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Pritikin Diet and Exercise Program helped treat Type II Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome in Obese and Overweight Patients

February 3rd, 2006

Pritikin Diet and Exercise Program helped treat Type II Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome in Obese and Overweight Patients

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A recent study published in the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, showed a 50 percent reversal in people with metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes by following the Pritikin diet and exercise program over a 3 week period of time.

The lead researcher, Christian Roberts, from the University of California, Los Angeles said, "The study shows, contrary to common belief, that Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome can be reversed solely through lifestyle changes."

"This regimen reversed a clinical diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome in about half the participants who had either of those conditions. However, the regimen may not have reversed damage such as plaque development in the arteries," Roberts said. "However, if Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome continue to be controlled, further damage would likely be minimized and it's plausible that continuing to follow the program long-term may result in reversal of atherosclerosis."


The people that participated in the study did not necessarily lose much weight but their conditions improved.  The study did not show that the plaque build up in arteries was corrected.  What were improved were the lipid blood serum levels.

The American Heart Association describes metabolic syndrome as an individual that has excessive fat around the abdomen, high triglyceride and low HDL cholesterol with high LDL cholesterol blood serum levels.  There is a tendency for elevated blood pressure, as well as insulin resistance or glucose intolerance.  The metabolic syndrome puts a person at a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.


This study reinforces that dietary change and physical activity can help to reverse the affects of this syndrome and it can be accomplished in just a 3 week period according to this study.  The participants of the diet only lost about 2 3 pounds per week and were still obese at the end of the three week period.

"The results are all the more interesting because the changes occurred in the absence of major weight loss, challenging the commonly held belief that individuals must normalize their weight before achieving health benefits," Roberts said

The study researched 31 men ages ranging from 46 to 76 years old.  Fifteen of these men had metabolic syndrome and thirteen of these men had Type 2 diabetes.  The remaining men were not categorized as having metabolic syndrome or Type 2 diabetes, but were overweight or obese.  The men checked-in for a 21 day period at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Santa Monica, California.

At the Pritikin Longevity Center, they followed a strict diet and exercise program.  The diet consisted of low-calorie, low fat foods.  Pritikin diet consists of 12 15 percent of the calories from fat, 15 20 percent of the calories from protein, and the remaining 65- 70 percent from unrefined carbohydrates (whole foods).  The men also had a goal to consume more than 40 grams of fiber each day. 


In addition to the diet changes, the men also exercised each day by walking 45 60 minutes on a treadmill.  The men each had a goal of reaching 70-85% of maximum heart rate.  To make sure they got a good workout they would use the incline to increase heart rate instead of just running faster.

The Pritikin diet focuses on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits as a majority of the food for the diet.  They would eat five or more servings of whole grains, four or more servings of vegetables, and 3 or more servings of fruits each day.  Protein came mostly from plant sources such as beans, nuts, and soy.  They allowed nonfat dairy up to twice a day.  Fish and poultry were allowed in limited amounts with 3.5 ounces portion once a week and in soups and casseroles two times in a week.  The fat which was the remainder of the calories was served at a healthy polyunsaturated-to-saturated fatty acid ratio of 2.4 to 1.

"Aside from meat and dairy, the study participants could eat as much as they wanted," Roberts said. "Because the food was not as high calorie as a typical American diet, the participants ate less before feeling full. This is a departure from most diets, which usually leave the dieter feeling hungry," he said.

At this time,  it is not known if that by changing the diet and exercise patterns if the metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes can be prevented in people that are at a higher risk for developing these disorders.  It is not certain if long term diet and exercise is able to prevent or reverse and organ damage that may have happened to people that has metabolic syndrome or Type II diabetes.  Future research will likely be conducted to answer these questions.

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM