Ornish Diet

Which is the Best Diet?

Atkin's Diet

Jenny Craig Diet

Mediterranean Diet

Ornish Diet

Paleolithic (Caveman) Diet

Slim Fast Diet

South Beach Diet

Vegan Diet

Volumetrics Diet

Weight Watchers Diet


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Ornish Diet:

Basic Premise:

The more a person's diet is changed, the more health benefits a person receives. Tailored to individual desires.

Allowable Foods:

Allowable foods depend on the dieter's chosen scale and may range from full-access to all foods, to very strict removal of all meats, sugars, and most dairy products.

Additionally, the diet can be adapted for specific dietary preferences such as:

  • Vegetarian and Vegan
  • Gluten-Free
  • Low-salt
  • Kosher
  • Halal

Brief History:

The diet was founded by Dr. Dean Ornish in 2007, in his book, The Spectrum, which outlines nutrition, exercise, stress management, and emotional support options as a guide to achieving any health goal, from weight loss to preventing or reversing chronic disease.

Ornish catalogues food into five groups that range from The Most Healthful (Group 1) to The Least Healthful (Group 5). Dieter's analyze what group they currently fall into and then decide which group they want to fall into. Food choices are then based on the group they want to be a part of.

Ornish then goes on to apply these food "spectrums" to common health problems, his book dedicating chapters to losing weight, lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure, and preventing or reversing Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Additionally he devotes information to treating breast and prostate cancers.

Dietary Practice:

As reversing heart disease is such an ambitious goal, this program is what Ornish is best known for. In this far end of the healthy spectrum, only 10% of calories can come from fat, of that very little saturated fat. It eliminates most foods with any cholesterol or refined carbs, oils, excessive caffeine, and nearly all animal products other than egg whites. The diet emphasizes lots of complex carbs and up to 2 ounces of alcohol are permitted daily.

When not looking to reverse heart disease, the program is variable and contingent on each individual's own desired results. Weight loss is seen by many control groups, but as not all persons are following the same protocols, weight loss isn't seen by all dieters. (Some dieters may just wish to eat more healthy, not actively lose weight.)

Overwhelmingly, the diet has cardiovascular benefits. This diet was the first to show heart disease can be reversed.

Physical Activity:

Regular, moderate exercise is recommend while subscribing to the Ornish diet. Participants are encouraged to exercise either 30 minutes daily or over one hour every-other-day, comprising 3-5 hours of aerobic exercise per week. Participants are also encouraged to engage in strength training 2-3 times per week.


DISCLAIMER: For all dietary recommendations, consult your primary physician to determine what is best for your
individual goals and health conditions.

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