The Ornish Diet – The Way It Works And Its Benefits

Filed in Diet Programs by on February 21, 2015 0 Comments

what is the Ornish Diet
The Ornish diet has been created by Dr. Dean Ornish. Dr. Ornish is a physician who has over 25 years experience in directing clinical research. There are two popular varieties of his diet that have been promoted by Dr Ornish. These diets are directed at reversing existing heart disease and also preventing any heart disease in the future. It is completely vegetarian.

This diet by Dr Ornish recommends less than 10% of the daily calorie requirement to come from fat, 15 to 20% of daily calorie requirement to come from protein and around 70 to 75% of daily calorie requirement to come from carbohydrates. In simple terms, it can also be said that this site is completely reverse of Atkins diet.

Even though this diet is directed at reducing the risk of heart disease, many people who follow this diet have also succeeded in losing weight. The research data provided by Dr Ornish suggests that people following this guide have lost up to 25 pounds in a year.

It can also be modified for lowering blood pressure and prevention and treatment of breast or prostate cancer. Overall, it has been claimed to help people feel better, lose weight, gain health and live longer.

As far as the diet is concerned, the extreme end of this diet recommends making a lot of changes for reversal of heart disease. The good news about this diet is that there is a lot of room for adjustment and one can easily adjust the diet to achieve various health goals.

How Does This Work?

As far as the diet is concerned, Dr Ornish has categorized various foods into five different groups. These groups have been labeled from group containing most healthful food to least healthful food. Overall, the diet focuses on replacing foods that have high fat content with foods that have low fat content.

In addition to making dietary changes, this diet also stresses regular resistance training, flexibility as well as other physical activities in addition to meditation, yoga and deep breathing.

As far as the diet for reversing heart disease is concerned, there is not much wiggle room in it. Most of the foods that have excessive caffeine, refined carbohydrates, cholesterol are banned. Also, fish, poultry and meat is not recommended. He does allow fat free yoghurt, egg whites, fat-free cheeses and milk.

The diet emphasizes complex carbohydrates and fiber. As far as alcohol is concerned, up to 2 ounces per day are permitted.

Effective for Weight Loss

There are a lot of different opinions on the subject when it comes to the effect of this diet on weight loss. A lot of studies have been conducted by many researchers and published in some of the respected medical journals.

All of these studies show that if one is able to continue this diet for a period of around one year, it is possible to lose approximately 24 to 25 pounds of weight in a year. The good thing about this weight loss is that this is it has been found to be permanent.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Dr Ornish was one of the first researchers who were able to demonstrate that heart disease can not only be stopped but it can also be reversed without the use of surgery or any major drugs by making changes in lifestyle and diet. In a widely publicized study conducted on 48 heart disease patients and published in the 1990, it was shown that patients who followed the Ornish program were able to reverse artery blockages after one year.

In addition to the reversal of heart disease, it also helps the lowering blood pressure and lowering the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. It is also known to be helpful with controlling and preventing diabetes.

Associated Risks

As far as the risk associated with Ornish diet are concerned, no particular risks have been found. However, it is recommended to check with a doctor before making the changes advocated in this diet.

In Line with Accepted Dietary Guidelines

One of the biggest criticisms of this diet has been that it is not in line with the accepted dietary guidelines as recommended by a well-respected institutes and government. For instance, the government dietary guidelines recommend that one should get approximately 20 to 35% of the calories from fat whereas Ornish diet recommends less than 10% of calories from fat.

Another criticism of this diet has been that it is not easy to follow. The truth is that if one is looking to reverse heart disease, it is one of the best known techniques to get your body back into good shape without the use of drugs or surgery. It is true that one may not find it easy to make the dietary changes but the benefits are worth it.


There are a lot of recipes available on the Internet and there are many books that contain a ton of recipes based on the Ornish diet.

For additional information about this diet click here or check the video below.

All the best!

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