Dr. Ornish’s diet is a vegetarian diet, and it is up to us to decide whether we eat meat and how often we do it. The diet is designed not only to reduce weight but first and foremost to reduce the risk or completely eliminate the likelihood of developing heart diseases, including atherosclerosis. The general assumption is to eat sensibly, tasty, not giving up some of the pleasures.
What should be eaten during Dr. Ornish’s diet?
Dr. Ornish’s diet distinguishes 5 types of foods. The items in the first two groups should be the base of the daily menu. Products from the third group should be eaten only occasionally, those from the fourth very rarely, and those from the fifth preferably not at all.
Group 1 consists mainly of vegetables, fruits, legumes, skimmed milk products, and egg whites in their natural form.
Group 2 consists of vegetable products rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, such as avocados, seeds, and nuts. This group also includes oils – because of the high-calorie content they cannot be abused – canned foods, low-fat (i.e. those with less than 1 percent fat) dairy products, decaffeinated beverages, and products with low sodium content.
Group 3 primarily consists of fish, seafood, foods that contain refined carbohydrates and concentrated sweeteners, oils that are high in saturated fatty acids or contain more omega 6 acids than 3, dairy products with less than 2 percent fat, trans-fat-free margarine, sweeteners containing glucose-fructose syrup, and sodium-containing products.
Group 4 are products of animal origin with high amounts of fat, high-fat proteins, fewer nutrients, and bioactive substances. They include poultry meat, fish with more mercury, full-fat milk and full-fat dairy products, margarine, mayonnaise, doughnuts, fried rice, confectionery, and other sweet baked goods.
Group 5 are the least healthy foods, i.e., those containing saturated and trans fats, and include especially types of red meat, egg yolks, fried poultry, fish, hot dogs, offal, butter, cream, and tropical oils.
It’s more than just diet!
Protecting the heart from diseases is not the only benefit of the diet. According to the author, such a menu significantly reduces the likelihood of developing prostate and breast cancer. How? By excluding red meat from the diet. During its frying or grilling aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic, are released.
According to Dr. Ornish, full-fat dairy products and all animal fats are equally dangerous. In the case of ladies, reducing fat intake by 20 percent, within five years, already reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by more than 40 percent.
Inadequate diet and the resulting overproduction of insulin reduces the concentration of proteins that bind testosterone and estrogen. Excess of the latter significantly contributes to the development of both breast and prostate cancer.
Dr. Ornish’s diet – is it safe?
The most effective variant of the diet involves the complete elimination of meat and animal products, which for some may prove to be an insurmountable barrier. The risk of following Dr. Ornish’s diet, just as with the classic vegetarian diet, is iron and vitamin B12 deficiency. Sometimes, in order to compensate for these deficiencies, we should rich for dietary supplements with these substances.
Although the diet is very effective, its introduction is recommended primarily for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. As a slimming diet is not suitable for everyone and before its introduction it is best to consult a dietician.