Pritikin Endocrinologist & Educator | 2021-2023
- Fellowship: University of Florida – Shands (2018)
- Residency: Memorial Health University Medical Center (2016)
- Medical School: Ross University School of Medicine (2012)
- American Board of Internal Medicine: Internal Medicine (2016)
- American Board of Internal Medicine: Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (2018)
- American Board of Obesity Medicine Diplomate (2019)
“I believe that prevention of disease is key to a healthy life, and I help people prevent those diseases that can have lasting negative effects. I treat diabetes and other metabolic disorders so patients can avoid complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, and strokes. I am eager to help people learn about the tools that can improve both their health and how they feel, so they can live their best lives.” – Krista Gonzales, MD
Dr. Krista Gonzales stands out as an exceptional endocrinologist and obesity medicine specialist. Her medical journey is defined by a profound commitment to patient care and a deep understanding of the pivotal role lifestyle plays in overall health. As a distinguished Endocrinologist and educator at the renowned Pritikin Center, she has dedicated her career to empowering patients to regain control of their health and embark on transformative journeys.
“Pritikin has completely reshaped my perspective – as a person, a patient, and a physician,” she shares with heartfelt sincerity. “It’s astounding that, throughout medical school, physicians receive no training in nutrition, not even a single class. However, at Pritikin, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the profound impact of nutrition and lifestyle changes. Remarkably, within just three days, our guests consistently achieve remarkable improvements in their blood pressure readings. It’s a testament to the incredible power each individual holds to transform their life in such a remarkably short timeframe.”
Dr. Gonzales deeply values the time spent with guests at Pritikin, where physicians have up to 45 minutes of one-on-one time with each guest, supplemented by hours of workshops, panel discussions, and master classes. “We have the time to truly listen to our guests,” she confides. “This time is invaluable. In medical school, we are often trained to remain emotionally detached, focusing solely on data rather than connection. Communication is not emphasized. The beauty of Pritikin lies in our ability to bridge that gap and establish genuine connections with our guests on a deeper level. We nurture relationships based on trust, a feat impossible to achieve in the mere 8-15 minutes typically allotted for each patient.”
She recounts a recent conversation with a guest who suffered nightly cramps. As they discussed his medications, it came to light that he was injecting insulin at night, contrary to the recommended protocol of morning and pre-meal injections. The guest had misunderstood his physician’s instructions, injecting insulin post-dinner, often 2 to 4 hours later.
Dr. Gonzales’ extended discussions made all the difference. During this time, she identified a concerning pattern – nightly hypoglycemic episodes (low blood sugars) and significant electrolyte imbalances causing the guest severe discomfort. This was a nightly occurrence, despite the guest’s sincere efforts to follow the treatment plan. Regrettably, his doctor at home hadn’t had the opportunity to delve into such details, and this critical connection might have gone unnoticed.
This experience underscores the immense value of the time dedicated to guests at Pritikin. It allows for the identification and resolution of crucial issues, leading to significant improvements in their well-being.
In a society where over-medication is prevalent and awareness of the impact of lifestyle changes on health is lacking, physicians genuinely want to help their patients. However, they often lack the time to guide individuals in adopting the healthy lifestyles they recommend. When lifestyle changes are not adopted, medication becomes the default solution. Pritikin takes a different approach.
Dr. Gonzales, specializing in diabetes care at Pritikin, compassionately shares, “When a patient begins a medication like insulin, they often feel defeated. They may believe that the dietary changes they’ve been advised to make won’t yield significant results. Moreover, insulin use and the hunger pattern it can create can lead to weight gain, creating a discouraging cycle. Patients become disheartened, often resulting in even more insulin use. While I’m certain that their doctors attempt to educate them on modifying their lifestyle, at Pritikin, we have a unique opportunity to connect with them and immerse them in an environment where they can witness the tangible impact of those changes.”
“In our setting, it’s not merely something someone told you. Here, you’re witnessing a daily reduction in the amount of insulin you’re taking, often by half. It becomes tangible proof that you can do it. You start to recognize the genuine value in these changes, and that realization empowers you. Motivated by this progress, many individuals take their commitment to the next level, eventually leading to a point where some can discontinue insulin use. It’s a transformative experience, contrary to the misconception that once you’re on insulin, it’s a lifelong commitment. I witness this transformation every day.”