juices, dried fruits and nuts and seeds. Avoid refined sweeteners.

If your weight is fine: Celebrate! Eat as many whole grains, vegetables and fruits as you want.

CAUTION - The Less, the Better

What if you feel stuck and need to adjust your choices? Enter category 2: Caution - The Less, the Better. While "Caution" foods are not recommended, this list provides direction when food choices are limited.

Oils high in monounsaturated fat: e.g. canola, olive, avocado and peanut.

Oils high in polyunsaturates: e.g. walnut, soybean, flaxseed. Limit the consumption of ALL oils to no more than 1 teaspoon per 1000 calories consumed as all refined oils have the highest calorie density and are nearly 100% fat, thwarting your efforts to lose weight.

Refined sweeteners: For healthy individuals who choose to use sweeteners, a suggested rule of thumb is a maximum of 2 Tbsp. of fruit juice concentrate or 1 Tbsp. of other refined sweeteners (such as barley malt, corn syrup, rice syrup) per 1000 calories consumed. None is optimal. Avoid fructose and high fructose corn syrup.

Artificial sweeteners: While artificial sweeteners have not been proven to aid weight loss, they may be of benefit to people with diabetes, elevated triglycerides, and those following the Pritikin Eating Plan who are trying to lose weight. Limit intake to 3-6 packets per day. Sucralose (Splenda) appears to be the safest choice.

Salt and high-sodium foods, condiments: Avoid added salt, and highly salted, pickled and smoked foods. Limit foods that have more than 1 mg of sodium per calorie so as not to exceed 1500 mg of sodium per day.

STOP - Stay Away

When faced with foods in the "Stop" category, search for "Go" and, if necessary, "Caution" foods. These "Stop" foods, due to their high content of saturated fat, hydrogenated fat, cholesterol and salt, will significantly compromise the goals of the Pritikin® Program.

Animal fats, tropical oils and processed refined oils: e.g. butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, lard, chicken fat, palm oil, cocoa butter, chocolate, margarine, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and shortenings.

Meats: e.g. fatty meats, organ meats and processed meats (hot dogs, bacon and bologna).

Whole and lowfat dairy: (1% fat by weight or greater) e.g. cheese, cream, cream cheese, half-and-half, ice cream, milk, sour cream and yogurt.

Nuts: Coconuts.

Salt substitutes: Potassium chloride.

Miscellaneous: Egg yolks, deep fried foods, non-dairy whipped toppings, rich desserts and pastries, and salty snack foods.

Got Fruit? It Does a Waistline Good

If you want to lose weight, eat fruit. If you want to maintain a healthy weight throughout life, eat fruit.

Numerous studies have found just the opposite. If you want to lose weight, eat fruit. If you want to maintain a healthy weight throughout life, eat fruit. Repeatedly, higher fruit consumption is linked with lower weight.

Here are three recently published studies showing that to get thin and stay thin, EAT FRUIT.

  • In an exhaustive review of food intake surveys completed by more than 12,000 Americans, scientists at the Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, found that normal weight individuals ? men, women, and consumed significantly more fruit than their overweight and obese counterparts.

  • In their article, entitled “Higher Fruit Consumption Linked With Lower Body Mass Index,” agricultural economists Rosanna Mentzer Morrison and Biing-Hwan Lin stated that higher fruit consumption was linked with lower BMI (body mass index) in part because people ate whole fruit as a snack or dessert rather than higher calorie foods like potato chips, nuts, trail mix, and candy bars.

  • In a meta-analysis of 22 studies on the effects of high-fiber versus low-fiber diet interventions, scientists found that the participants on the higher-fiber diets, which included multiple servings of fruit daily, lost significantly more weight than those on the lower-fiber diets.

  • Fruit has consistently “been linked to weight regulation,” summed up scientists from the National Center for Chronic Disease and Health Promotion, commenting on this meta-anaylsis and similar investigations.  That’s because fruit, full of water and fiber, is high in stomach-filling volume yet low in calories, explained the authors. “Fruit will help people feel full and yet consume fewer calories.”

  • Researchers from Louisiana State University and Laval University in Quebec tracked 248 men and women who kept a three-day record of their food intake at the beginning of the study and at the study’s end, six years later, and found that two factors helped keep weight in check: cutting back on fats and boosting whole fruit intake.

“These results support the evidence suggesting that consuming a healthy diet (ie, low in fat and sugar, high in fruit and vegetables) can decrease body weight or prevent body-weight gain over time,” stated lead author Dr. Vicky Drapeau, researcher at the Division of Kinesiology, Laval University.

Dr. Drapeau and colleagues also found that people who ate more fruit and less fat tended to have lower overall calorie intakes, lower intake of dietary cholesterol, and significantly higher intakes of dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C, and other nutrients.

The weight-control benefit of fruit was linked to whole fruits only ? not fruit juice. commented Dr. Drapeau, “since whole fruit contains dietary fiber that could have a satiety effect.” Put simply, whole fruit does a better job of filling you up (and on a lot fewer calories) than fruit juice.

Bottom Line:

Pay no heed to admonitions from diets like South Beach and Atkins to avoid fruit. Study after study has found that fruit can do wonders for your waistline.

Trim Your Belly Fat, Hip Fat & Butt Fat

Fitter body is moderate exercise and a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber-rich carbohydrates

An optimal path to a leaner, fitter body is moderate exercise and a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber-rich carbohydrates, new research reports.

And the men and women in the study, average age 66, overweight and sedentary at the start of the study, didn't even have to restrict their portion sizes. The researchers directed them to eat as much as they wanted.

In the 12-week investigation, scientists from the Nutrition, Metabolism, and Exercise Laboratory at the University of Arkansas randomly assigned 34 participants to three different groups:

  1. A diet that was high in fat (41% of calories) and fairly low in carbs (45% of calories);

  2. A diet that was low in fat (18% of calories) and high in carbs (65% of calories);

  3. The same low-fat, high-carb diet as the second group, plus exercise.

The low-carb dieters ate just 7 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed; the high-carb dieters consumed more than three times as much fiber (26 grams) for every 1,000 calories eaten.

The exercise in Group 3 consisted of 45 minutes of brisk aerobic activity on stationary cycles, four days a week.

At the end of 12 weeks, the low-fat, high-carb dieters lost more body weight and a higher percentage of body fat than the high-fat, low-carb dieters. What's more, thigh fat area decreased in the low-fat dieters compared to the high-fat eaters.

And, as many previous studies have shown, the winning combination was diet and exercise. On average, the low-fat, high-carb group lost 7 pounds. Adding exercise to the same high-carb diet increased weight loss to 11 pounds.

By contrast, the high-fat, lower-carb eaters did not lose any weight.

"These results are consistent with previous examinations of ad libitum [eat-till-you're-satisfied] high-carbohydrate diets and weight loss," concludes lead author Nicholas P. Hays, PhD, of the University of Arkansas. Several studies, most notably from Tufts University, have demonstrated that ad libitum high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets result in significant weight loss in both men and women.

Another important benefit of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, Dr. Hays and colleagues found, is its long-term appeal. "The participants never complained of feeling hungry, an important consideration in the formulation of dietary strategies to promote weight loss and long-term maintenance of a healthy body weight."

The participants also appreciated the variety of foods available to them on the low-fat, high-carbohydrate eating plans, something several acknowledged that they missed when following — and ultimately failing at — low-carb Atkins-style diets.

Agrees Pritikin Alumnus Michael Pouls of Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, who lost 78 pounds following the low-fat, high-carb Pritikin diet and exercise program, dropping from a size 44 to size 34 waist: "I can recall being on Atkins and craving fruit — I needed fruit, but you can't have any fruit on Atkins."

"With Pritikin, I can have just about everything I desire," says the 41-year-old entrepreneur. "The Pritikin Program satisfies all my food cravings — from omelettes to roasted vegetables to fruit, whole wheat bagels, salads, baked potatoes, grilled seafood, chicken, pastas, and on and on. All I have to do is stay away from the white starchy, sugary stuff, and that ís no problem. If I want ice cream, I can have fat-free frozen yogurt. If I want pudding, I can have Pritikin-style chocolate mousse. There are so many foods you can eat on Pritikin. I'm never bored or unsatisfied. It's a very doable, livable program."

How to Live to Be 100

Five longevity “hot spots” share many of the same basic lifestyle-related characteristics

Throughout the world, there are communities where an impressive percentage of its inhabitants live to a robust 100 years and beyond. Five longevity “hot spots” include:

  1. Okinawa, Japan. On this island south of Japan, people have the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world and the highest percentage of centenarians. Researchers describe elderly Okinawans as having young, clean arteries and low cholesterol. They have 80% fewer heart attacks and 80% less breast cancer and prostate cancer than Americans.

  2. Symi, Greek. This remote Greek island just off the coast of Turkey has more centenarians, proportionately, than anywhere else in Europe. If you’re only moderately lucky, you live to be 85 on Symi.

  3. Hunza, Pakistan. The Hunza valley in northeast Pakistan is reputed to be the inspiration of the original Shangri-La. Legend has it that Hunzakuts thought nothing of walking to the nearest town, 60 miles away. Due to the lack of any real record keeping, scientists are not sure of the precise ages of elderly people in Hunza, but they have documented that their rates of cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases are remarkably low.

  4. Bama, China. Bama, located in southwest China, is the home of many a sprightly centenarian. The county (pop. 238,000) has more than 74 centenarians and 237 residents who have reached their 90s. That's one of the highest per-capita concentrations of old-timers in the world, according to Dr. Chen Jinchao, a surgeon who for the past 10 years has run the Guangxi Bama Long Life Research Institute.

  5. Campodimele, Italy. A hilltop village south of Rome, Campodimele’s high number of ultra-centenarians has earned it the title in Europe of "Village of Longevity.” Rarely do the people of Campodimele die before 85.

Each of these five communities has its own distinct culture-based diet. The people of Okinawa, for example, enjoy foods like goya (a vegetable) and fresh caught fish, while the people of Hunza, Pakistan eat a lot of apricots, beans, and chapattis, made from ground whole-wheat flour.

All five longevity “hot spots,” however, share many of the same basic lifestyle-related characteristics:

  • A diet rich in whole, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.

  • Low to moderate servings of animal protein, usually seafood or lean meat.

  • Few sugar-rich foods or sugary drinks.

  • Plenty of exercise. Most Okinawans are fishermen or farmers, and they enjoy activities like dancing and gardening well into their 80s and 90s. The people of Hunza also farm. For fun, they play polo. In Bama, children and adults climb mountains to get to school and work. The villagers of Campodimele and Symi are also very active throughout their lives.

Of course, you need not travel to the ends of the earth to learn how to live like these healthy, vibrant centenarians if you follow the above basic eating plan.


The above opinionated views and information serves to educated and informed consumer .  The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. .It should not replaced professional advise and consultation.  A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions 

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