“To the extent that carbohydrates come primarily from whole foods, the diet is likely to contain a lot of fiber, which is a good way to promote a healthy microbiome,” according to Monica Renagel, RD, host of the Nutrition Diva podcast and co-founder of Weighless, a A program designed to help individuals lose weight without dieting. “However, in my experience, many people will find this type of high-fiber, low-fat diet to be too austere. It really is like a ‘diet’, which is why so few people find this approach sustainable in the long term.”
Like the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and the flexi diet, the Pritikin plan continues to be built on low-fat, high-fiber foods with daily exercise. It is meant to be followed for life.
Lon Ben-Asher, Registered Dietitian at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa, explains that when comparing the Pritikin plan to the Mediterranean diet, “Pritikin’s foundation is based on trying to consume more whole plant food sources. Differences emerge when oil, even Olive oil, something we still want to limit our intake of because it’s very, very calorie dense.”
Foods such as nuts and seeds are other types of calorie-dense food sources. “For the sake of cardiovascular health,” Ben Asher explains, these sources of fat are still allowed and still encouraged as part of your Pritikin intake plan, especially because you use monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to replace saturated and trans fats. ”
While individuals can opt to stay at the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa in Miami, it is possible to follow the diet at home. Pritikin lovers start every meal with soup, salad, fresh fruit or whole grains. The fiber and water in these foods are meant to fill your stomach so that you eat less during the rest of the meal.
There is good research “supporting this volumetric approach,” says Reinagel. Even just drinking a large glass of water 15 or 30 minutes before a meal has been shown to reduce the amount of food you eat. But the special cells that register when the stomach is stretched or full is just one of many overlapping mechanisms that signal to the brain that it has something to do. Enough food. So, while I think that’s a good strategy, it’s just one of many that we use in our approach to weight management.”
She explains that hunger, appetite, and desire to eat are not driven solely by physiological factors. Sensory stimulation, situational stimuli, and emotional experiences all play an important role. Any successful and sustainable approach must take all of these things into consideration.”
Each day, followers of the Pritikin plan are required to eat five servings–each being 1/2 cup (such as brown rice or barley) or 1 ounce (such as bread or crackers)–of complex carbohydrates, which may include whole grains, starchy vegetables or legumes.
You’ll consume at least five servings of vegetables – one cup raw or ½ cup cooked – and four servings of fruit each day. Two servings of dairy products or fat-free dairy alternatives, up to two egg whites, and 3-4 ounces of fish, poultry or bushmeat on your menu.
Most people who visit Pritikin Long Life Center 30 to 90 minutes of cardiovascular exercise six to seven days a week is recommended, plus two or three strength training sessions lasting about 20 minutes at a time and ten minutes of stretching every day of the week. Ben Asher says high-intensity interval training a few times a week and plenty of core-strengthening exercises are encouraged, too.
In addition to food and exercise, you can expect to be advised to quit smoking and manage your stress if these are problem areas for you. Stress management and guided meditation classes are standard offerings at the Longevity Center.
By eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free dairy, beans and nuts that are high in volume and low in calories, you’ll have little room for processed foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.
The Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program It is one of three intensive cardiac rehabilitation programs accredited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These programs require a doctor’s prescription and are performed in the hospital, with some resources available in the patient’s home online. Those enrolled complete 36 training and educational sessions in each period of the program. Educational videos, live workshops, cooking classes, and 1:1 clinical consultations make this a good program.
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