Ornish Diet: A Revolutionary Diet

Dean Ornish, who is the president and founder of Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California introduced Ornish diet in the 90’s, which was considered revolutionary. According to Dean Ornish, this diet could reverse symptoms of heart disease. Ornish and his team also suggested that a vegetarian diet, when combined with exercise may result in reduced stress and weight loss. Since the 90’s, the Ornish diet has become very popular. The diet is most definitely not a fad and many doctors and nutritionists recommend this diet to people who have heart conditions or need to lose weight. Many doctors and nutritionists recommend this popular diet to people who want to lose weight or have other heart conditions.

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The diet is very popular and according to a study, the participants had lost 24 lbs in five years with the help of Ornish Diet. Most of the people were able to maintain the weight.

In the long term, this diet is very difficult to follow.

What is Ornish Diet?

If you want to follow Ornish Diet:-

  • You must eat all the beans, fruits, grains, legumes and vegetables.
  • Dairy products or nonfat dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese should be taken in moderation. The fat should contribute to only 10 percent of calories.
  • You should avoid meats(red and white), oils and oil products that include olives, nuts, avocados, full-fat dairy, sugar and seeds.
  • A 30 minutes exercise, five times a week or a 60 minutes exercise, 3 times a week.
  • You should manage stress by doing yoga and meditation or spending time with loved ones.
  • Refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol in excess.
  • If you want to combat hunger, you should eat smaller meals more often and be careful not to overeat.

How Ornish Diet Works?

Since you eat lesser calories and less fats that cause heart damage, the Ornish diet results in weight loss and healthy heart. Fat contains twice the amount of calories as carbohydrates. So, if you lower the fat intake, you lower the calories.

This diet also advocates regular exercise which helps in decreasing weight and improves blood flow. If you reduce stress, it results in less overeating due to less anger/frustration.

Ornish Diet Menu:-

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Breakfast: Whole-grain cereal that contains fat free yogurt and orange juice.

Lunch: Baked potato that is stuffed with spinach, fat-free cheese and broccoli. Potato salad with dressing that is fat free and green salad with fresh fruit.

Dinner: A perfect dinner in Ornish diet would be bread with tomatoes and capers, whole pasta with veggies and peaches in wine as dessert

Drinks: Juices, coffee, tea, skim milk and water

Pros of Ornish Diet:-

  • The amounts of fruits, fiber and vegetables will be according to USDA’s 2010 dietary guidelines.
  • The meal plans are low in sodium, which is good for most adults.
  • The amount of sugar, carbs and alcohol you intake will be reduced. They are not as nutritious as other essential nutrients that are needed for weight loss or preventing diseases.
  • If you eat foods that have low acid and high mineral content, it results in better bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.
  • Regular exercise helps in improving heart health and managing chronic problems.

Cons of Ornish Diet:-

  • As the diet is low in fat, it is hard to follow in long-term.
  • The amounts of unsalted nuts and seeds that you eat are restricted in Ornish diet. The nuts and seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that are important for healthy heart.
  • This diet should be planned properly otherwise there can be deficiency of calories, iron and vitamins B12. Vitamins and minerals are needed for cell metabolism.
  • As the intake of sweets and meats is low, you may feel hungry and it will be difficult for you to follow a diet plan.

When you adhere to Ornish diet, it will result in weight loss due to cut in fats and more consumption of vegetables and fruits. When you are following an Ornish diet, you may lose some weight in short-term and may also be hungry due to less fat consumption.

Ornish diet can result in improved heart health. But one should consult his/her doctor before following this diet.

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