The Pritikin Program was developed specifically to help patients with heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and gout. In the The Pritikin Program For Diet And Exercise, two diets are outlined by Nathan Pritikin, founder and director of the Longevity Center in California , the Longevity Diet andthe Maximum Weight Loss Diet. The former is not designed to reduce weight. Because it is low in fat, cholesterol, protein, and highly refined carbohydrates, the Longevity Diet may produce weight loss.The Maximum Weight Loss Diet, also low in the above nutrients, outlines two calorie levels-600 calories and 1000 calories. The diets contain approximately 80% complex carbohydrate calories, 10% protein, and 10% fat.
The 600 calorie regimen is basically a vegetarian diet whereas the 1000 calorie diet allows one serving of fish or fowl every other day, not to exceed 1/2 pounds per week. Dieters are encouraged to eat large quantities of vegetables and to "eat all day." Exercise, an important component of any weight reduction regimen, is an integral part of the Pritikin Program. The statement is made that"Exercise must have top priority, one that supersedes everything except your spouse, your children, and the food you eat" .The scientific community is divided in its assessment of the Pritikin Plan. Some see it as nutritionally sound and useful while others criticize it as restrictive and austere. The American Medical Association questions the safety and effectiveness of the program in respect to the diseases it is supposed to prevent.
Because so many popular fad diets discourage carbohydrate consumption, the American public has misconceptions about this nutrient, considering it high calorie. When starch blockers were introduced in 1982, the dieting public was ecstatic. Over 200 manufacturers aggressively marketed starch blockers as the answer to the dieter's prayers. Because it contained an enzyme from kidney beans which purportedly prevented digestion and absorption of starch, advertisements announced that individuals could eat ad libitum of pasta, bread, pizza, etc., and not gain weight. However, numerous side effects were noted with the pill such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Hospitalization was required in several cases . In the fall of 1982, the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of starch blockers until further studies could be performed. Although numerous studies reportedly have been conducted showing weight loss as a result of taking starch blockers, these studies have not been published. This is another example of a gimmick and, like all gimmicks, it will go away.
That is true of most fad diets; eventually they fade away.