The Pritikin Eating Plan uses the latest scientific research to provide dietary guidelines that will help you avoid and often reverse diseases that can rob you of the good health you need to enjoy a good life.
Below is a quick summary of the Pritikin Diet. For all the details, scroll down to the section entitled Food Choices For a Lifetime Of Good Health.
The Pritikin Diet focuses on a wide variety of whole (unprocessed) or minimally processed foods. Click on the GO tab for these foods.
CAUTION and STOP foods on the Pritikin Diet are those that have been proven to increase the risk of obesity and/or multiple health concerns, including high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and some cancers.
Go FoodsCaution FoodsStop Foods
The Pritikin Diet focuses on a wide variety of whole (unprocessed) or minimally processed foods.
CAUTION foods on the Pritikin Diet are those that have been proven to increase the risk of obesity and/or multiple health concerns, including high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and some cancers.
STOP foods on the Pritikin Diet are those that have been proven to substantially increase the risk of obesity and/or multiple health concerns, including high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and some cancers.
5 or more servings daily of whole grains (such as whole wheat, oats, rye, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and millet); starchy vegetables (like potatoes, yams, and winter squashes); chestnuts; and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils). A serving is 1/2 cup cooked. For whole-grain bread products (like breads, bagels, and crackers), a serving is 1 ounce, which is generally half a common portion.
Limit refined grains (like white bread, white rice, and white pasta) as much as possible. But keep in mind that white does not necessarily mean unhealthy. There are many healthy foods that are white, such as cauliflower, white potatoes, jicama, and nonfat yogurt.
5 (preferably more) servings daily. A serving is 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked. Enjoy a variety of colors, like dark green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables. The more vegetables and other low-calorie-dense foods you eat, the less need there is for counting calories. Youll just naturally eat fewer calories, and shed excess weight.
4 or more servings of whole fruits daily. For most fruits, a serving fits in your hand. Examples include all fresh and raw fruits, and frozen and canned fruits without added sugar. Enjoy whole fruit, not fruit juices. And dont believe silly science that says fruit is fattening. To the contrary! People have shed 100 pounds and more with Pritikins fruit-rich diet.
2 servings daily of dairy foods and/or dairy substitutes.
For dairy foods, choose from nonfat milk (1 cup), nonfat yogurt (3/4 cup), and nonfat varieties of ricotta and cottage cheese (1/2 cup). Choose plain nonfat milk, not flavored varieties like chocolate. Nonfat Lactaid is also acceptable.
For dairy milk substitutes, choose those that closely match the nutritional richness of nonfat cows milk for calcium, vitamins D and B-12, and protein. Optimal choices tend to be fortified soymilks (original or unsweetened). Almond and rice milks usually score well for calcium, D, and B-12, but poorly for protein. So if you drink a cup of almond or rice milk, add to your daily diet a lean, protein-rich food like 1/2 cup cooked legumes (beans) or 2 egg whites. Steer clear of coconut milk because it contains saturated fat.
For all dairy milk substitutes, make sure they contain very little or no added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat.
Note: Many plant foods are rich sources of calcium, such as leafy greens like collard greens, turnip greens and kale, as well as tofu and tempeh.
Pritikin, one of the healthiest diets on earth, includes protein from both animal and plant sources.
No more than 1 serving per day. A serving is about 3 to 4 ounces cooked (the size of a deck of cards).
Below are fish/poultry/meat choices rated from Best to Poor:
For optimal heart-health results, limit Satisfactory choices to no more than 1 serving per week and Poor choices to no more than 1 serving per month.
Up to 2 daily. If you prefer egg whites instead of other land-based animal foods like white poultry and lean meat, you may eat more. About 7 egg whites is the protein equivalent of 1 serving of poultry or meat. Steer clear of egg yolks and their high dietary cholesterol.
For maximum cholesterol reduction and giving yourself the best chance at reversing atherosclerosis (heart disease), choose on most days protein-rich plant foods like beans instead of land-based animal foods like poultry and meat. And yes, you can get plenty of protein with a plant-based diet.
Have the Pritikin Meal Plan delivered to your home or office. Choose from a variety of meal packages, spices, sauces, books, gifts and more. Pritikin Online Market
GO | Miscellaneous FoodsPlus Weight-Loss Tips
The healthiest diets on earth often include a bounty of fresh herbs in addition to whole, fiber-rich foods.
Water (plain, bottled, low-sodium, mineral); hot grain beverages (coffee substitutes); non-medicinal herbal teas (such as peppermint, rosehips, and chamomile); and cocoa up to 2 tablespoons per day (use non-alkali processed cocoa). You do not have to drink large amounts of water daily. Simply drink when thirsty.
If you choose to drink caffeinated beverages, we recommend green or black tea over coffee because of teas many health benefits. We also recommend moderation: no more than 400 mg of caffeine daily (the amount in about 4 eight-ounce cups of coffee or 8 eight-ounce cups of tea).
Coffee, both regular and decaf, does contain chemicals (diterpenes) that may modestly raise LDL cholesterol. However, by brewing with paper filters like paper cones or capsule filters like Keurig, the diterpenes are largely eliminated.
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 oz of 80 proof liquor. Choose red wine over white wine, wine over beer, and either over liquor.
Culinary herbs are rich sources of many beneficial phytonutrients, and are a good way to add flavor without extra calories, fat, or salt. Include at least 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herbs or 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs each day.
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 to lose weight. Limit intake to no more than 10 to 12 packets per day. Sucralose (Splenda) and stevia (brand names include SweetLeaf and Truvia) appear to be the safest choices.
Go wild on vegetables. The more vegetables, including dark green, yellow, red, or orange vegetables, the better! Theyre among the best foods for weight loss.
Limit calorie-dense foods such as dried grains (breads, crackers, cold cereals), dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. Avoid refined or concentrated sweeteners. They all pack a lot of calories into very small amounts of food. Youll find it much easier to feel full and satisfied and curb hunger if you focus instead on high-water, high-fiber foods like cooked grains (such as oatmeal and brown rice), vegetables, and whole fruits. These foods arelow in calorie density. Youll eat more and weigh less.
Steer clear of fruit and vegetable juices because they provide less satiety than whole fruits and vegetables.
Celebrate! Eat as many whole grains, vegetables, legumes (such as beans and peas), and fruits as you want. Enjoy more calorie-dense foods such as avocados and nuts, but limit them to keep your weight under control. Limit avocado intake to no more than 2 ounces per day. Limit walnuts, flaxseeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, pistachios, sunflower seeds, filberts (hazelnuts), peanuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts to no more than 1 ounce per day.
CAUTION | The Less the Better
While Caution foods are not recommended, this list provides direction when food choices are limited.
Limit the consumption of ALL oils to no more than 1 teaspoon per 1000 calories consumed, especially if youre trying to lose weight, because oils have the highest calorie density of any food or ingredient.
For healthy individuals who choose to use sweeteners, a suggested rule of thumb is a maximum of 2 tablespoons of fruit juice concentrate or 1 tablespoon 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.
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 1200 to 1500 mg of sodium per day, depending on age. Its one of the most important things you can do to lower blood pressure.
Limit as much as possible foods containing refined grains (such as white pasta, white bread, and white rice).
STOP | Think About It First
When faced with foods in the Stop category, search for choices in the Go, and, if necessary, Caution foods. Stop foods, due to their high content of saturated fat, hydrogenated fat, cholesterol, and/or sodium, may significantly compromise your personal health goals. Be wary of headline-grabbing media storiesthat suggest otherwise. Unfortunately, thetypical American diet is largely made up of Caution and Stop foods.
Limit the following choices to less than once per month. None is optimal.
The typical American Diet is full of fatty meats, unhealthy oils, egg yokes and deep fried foods. Diseases like obesity, type-2 diabetes, hypertension, high-cholesterol and heart disease are the result of this unhealthy diet.
Such as butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, lard, chicken fat, palm oil, cocoa butter, chocolate, margarine, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and shortenings.
Such as fatty meats, organ meats, and processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, and bologna).
All cheese, cream, cream cheese, half-and-half, ice cream, milk, sour cream, and yogurt, unless fat-free and low in sodium.
Potassium chloride. Learn more about salt substitutes.
Egg yolks, deep-fried foods, non-dairy whipped toppings, rich desserts and pastries, and salty snack foods.
Five bountiful meals and snacks are served daily at the Pritikin Longevity Center. The Pritikin Diet works in part because you arent losing your mind while youre losing weight, notes comedian and actress Caroline Rhea, first host of The Biggest Loser. Theres no calorie counting, no deprivation, and no hunger.
Instead, the focus is a lot of good food that is low in calorie density, naturally high in nutrients, and delicious. The food tastes great, and thats saying something from a steakhouse guy like me, says John Timothy Gannon, cofounder of Outback Steakhouse Restaurants.
Each day, wellness education workshops and cooking classes led by Pritikins nutritionists and award-winning chefs teach all the basics for healthy Pritikin living at home. Topics include:
Healthy does not have to mean blah! The award-winning chefs at Pritikin are masters at showing people how delicious healthy eating can be. Get a taste of Pritikin deliciousness with this Carrot and Pineapple Salad. Its a favorite among guests at the Pritikin health resort.