The Perricone Diet is based on the principle that cellular inflammation is the cause of most health problems, including obesity. The diet is designed to reduce or eliminate inflammation in the body, thereby restoring health and returning the dieter to an appropriate and healthful weight.
Goals of the Perricone Diet
Nicholas Perricone is a doctor who has spent decades developing, refining, and improving his anti-inflammatory weight-loss program. When followed as directed, the diet promises to:
- Reduce bodily inflammation
- Encourage weight loss
- Maintain muscle mass
- Improve skin appearance
- Enhance mood
- Improve brain function
- Increase energy
- Improve athletic ability
- Provides appropriate amounts of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
Three Steps to Better Health
There are three phases, or steps, in the Perricone plan. Step one is learning to include the "supergroup" foods in each day's meal plan. Step two introduces important dietary supplements to facilitate weight loss. Step three is learning to follow the anti-inflammatory lifestyle Dr. Perricone has developed. These steps are combined into a 14-day plan for weight loss.
Step One: Supergroup Foods
There are ten supergroup foods that should be incorporated:
- Cold-water fish: Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, these fish are a crucial part of the Perricone plan for both the high-quality fats and the high-quality protein they provide.
- Fruits: Fruits high in fiber, phytonutrients, and natural sugars are recommended for their anti-inflammatory properties and for their ability to quickly boost energy.
- Fruit-derived fats: Fats from fruits like avocado, olives, and coconut are rich in monounsaturated fats that improve health while providing a feeling of satiation.
- Spices: Among the foods proven to stabilize blood sugar are the fragrant spices, including cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, and fenugreek.
- Hot peppers: These foods are rich in antioxidants and the phytonutrient capsaicin, which has been clinically shown to suppress appetite, increase metabolism, and induce thermogenesis.
- Nuts and seeds: Fats from nuts and seeds combine with the protein they contain to help curb hunger and promote absorption of vital nutrients from other foods.
- Legumes: Beans contain fiber, "resistant starch," antioxidants, and starch blockers, all of which are important weight-loss aids.
- Probiotic dairy foods: These are the low-fat dairy foods that contain high levels of calcium, as well as probiotics like acidophilus and bifidus.
- Whole grains: With their high-fiber, high vitamin and mineral content, whole grains are an important source of dietary nutrients.
- Vegetables: The more colorful the vegetable, the higher its concentration of valuable phytonutrients, and the more desirable it is as a component of a healthy diet.
Step Two: Superstar Supplements
There are 12 important nutrients to add to any dietary plan because they enhance health and ensure adequate nutrition, even during weight-loss efforts.
- Omega-3 Fish Oil
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
- Coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q10)
- Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA)
- Maitake SX Fraction
- Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)
Step Three: The Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle
In addition to the important foods and supplements, there are lifestyle changes that must be made while following the Perricone Diet.
- Exercise: Much has been written about the health-securing benefits of exercise, including stress-reduction, mood-elevation, muscle-building, and fat-burning. Exercise is a key component of the anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
- Stress Reduction: Besides exercise, other stress-reduction measures include prayer, meditation or yoga, caring for a pet, indulging in laughter, working with the circadian rhythm, getting plenty of sleep, and staying hydrated.
The 14-Day Plan
There are several guidelines to follow while implementing the 14-day weight loss plan:
- Every meal or snack must contain protein, essential fatty acids, and low-glycemic carbs.
- Eat protein first.
- Eat fruit at the end of the meal.
- Eat cold-water fish four to five times per week.
- Choose organic foods whenever possible.
- Eat raw when possible.
- Avoid foods containing sodium nitrite, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and chemical sweeteners.
- Avoid high-glycemic impact fruits, vegetables, and grains -- opt for low-impact members of these food groups.
In addition to these guidelines, a 14-day menu with recipes is provided in The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet, along with tips for eating out or variations for days when something fast and easy is needed.
The Perricone Diet is a relatively well-rounded program rich in essential fatty acids and sources of lean protein. When executed to the fullest, a dieter will be receiving ample nutrition in all the necessary dietary categories. It is important to keep in mind, however, than any healthy regimen may pose a challenge for persons with food allergies or digestive sensitivities. Even a program as well-crafted as the Perricone Diet may not prove feasible for such individuals.