Pritikin Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)


The Pritikin program was originally published as a diet and fitness plan (around 1979). The book was authored by Nathan Pritikin. Nathan founded the Pritikin Longevity Center in California.

Robert Pritikin carried on the work of his father, publishing the book The Pritikin Weight Loss Breakthrough – advocating a ratio of about 10% fats. Since Pritikin has published an updated version in 2007 called The New Pritikin Program.

Pritikin Diet Outline

the-new-pritikin-programThe Pritikin Center advocate a very low fat diet that is high in carbohydrates. A traditional low fat diet is comprised of 20-30% fat. Very low fat diets go much lower than this.

Pritikin doesn’t have a distinct diet plan, but something called the Pritikin Calorie Density Solution. This involves looking at the combined calorie content of a whole meal. They aim to combine lower calorie content foods such as Pasta, Potatoes, Rice, Fruit, Vegetables, Seafood, and Poultry – with a small amount of fats (which they refer to as “forbidden”).

They make the interesting claim “…eat as much as you want… and you’ll still lose weight safely”.

Pritikin Diet – Is it Good?

Some of the claims made seem simply as sales speak. While it is good to reduce the fat in your diet, it is also easy to gain weight by eating too much processed or refined carbohydrates.

Some diets are only appropriate for certain people. If you are carb sensitive, this diet will not do you any favors, but some of the principles are sound.


The New Pritikin Program retails for $20.95.

Pritikin Longevity Center

Low Fat Recipes

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Alinne

    I’m glad I’ve never had to diet before but on the other hand I get jdgeud by everyone else who *has* had to diet before I just tell them I’ll be fat when I’m an old man.

  • belinda

    I have the pritikin edge but we dont have elk steaks in oz anyway I have books fromvthe 80s by suzanne porter.those books are profiling based and I lost weight and because I wasn’t working I saved money doing them again much against the present dietary far as the lady asking asking if this diet will help her diabeties see and discuss with your general no harm in trying otherwise just listen to your body.were all individual when it comes to food.

  • Brian Templeton

    I am 71 years old, and much overweight, which I have been ever since I was
    5 years old. I need to find a Pritikin diet program book, otherwise I may not
    live too much longer.

  • Rod

    I lived and breathed the original book in the late eighties, I had always carried excess weight and found this diet a very good way to loose a few kilos even in the short term (2-4 months you really start to feel your metalbolic rate start to pick up) with lots more energy. Once your fitness levels start to get to a point that you can maintain as a regular daily exercise program you start to do more and increase by the week. You need to maintain a good disipline and make healthy choices as ” You are what you eat” Limit alcohol,adaquate sleep and daily excersise and the weight will fall off you. At 4-6 months other things that you start to notice is your old clothes start to hang off you, more lean muscle definition and hair, nails and skin are strong and healthy. You do seem to be constantly eating and planing your next meal. But hey if you like what you see and it starts to ingrain into your thinking “Is this food I’m eating going to be good for me or not and what then should I be eating”. Only you can make those chioces. So give it a go and find out for yourself, follow the structure of not combineing the wrong foods together and when to eat each of the food groups takes three/four weeks min then your body starts to tune in and it justs rolls on from there. Try it and see if it works for you.

  • jaye kaye

    The Editor above wrote : ” If you are carb sensitive, this diet will not do you any favors, but some of the principles are sound.” This is nonsense. There is no such thing as being “carb sensitive.” The human body is designed to use carbs as energy. Eat only fat and protein you you will get sick and die quickly. Large populations such as the rural Chinese thrive on a diet similar to Pritikin. Editor do some research. Suggest you read up on also McDougall, Ornish, Esslestyn, T. Collin Campbell, and Furhman diets and recommendations.

  • Nelstar

    I went from 89kgs to 56 kgs combined with exercising 6 days a week. It worked for me years ago and am going to try it again after 25 years.

  • john chiaravalle

    I have been on the pritikin diet for months and i have never felt better in my life i am a heart patient and i nnever experinnce .angina pain anymore

  • Deborah Eleazar

    I think it is a fantastic diet as you never feel hungry and you have plenty of energy and you loose weight – for me that is very important – it is difficult to continue doing it after you have left their Doral venue but not impossible and it really has a feel good factor

  • Julia

    I think this is a great diet. The new book is called the Pritikin Edge and it is great. It focuses on living longer instead of just losing weight. It talks about how calorie density is what affects weight loss, how salt affects blood pressure and how fat affects cholesterol. There is a huge emphasis on exercise and how important cardio, strength, stretching and recreational sports all are. Want to live longer? Read the Pritikin Edge, or better go to the Pritikin Longevity centre.

  • Bev Callaway

    I lost weight on using THE PRITIKIN PROMISE paperback several years ago – my doctor approved of this diet. I cherish this little book, but am sending it to my Son.This WILL work for you if you but try.

  • babyruth

    I am overweight because I eat the wrong foods and too much of it.

  • Traci

    The guy who wrote South Beach diet is still alive.

  • Marilyn




  • Todd Jones

    The Pritikin Diet, like any diet is goning to take self control and effort. Nathan Pritikin made a promise, the Pritikin Promise, and if you try this diet your health and life will change dramatically for the good! And Pritikin did have a very distict diet plan, 75% carbs(high fiber, not refined), 15% protien(lean low fat), and 10% fat(healthy non sat). He spent a great part of his life studying cultures with very low rates of cancer, heart desease, and diebeties, and looked at how their diets and active life styles made this possible. All you have to do is look at what body builders do when dieting and you will see what Nathan was saying so many years ago about complex carbs and lean protien, and healthy fats.

  • Brian Erik

    “Some of the claims made seem simply sales speak. While it is good to reduce the fat in your diet, it is also easy to gain weight by eating too much processed or refined carbohydrate.
    Some diets are only appropriate for certain people. If you are carb sensitive, this diet will not do you any favors – but some of the principles are sound.”

    I know this diet very well and it is NOT sales speak, there are over 110 solid research studies proving this diet is probably the best diet on earth…TRULY. What you said below about refined/processed carbs is NOT in the Pritikin diet. He clearly is very against such carbs. Very few people have a problem with the high carb intake because they are all complex carbs and veggies and mild fruit intake. MANY THOUSANDS of people have been at the Pritikin center with amazing results for decades now, so it is not sales speak at all.

    I highly recommend this diet. You will feel great, drop weight and almost completely eliminate the possibility of heart disease or obesity every being a part of your life.

  • Anon

    Eating a very lowfat diet and getting regular exercise, with the carbs coming from Real Food ™ is healthier than any of the weird diets out there. You know the guy who wrong South Beach Diet died of heart disease, right?

  • E

    My mom tried it. It didn’t work, all it did was make her sick.

  • Windy Wellingtonian

    “Pritikin Diet – Is it Good? …it is also easy to gain weight by eating too much processed or refined carbohydrate.” I was under the impression that the Pritikn Diet advocates against the eating of processed or refined carbohydrates.

  • Also Anonymous

    The whole carb thing has been overplayed! Yes, REFINED carbs can cause health and possibly weight problems, but eating lots of healthy carbs- fruits and veggies etc. can help most people get healthier and LOSE WEIGHT! The sugars in produce are absorbed by the body more slowly, especially when the fiber found in produce is taken into consideration. This will prevent the problem of insulin imbalance that can occur from too much fat or refined carbs.
    The Pritikin Diet can be successful and health-promoting, but the main problem is NOT the carbs, it’s that too many people don’t have the discipline it takes to cut fat percentages that low. It’s doable, but tough, especially in our culture that promotes eating unhealthy food such as junky snacks and high fat and sugar laden foods!

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