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From: (Steven B. Harris )
Subject: Re: Latest on Pritikin diet i
Date: 23 Sep 1995

In <440145$> (Gen
Baugher) writes:
>In <43vt27$> (Steven B.
>Harris ) writes:
>>In <43thtn$> (Gen
>>Baugher) writes:
>>>Nathan Pritikin is dead.  Julia Child, the gourmet French Cook, has
>>>outlived him by many years.  She is overweight by most people's
>>>standards and she puts "some lovely butter" on everything she
>>>cooks.  She told Pritikin's widow that if her husband had eaten
>>>more fat, he would be alive today.
>>   Unlikely.  Pritikin died of suicide after his leukemia got the
>>better of him in 1985.  But he'd developed the leukemia (CLL) before he
>>started on his famous diet.
>>                                            Steve Harris, M.D.
>Actually, I misquoted Julia Child.  What she said to the
>widow of Mr. Pritikin was something to the effect that if Mr.
>Pritikin had "had a decent meal every once in a while", he would
>be alive today.
>A diet with 10% fat would drive anyone to suicide.  The Weight
>Watchers reducing diet has 30% fat.  Imagine eating a third of
>the fat necessary to lose weight.  The purpose of the 10% diet
>was to cure disease, although maybe not leukemia.  He should have
>done a little more work on this diet and tailored it to cure
>   Gen Baugher

   He tailored the diet to get rid of heart disease, which was his main
worry at the time (although he neglected to get good medical proof of
the extent of this problem, so we cannot be sure he cured himself of
this or not).  As for his CLL, he lasted somewhere around 20 years,
which is longer than average.  Whether his diet did him any good in
that department is hard to say also.  That's the problem with
Pritikin's life-- it's hard to draw many conclusions from it.  The
important data (and there's quite a lot of it by now) is on the people
he helped, not on him.

   Is the Pritikin diet too brutal?  Probably.  His son has liberalized
the sugar intake, and at least one of Pritikin's dieticians has written
a "beyond Pritikin" book in which she advocates additional supplements
of monounsaturate and omega-3 fats to the Pritikin diet, as well as
some vitamin supplements, which Pritikin didn't really believe in (his
diet is pretty good on micronutrients, but IS quite short on vit E).  I
suspect from what I know that all this is indeed an improvement on
Pritikin.  As will be adding soy and some other things.  Pritikin is a
good place to start, but he's not the Bible.

                                        Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Carbs & Fat: New Pritikin Book
Date: 17 Mar 1998 06:43:34 GMT

In <>
(Boombiz) writes:

>J. Pritikin is dead....Julia Childs keeps rock'n on!  Go figure?

   Correct behavior increases your chances, it doesn't provide
guarantees.  Pritikin committed suicide due to a slow leukemia which he
had long before he started his diet.  His heart (see the New England
Journal for July 4, 1985) was very nearly pristine and free of
atherosclerosis.  My guess is that his diet was responsible, though
it's hard to tell (he'd had no definitive workup before starting the

    Pritikin's suicide is of more interest to the people who suggest
that very, very low fat diets decrease serotonin, and increase the
likihood of depression-caused, violent and/or agressive behavior.
Including, of course, the creme of such behavior, which successful
suicide represents.

    Of course, Pritikin is (was) a one-rat experiment.  As is Julia
Childs.  Don't pay too much attention to such things.

                                      Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: WOO-HOOO  Read this!!!!!
Date: 26 Aug 1998 06:39:48 GMT

Technologies) writes:

>The low-carb diet WORKS, for almost all of the seriously-obese
>population. Low-fat does NOT work, for the same population. In fact, it
>does not work for almost the entire population, if you believe the data,
>which says that Americans are eating less fat and gaining more weight.

     They're not doing more than a token of it.  In populations where
very low fat diets are eaten (Bantus, Japanese, Rural China, etc, etc)
obesity is very rare.  In populations who get to eat all the fat they
want after a very low fat history (Pima Indians), obesity and diabetes
are epidemic.

>So, those of you in the medical profession who truly want to help your
>patients suffering from obesity should educate yourselves to this
>better approach... IT WORKS

    Sorry, I've been to the Pritikin clinic in Santa Monica, where
people eat ad lib, do daily exercise, and uniformly lose weight.  That
also works.  But the diet is stringent and truly low fat (8-10%).  And
opportunities to cheat are hard to come by.  THAT is why it works.

                                       Steve Harris, M.D.

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