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Ornish Diet

Ornish Diet (Eat More, Weigh Less)

Principle of the Ornish Diet

The Dean Ornish diet is primarily vegetarian in nature. It is very low in fat (10% of the total calories), high in carbohydrates (70% of the total calories) including legumes and other high-fiber foods. High-fiber diets have been shown to reduce cholesterol and have other beneficial effects. Simple carbohydrates such as sugar, honey, and alcohol are restricted but not eliminated. They contain lots of calories but little fiber or nutrients. People are allowed to eat as much food as they like, as long as the 10%-of-calories-from-fat rule is maintained, and as long as only approved foods are eaten. Ornish highly recommends the consumption of Omega-3 isolated fish oil to achieve part of a regimented fat intake. The basic principle is that calories from fat cause obesity; however, the author does concede that calories consumed above maintenance levels contribute to weight gain. Physical activity and meditation are parts of the program. Eat small meals throughout the day rather than eating three big meals.

The Ornish Diet is suitable for:

  • Individuals looking for changing their whole lifestyle to a healthier way of eating and living.

Foods in The Ornish Diet:

The food categories on the Ornish diet are:

  1. ”Eat Freely” foods.
  2. ”Eat Moderately” foods.
  3. ”Banned” foods.
  • Banned foods include, all fats and oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, as well as refined carbohydrates like sugar, white flour and white rice. Meat, poultry or fish foods aren’t recommended, while only a few dairy products are allowed, like fat free yogurt, fat free milk and lower fat cheese. As long as you observe these dietary directions, you can eat all you want without counting calories or portion sizes.
  • All foods containing cholesterol and saturated fats are prohibited from the diet. Saturated fats are found in meat, dairy products, oils, nuts, seed, and avocados, which are all forbidden by the Ornish diet.
  • Egg whites and nonfat dairy products are permitted.
  • The Ornish diet is slightly lower in protein than that found in a typical American diet.
  • In the Ornish program, you learn ways to ensure an adequate supply of complete proteins from vegetable sources in the diet. This is done by combining rice and beans, tofu and rice, pasta and beans, baked beans and wheat bread, or oatmeal with nonfat yogurt over the course of a day.

Advantages of the Ornish Diet:

  • The Ornish diet was the only one to significantly lower LDL -cholesterol (”bad cholesterol”) and reverse atherosclerosis, making it a dietary therapy for heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol .
  • The Ornish diet was the only one to significantly lower insulin.
  • C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and heart disease, was significantly lowered only on the Ornish diet and Weight Watchers diet.
  • Creatinine clearance (a measure of kidney function) was improved only on the Ornish diet and the Weight Watchers diet.
  • The Ornish diet has also been shown to be an effective weight loss program.
  • The Ornish diet is recommended as a preventive measure for heart disease, strokes, diabetes and other conditions related to high fat consumption.
  • The Ornish diet is an easy and inexpensive form of treatment as well as a preventive measure.

Side effects

Long term success requires some dietary fat for a number of reasons including the transportation of vitamins, satiety (feelings of fullness) and the simple pleasure of enjoying food with some fat content.

A Sample of Ornish Diet Meal Plan

  • Breakfast: Whole grain cereal with fat-free yogurt, orange juice
  • Lunch :Baked potatoes stuffed with fat-free cheese and spinach, Broccoli, Potato salad with fat-free dressing, Green salad and fresh fruit
  • Dinner: Bread with tomatoes and capers, Wholemeal pasta with vegetables, Peaches in wine
  • Drinks: Water, tea, coffee, skim milk, juices.

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