Ornish Diet Review

by The Diet Critic on November 25, 2013

ornish diet low-fat program
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The Ornish Diet is a low-fat diet program and can be used for weight loss and weight management. In addition, some dieters follow the program to reverse and prevent chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Following this diet can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

The Ornish Diet was created by Dr. Dean Ornish, a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and the founder and president of Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PRMI). The official site for the diet claims that the Ornish Spectrum is a proven program and that what can be expected are “simple changes yet powerful results”. This diet requires the follower to make specific changes to their diet, enhance their physical activity level, and focuses on stress management. It is more of a lifestyle than it is a short-term diet program for weight loss.

The Ornish Diet focuses on four specific elements. They include nutrition, fitness, stress management, and emotional support. Each of these elements are discussed in detail on the official website and in Ornish’s book called “The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health”. Together, these elements act as a guide that a dieter can use to achieve their weight loss and/or health goals.

In terms of nutrition, food is categorized into five groups. The five groups range from group 1 (the healthiest) to group 5 (the least healthy). Based on the different food groups, you can determine what category the foods fall into that you typically eat, and then adjust your diet accordingly. Exercise is another important part of this diet program. Resistance training, aerobics, and flexibility activities are recommended. As for stress management, deep breathing, yoga, and meditation exercises are encouraged. Last, but not least, Ornish recommends spending time with loved ones and the people you respect, depending on them for the support you need.


The Ornish Diet is a low-fat diet, which means that it encourages the consumption of foods that have very little fat. Ingesting a diet that eliminates fatty foods can help you lose weight. If you were to eat only from the three healthiest nutrition groups in this program, which primarily focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, as well as engage in the recommended exercises, you are very likely to lose weight. It is also very probable that you will improve your health.


There is no guarantee that you will lose weight following the Ornish Diet. This diet is highly restrictive and is often considered by many to be a vegetarian diet. Therefore, unless you are already a vegetarian or vegan, you will likely find this diet to be very difficult to follow. Due to the fact that this is an extremely low-fat diet, following it may lead to certain nutrient deficiencies. While these deficiencies can be avoided by taking supplements, it is prudent that you speak with your healthcare provider before taking part in this diet program or any diet that requires you to make a drastic lifestyle change.

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