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What is the Pritikin Principle?


Anybody who has been studying diets and been reading just about anything on them should not ask what is the Pritikin Principle anymore. This diet program has stood the test of time, since 1976 when it was first made known. Thus, anyone who has thought of dieting has heard of this low-fat, largely vegetable-based diet which also includes fruits and grains. The Pritikin Principle only allows for 10 percent of a diet to be made up of fat. More than 70,000 people have subjected themselves to the care given by Pritikin Longevity Centers, where they learn how to be healthy in their diet, how to prepare meals and snacks that are low on fats and how to seamlessly incorporate the concepts of stress reduction and exercise into their everyday lives.

The Pritikin Principle has been further popularized by a number f books authored by the program's main champion, Nathan Pritikin. The principle started off with the goal of lowering cholesterol and making blood sugar levels manageable for diabetic without having to take insulin. The weight loss that some people experience by following the program was not really a goal, but more of a by-product.

The Pritikin Principle was further popularized by Robert, Nathan Pritikin's son. However the second generation Pritikin added his own concepts. While he still championed the plant-based and low-fat diets his father made popular, he also included a new idea which he entitled The calorie Density Solution.

Robert Pritikin claims that it is not actually the number of calories people dieting should be concerned about, but rather how dense these calories are in the foods that they consume. According to him, losing extra body fat that 'threatens your health and longevity' would depend on choosing to consume foods that contain fewer calories for every pound. Examples of food that have fewer calories per pound, and thus are foods with less dense calorie content are oatmeal and apples. Pritikin claims that eating them gives the dieter the freedom to consume as much as he or she can until he or she is full, but without having to gain weight. In his principle, foods that cause weight gain are those that have a high caloric density, and therefore should be avoided as much as possible. For example, a pound of chocolate chip cookies contain 2,140 calories while a pound of broccoli only has 130 calories. They both weigh the same, but one has more calories, so eating a pound of broccoli will fill you up as much as pound of chocolate chip cookies, but does not contain as much calories.

In the Pritikin Principle, more than 20 pages are dedicated to charts containing the caloric density of any food one can imagine, from breakfast staples to snacks, and they are arranged according to calories per pound. This graphically demonstrates the huge difference between foods that are low-density and those that are high-density.

People who are in the initial stages of this program experience constant hunger pangs because there is practically no fat present in this diet. It takes some getting used to for people who love eating. Moreover, there are people who will be adversely affected by this diet, as an extremely low fat diet can cause harm by inhibiting normal functions of cells.

Those who need a lot of calories to function properly like athletes and bodybuilders and those who engage in manual, physical labor will certainly not benefit from this diet, as it does not provide enough healthy fats and proteins. However, normal people who want to lose some pounds and are not really engaged in a lot of exercise will find themselves benefitting from this program.

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