The Pritikin Diet

In the 1970’s, Dr. Nathan Pritikin developed a new eating plan that is high in fiber and low in cholesterol, thus lowering one’s weight. According to his son Robert, who updated the diet plan, we are driven by our "fat instinct" to eat foods that would satisfy our hunger for fat and calorie-rich foods. 

This instinct was beneficial during the pre-agricultural civilization because opportunities to eat were far rarer. Since fat is more nutrient-dense than other sources of food, its presence in the diet aided survival in periods of food scarcity. 

However, now that the modern era has readily-available and abundant food, this preferential instinct for fat predisposes man to overconsumption, thus become overweight and unhealthy.

In principle, the Pritikin Eating Plan not only promotes alternative food choices that would improve your health, weight, and vitality, it also provides you with self-empowerment. This plan also promises to strengthen your immune system.

The Pritikin Diet is almost completely vegetarian, encouraging the consumption of large amounts of whole grains and vegetables. 

The practice holds that in order to feel satisfied and stop eating, one should need to consume enough food-of any sort-until he has ingested a certain amount of bulk. The catch now is to be able to consume foods that are filling, nutritious, and yet less caloric. 

Here are five fundamental behaviors in the Pritikin Eating Plan:

Exercise. It increases your craving for high-carbohydrate foods, improves your health, and helps to lower your weight. Aside from regular exercise, program participants are required to walk for at least 45 minutes a day.

Choose the right carbohydrate-rich foods. White Pasta and white bread are eliminated from the diet in favor of whole pasta, whole bread, and whole grains. These types of carbs enables you to lose weight without the hunger.

Limit your fat intake. Doing so would keep your fat instinct dormant and your calorie intake low. Decreasing your craving for fat also promotes health and weight loss. However, the updated version of the plan encourages dieters to take regular doses of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids supplements.

Eat frequently. It keeps you from being hungry, prevents the triggering of your fat instinct, and keeps your body burning fat. Individuals following the diet are encouraged to eat six to seven meals a day, and are not required to restrict portion sizes.

Maintain consistency over time. Keeping your diet in check changes your palate and turns the program into a way of life.

To start with your Pritikin Eating Plan, here are some meal plans arranged from "Better" to "Best":

The "Better" Plan


2 pancakes cooked in reduced fat butter spray

2 to 3 tablespoons syrup

8 ounces 1% milk

6 ounces fruit juice

or 1 cup decaffeinated coffee


Roast beef on French roll

1 cup salad with reduced fat dressing

Iced tea or diet soda


1 ½ cups chili con carne

6 reduced fat crackers

1 cup salad with reduced fat dressing

12 ounce light beer

The "Better Still" Plan


English muffin with 2 tablespoons nonfat cream cheese or jam


6 ounces fruit juice

1 cup decaffeinated coffee


Grilled chicken sandwich (on whole bread, no mayonnaise)

2 cups salad with reduced fat or fat-free dressing

Diet soda


1 ½ cups turkey chili

Whole wheat roll

1 cup lettuce and tomato salad with reduced fat dressing

Cold tea or diet soda

The "Best" Plan


1 1/3 cups hot oatmeal with cinnamon

1 cup blueberries

8 ounces nonfat milk

Herbal tea


Grilled chicken breast

Baked potato or corn on the cob

2 cups salad with fat-free dressing

1 cup steamed vegetables

Mineral water or herbal tea


1 ½ cups vegetarian chili (using soy crumbs along with other veggies instead of ground beef)

1 baked potato

1 cup tomato and cucumber salad with balsamic vinegar

½ cup Pritikin Ice Cream

Mineral water

You may start with the "Better" plan, working your way into the "Best" plan once your body is used to the program.

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