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The Perricone Diet: Benefits, Downsides, Foods to Eat & Avoid

The Perricone diet is a 28-day eating plan that, according to its author, would reduce inflammation in the body and the signs of aging. It has gained popularity in recent times, due to the fact that Queen Letizia of Spain would be one of its followers.

The focus of this diet is on eating foods rich in antioxidants and adding a source of protein to meals and snacks. Although it also promotes the complement of regular exercise, it has some disadvantages. We’ll tell you about them here.

What does the Perricone diet look like?

Nicholas Perricone is a dermatologist who wrote several books on skin care, weight loss and general wellness. He also runs a popular company called Perricone MD.

On his website, he offers the “Dr. Perricone 28-day anti-inflammatory diet”. This is a program based on eating guidelines, taking supplements, exercising, and a skin care regimen. Although the full plan is applied for 28 days, a quick version of only 3 days is also offered.

Because of the promise of weight loss without the dreaded anxiety or moodiness that accompanies less food intake, many people try the method. Several Hollywood celebrities and some European royalty, such as Queen Letizia, are reportedly followers of the diet.

Although some of the details are shared on the official website, Perricone urges its customers to purchase The Perricone Prescription, a book that outlines the basics of the program and includes a sample full 28-day menu. But despite the promises, the lack of sufficient studies and the restrictions of the regimen have been criticized.

What is the rationale behind the Perricone diet?

In itself, the Perricone diet encourages the consumption of foods from different food groups to provide the macronutrients and micronutrients the body needs. In addition, it eliminates the intake of processed, fried, and simple sugar-rich products.

As in the ketogenic or keto diet, increased protein intake and reduced carbohydrates help to lose weight. With no sugars available in excess, the liver begins to use fats to provide energy for the cells.

The difference with the keto regimen is that Perricone does not eliminate fruits and vegetables. Therefore, the risk of causing ketoacidosis, a possible complication of the ketogenic diet, is decreased when done without professional supervision.

As it is a high-protein diet, it is not recommended to sustain it for the long term. Excessive protein metabolism in the liver and its elimination by the kidney could have negative effects on both organs.

How much weight loss is achieved?

People who follow the Perricone diet can lose between 7 and 10 kilos in the 28 days of the plan. The elimination of numerous hypercaloric products would be most responsible for this weight reduction.

The Perricone plan provides about 1600 calories per day. Although this amount is not considered “low”, for many people it will be a sufficient deficit to boost weight loss.

Meanwhile, protein and fiber intake provide satiety, also contributing to the expected results. As scientific research has already made clear, supplementing food with physical exercise is essential for weight loss. And the Perricone diet is not only about food, but also about movement.

Although it’s estimated that weight loss with the Perricoe diet can reach 10 kilos, it is important to consider that the plan does not take into account the height, sex, age or activity levels of each person. These factors influence the calculation of daily calories required, so they are data capable of altering the results.

Although the plan lasts 28 days, Dr. Perricone offers longer maintenance diets on his website.

Benefits of the Perricone diet

According to its creator, the anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects would be the main benefits of his proposal. In parallel, his diet is offered as an alternative not to be in a bad mood during the reduction of calories.

The truth is that there are no specific studies on the Perricone diet that can certify its effects. There is research on certain nutrients and some proportions of foods over others, but it has not been done on people who adhere to the plan in question.

The antioxidant-rich foods on the Perricone menu may delay the appearance of signs of premature aging. Research in Antioxidants confirms that increasing water intake, incorporating antioxidants, and reducing sugar and ultra-processed foods for 28 days improves skin appearance.

On the other hand, we know that chronic inflammation is linked to obesity and the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or liver problems. Since the Perricone diet is designed to reduce chronic inflammation, through the elimination of added sugar, bread, fried foods, and snacks, presumably it will have some effect in this regard.

The disadvantages of the Perricone diet

Although the Perricone plan promises incredible changes in a short time and without suffering, it has a number of limitations:

  • Duration: in only 28 days there will be no consistent lifestyle modification, therefore, without follow-up, the health repercussions will remain in the short term.
  • Cost: Perricone’s menu includes expensive ingredients, such as wild salmon. In addition, to get the 28-day plan you must purchase his book or the full program on the web.
  • Restrictive nature: although many foods are included, there are also quite a few that are restricted. For some people, diets with restrictions can be unsustainable.
  • Use supplements: Perricone recommends the intake of dietary supplements, such as vitamin B and omega-3 fats. However, when consuming these products, individual needs should always be considered, as not all people require them.

Allowed and forbidden foods on the Perricone diet

The Perricone diet increases the consumption of quality proteins and fats, as well as fruits and vegetables with a low glycemic index. In turn, it eliminates ingredients that promote systemic inflammation.

Allowed foods include the following:

  • Chili peppers and peppers.
  • Legumes: lentils, beans.
  • Beverages: green tea and spring water.
  • Cereals and pseudocereals: oats, quinoa.
  • Probiotics: yogurt, fermented dairy products, and kefir.
  • Spices: turmeric, nutmeg, ginger, basil.
  • Healthy fat sources: avocado and olive oil.
  • Omega-3: salmon and other fish, chicken, turkey, seafood and eggs.
  • Seeds and nuts: flax seeds, pumpkin, almonds, walnuts.
  • Fruits that are rich in fiber: pineapple, pears, melon, apples, red fruits, cherry, kiwi, lemon.
  • Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, asparagus, cabbage, celery, mushrooms, chard, tomato.

On the contrary, these are the products to avoid when following this method:

  • Coffee.
  • Alcohol.
  • Fried foods.
  • Hydrogenated fats.
  • Fast food and packaged snacks.
  • Refined flours: pizza, pasta, bakery products.
  • Some vegetables: carrots, pumpkin and potatoes.
  • Fruit juices, soft drinks, and sweetened beverages.
  • Some fruits: orange, mango, watermelon, banana, grapes.
  • Added sugar and its derivatives. Sweets, honey, syrup, and ice cream.

How to follow the Perricone diet?

To implement the Perricone diet there are two options: the 3-day plan or the 28-day plan. The first is intended as a pilot test and then move on to the more complete one.

In the 3-day method, you follow a plan that cannot be changed and is very restrictive. It consists of eating the same breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for 72 hours. The base is salmon.

The 28-day diet, on the other hand, establishes changes in the way you eat each week and leads to healthier choices in the long term. Salmon remains the staple food on your menus, but is sometimes replaced by poultry or tofu.

A Sample Diet Menu

Although you have to pay to get the full menu plan for 28 days of the Perricone diet, here is how is the structure of the diet of the 3-day program, proposed on its website. Remember that, according to its author, this reduced program involves the same meals for 72 hours:

  • Upon awakening: a large glass of mineral water.
  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal, omelet of 3 eggs 85 g of grilled salmon, a slice of melon 5 cm or 1/3 cup of fresh berries. You can drink black or green tea and 250 to 350 ml of spring water.
  • Lunch: 85 to 113 g grilled or canned salmon, 2 cups of green salad made with romaine lettuce or other dark green leafy vegetables, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. 1 kiwi or melon and berries for breakfast. Drink 250 to 350 ml of spring water.
  • Dinner: 85 to 113 g of grilled salmon, green salad as at lunch, 1/2 cup of steamed vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, and spinach), melon and berries, and 250 to 350 ml of spring water.
  • Bedtime snack: 1 apple, 1 slice of turkey breast 56 g or 170 g plain Greek yogurt. A small handful of hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds.

Along with the menu, regular exercise is recommended, most days of the week. It is also suggested to drink 8 to 10 glasses of spring water a day, take certain supplements and use skin care products promoted on the Perricone website.

Always think long term to lose weight

The Perricone diet is a 3 or 28-day eating plan that includes protein, vegetables, and fruits. Still, it is quite restrictive and focuses on short-term dietary modifications.

It can lead to weight loss, improve skin appearance, and provide health benefits. Still, these improvements will not last if good habits are not maintained over time.

Fad diets can promise amazing changes in the short term. But if you’re thinking about your health, it is more effective to adopt small modifications that are sustainable in the long term.

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