Drug Side Effects Vs Pritikin Side Effects

For too long, patients as well as doctors have fallen prey to the medical mystique of a pill for every ill. We need to begin a whole new mind-set and say to ourselves: “I don’t want to take anything more than what I absolutely need. And certainly, I don’t want to take anything that makes me feel bad.”

Written by
6.4 min read
Common Side Effects of Medication.

For many people, there is an alternative to a medicine cabinet full of drugs. It’s called healthy lifestyle change. It’s been taught at the Pritikin Longevity Center for more than 40 years.
And it works. In more than 100 studies published in peer-reviewed journals, the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise has been found to:

  • Reduce risk factors1 for heart disease, not only cholesterol but also triglycerides and inflammatory factors2
  • Lower blood pressure to normal or near-normal levels, and without the need for medications3
  • Decrease blood sugar (glucose) in people with diabetes4 and reverse conditions like pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome5
  • Shed excess weight6

What’s more, the only side effects of a healthy Pritikin lifestyle are good ones. (See side bar that compares the common side effects of cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure pills with the common side effects of healthy Pritikin living.)

Minimizing Medications

Now, it’s true that even with Pritikin living you may still need medications. But there’s a very good chance you’ll need less. That’s excellent news because a lower dosage often means fewer bad side effects.

Cholesterol Pills
Common Side Effects

Muscle Pain
Muscle Weakness
Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Fuzzy Thinking, Forgetfulness

Diabetes Pills
Common Side Effects

Weight Gain
Upset Stomach
Tiredness or Dizziness

Blood Pressure Pills
Common Side Effects

Dry, Hacking Cough
Light Headedness
Erection Problems

Pritikin Healthy Living
Common Side Effects

More Energy, Vitality
Healthy Weight Loss
Better Sleep
Reduction or Elimination of Many Medications


Shedding pills is part of an emerging culture among health providers in countries like Canada and the U.S. It’s called “deprescribing” and was recently discussed in the physicians’ newsletter Medscape in an article titled “Easy To Start, Hard To Stop: Polypharmacy and Deprescribing.”

The Most Over-Medicated Society In History

The United States is the most over-medicated society in history. More than 50% of Americans 65 and older take four or more prescription drugs.7 Many take five or more.8 That’s a serious problem because research has shown that the more medications people are on, the greater the risk of complications such as impaired physical function, decreased cognition, falls, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and death.9

Vicious Cycle

And what a vicious cycle pills can sometimes create. Here’s just one example. You start taking a statin to help lower your cholesterol. But in just a few weeks, that statin may cause your blood sugar to creep up, raising your risk of getting diabetes. Well, we all know that diabetes causes its own scary list of woes – vision loss, gangrene, amputations, and heart attacks (yes, the very thing you were trying to avoid when you decided to take a statin).

Bottom Line: Sometimes the hardest diseases to manage are the ones brought on by medications you’re taking for something else.

Pills: The Only Solution?

Equally frustrating is when lifestyle changes are never given a chance. For conditions like high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure – conditions known to improve with a healthier lifestyle – people often rush to pills as the one and only solution.

“Don’t get me wrong. When carefully prescribed and monitored, medications are great,” clarifies Pritikin’s Medical Director Dr. Danine Fruge.

New Mind-Set

“But for too long, patients as well as doctors have fallen prey to the medical mystique of a pill for every ill. We need to begin a whole new mind-set and say to ourselves: ‘I don’t want to take anything more than what I absolutely need. And certainly, I don’t want to take anything that makes me feel bad.'”

“One of our goals at Pritikin,” explains Dr. Fruge, “is helping people minimize dosages and, if possible, eliminate the need for some drugs altogether. Here at Pritikin, people discover that good food and regular exercise often do a better job than pills.”

Summing Up | Drug Side Effects Vs Pritikin Side Effects

Have you just been told you need medication for blood pressure? Or diabetes? Or high cholesterol? Or, are you already on medication but find it’s giving you problems?

Rethink your next step. Instead of asking your doctor for another type of pill, ask about another type of life. Eat better. Start exercising.

Better yet, give it all you’ve got. Start a new life under the tutelage of some of the best lifestyle educators in the world. Book a two-week health vacation at Pritikin.

“Eat well every day, and learn first-hand in Pritikin’s dining room how delicious healthy food can be,” encourages Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at Pritikin. Learn, too, how easy it is to prepare these same foods in your own kitchen. Launch an exercise routine that is custom designed for you. Have fun meeting like-minded people from all over the world.

Start feeling good, every day. (Is there anything more important?) It’s all possible at Pritikin.


Scroll to Top