Ornish Diet

Ornish Diet

Living in a health conscious society, we all know of the importance of diet in maintaining our health and well-being. However, not all of us know where to begin on the road to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Because of this, many diet programs have sprung up over the years, some of them promising weight loss or other benefits with little or no effort. However, Dr. Dean Ornish’s Ornish Diet takes a different approach. With the Ornish diet, the responsibility of maintaining a good diet (and a healthy lifestyle) belongs to you.

What is the Ornish Diet?

The Ornish diet is a diet plan created by Dr. Dean Ornish, MD, president and founder of the nonprofit, Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California. The Ornish diet plan follows the idea that a low fat diet is conducive to weight and benefits your overall health. Since high fat foods are more calorie dense, eliminating excess fat from the diet and substituting them with lower calorie vegetables and carbohydrates should facilitate weight loss.

Aside from the adherence to a low fat diet, the Ornish diet requires that you take charge of your lifestyle. The Ornish diet asks for you to reduce fat intake, increase the amount of exercise you do and to monitor and manage stress levels. The diet groups food into 5 categories that range from healthy to non healthy. Its up to you to analyze the foods you typically consume and make substitutions where you see fit.

Following the Ornish Diet

Though the Ornish diet’s execution is up to you, there are general rules for success on the diet:

  • Eat Until Full – The Ornish diet is not supposed to unnecessarily restrict food intake and leave you hungry. The opposite is true. You should eat until you fill food. Legumes, vegetables, beans, grains and fruits should all be enjoyed to keep the hunger away.
  • Avoid Certain Foods – Certain foods should actively avoided while you are on this diet. Red and white meats and sugar are not allowed on the diet.High fat foods should be eliminated from the diet. Unlike many other diets, the restriction of high fat foods also extends to foods that are deemed healthy while being rich in fat such as avocados. Olive oil, nuts, seeds and other oil rich products are also excluded.
  • Manage Stress Level- The Ornish Diet encourages you to reduce stress as a way to develop and maintain good health. Yoga, meditation and time with family are strategies for reducing stress.
  • Eat Smaller Portions, More Often – To prevent hunger, you should eat smaller portions throughout the day.
  • Exercise – This diet requires that you get moving. Exercise helps with weight loss. The diet plan recommends thirty minutes of exercise, five times a week or sixty minutes of exercise, three times a week. Regardless of which one you choose, you should do aerobic and resistance workouts along with exercises that enhance flexibility.
  • Reduce Unhealthy Activity – Negative habits that you have developed over the years (such as smoking and drinking) must be corrected. If you engage in those behaviors in excess, the diet requires that you cease to.

Drawbacks of Adopting the Ornish Diet

The diet can be hard to follow at times. The reduction in fat can cause some people to have trouble adapting to the diet. Also, less fat can make it hard to enjoy foods as fat enhances taste and satisfaction.


The Ornish diet ultimately stresses monitoring your diet, reducing calories, exercising and reducing stress for a well balanced life.

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