The Pritikin Diet was developed by Nathan Pritikin about ten years ago before that of Dr. Dean Ornish. It is an extremely low-fat diet in which only 10 percent of calories are derived from fat with the rest being obtained from complex, unrefined carbohydrate such as vegetables, peas and beans, whole grains and fruits.

Low-fat animal protein and fat-free dairy produce such as skimmed milk is permitted in very small amounts and daily exercise is recommended. The diet was primarily developed as a means of preventing heart disease but weight loss is achieved by nearly all those who embark upon the Pritikin programme which seeks to help people to permanently change to a healthier lifestyle.

Recommended for
Those who need to lose weight because they suffer from one or are at risk of heart disease.

Not recommended for
Growing children who need essential fats in their diet.

A typical day’s menu:


  • Whole wheat, high-fibre, low-fat cereal or porridge with skimmed milk
  • Grapefruit


  • Whole wheat pitta bread with green salad and raw vegetables, fat-free dressing, if desired
  • 1 small bowl of lentil soup


  • Vegetable soup
  • Whole grain rice and bean salad
  • Steamed vegetables (broccoli, curettes)
  • Slice or rye bread
  • Stewed apple and fat-free yoghurt

Some concerns have been raised that the diets are too low in fat, if adopted permanently and that a lack of dietary fatty acids may lead to inadequate absorption of vitamins and minerals. However, both are Pritikin diet and the Dean Ornish diet have been shown to be effective in treating cardiovascular disease, lowering blood cholesterol and promoting weight loss.

Nathan Pritikin’s books contain recipes and cooking instructions which show readers how to prepare a variety of tasty and satisfying meals, permanent basis since it involves giving up most of the foods which they be to adopt the Pritikin or Ornish diet programme as a basis and not to worry too much about the occasional lapse, as long as there is no complete return to former patterns eating.