The Pritikin Principle: What it is and how it works

The Pritikin Principle was a diet first developed by Nathan Pritikin in 1976. The main goals of his diet plan was not to lose weight but to help diabetics to level off their blood sugar so that they wouldn't have to take insulin to control their diabetes. The second goal of his plan was to lower people's cholesterol to ensure a healthy heart and repair the damage caused to the veins. The weight loss aspect of the diet was at first seen as just a by product. The original plan focused on eating a diet heavy in plant based foods and steering away from most forms of processed food.

Robert Pritikin has revamped his father's original diet plan to focus more on the benefits of the weight loss from following the Pritikin Principle. Robert has introduced a more calorie conscious aspect to the plan called The Calorie Density Solution. Eating calorie dense foods allows someone to fill up without limiting their portions and without gaining weight.

So what are calorie dense foods and how can they help you lose weight? Well, calorie dense foods hold fewer calories per pound than do foods that are not calorie dense. For example processed foods have more calories per pound than do unprocessed foods meaning that if you eat something like corn in its natural state the calorie density per pound only amounts to 490 calories. Take that same corn and process it into another type of food like corn chips and you raise the caloric intake per pound by 2,450 calories.

The program advocates eating three meals a day as well as having in between snacks that are low in calories. To keep to the plan of calorie dense foods the diet sticks to eating food that is mostly made up of fiber and water. The premise is that the more food you eat with a high concentration of fiber and water the fuller you will feel with a smaller amount of food.

In order to follow the Pritikin Principle one does not have to constantly count calories but you will have to be able to calculate the caloric density of the meals that you eat. The newest book of The Pritikin Principle does list guidelines of caloric dense foods and has tables for you to learn how to figure out the density per pound of the food you eat.

The exercise most advocated by the Pritikin principle is walking and it is encourage throughout the plan. For people who are considered obese the exercise goal is to work up to walking 50 kilometers in a week but for those who are only looking to lose a few kilos the exercise goal is to take a 30 minute walk every day.

Now, the next question would be how well does the Pritikin Principle work for weight loss? In using the basics of not taking in more calories a day than your body burns off this plan does work. However when following the calculations of figuring out how calorie dense the food that you're eating is gives the plan a more class room type structure. If you already enjoy eating plant based unprocessed food then this plan could work for you but if the routine of keeping up with caloric density per pound of the food you eat seems a bit daunting then you might reap a better result by following another diet plan.

author: Laura Jean Karr

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