Anyone heard of the Ornish diet? It's a diet a doctor created for heart disease and to prevent blockage. My clients mom who is 65 and has high colesterol said that she had been trying it for 7 months and still isn't sure if it's helping but she believes in that doctor because she says he has plenty of research to back it up. She told me she can't have any meat. She has yo eat a really low protein diet she said under 25 grams a day!! Became 100 percent vegan for it cause she's not allowed any saturated fat. She can't have avocados or nuts and seeds due to their fatcontent? Seemed really odd to me because it is the opposite of Paleo and I'm a big believer in the Paleo diet. Can anyone help sigh some info. I wanna try to get her to consider changing it but not sure f that's the right thing to do? Is that diet legit?
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This is one of the best studies of diet comparisons:
It's Ornish/Zone/Atkins/Learn (Learn is kinda standard USDA/AHA advice). Atkins outperformed them all, especially on improving risk factors for heart disease. The study was run by a 20-year vegetarian, who was surprised at the results, but owned up to them.
In fact, he did a great talk about the study, which is on YouTube:
And also, this question was asked here and answered rather well:
I really messed myself up following gurus like Ornish's advice. It's all about being low fat and high carb, animal foods are the root of all evil...Lierre Kieth's The Vegetarian Myth would be a good book, imo, to start someone on who subscribes to that philosophy.
Dr. Dean Ornish. This program has been around FOREVER, and actually has some good success when patients are being followed closely in the clinic. HOWEVER, it is not sustainable, and it does nothing to address the core problems.
Our family's experience with it comes out of the Northeast, where it was very popular with internists some 15 years ago. My mom's and dad's internist put my mom on it because of hypertension. She was in the middle of the healthy range for weight, but her doctor told her it would prevent heart disease and lower her blood pressure. Her blood pressure didn't decrease and they put her on blood pressure medication, though her doctor kept her on the diet. She was 62. However, 2 years later, she had a major stroke that left her completely incapacitated and unable to communicate, and she continued to have strokes throughout the next 5 years until she finally succumbed.
My dad refused to go on it with her (he's Sicilian, what can I say? shrugs). He is 86 years old and still gets up on the roof of his house in upstate NY to shovel off the excessive snow.
I won't blame the diet, but I will tell you that the last year that she was up and around, my mom looked shriveled and she was losing bone mass at a horrific rate -- skin dry and sagging, significant loss of musculature... shrugs It's really unbalanced, and doesn't provide any of the necessary materials for healthy body restoration, so I wouldn't use it myself, and I'm glad my dad decided to do his own thing.
I'm not a fan of the Ornish diet, which is a wildly low-fat diet, but if rigorously followed it has been shown to reverse some markers of heart disease.
But so has a low-carb approach. And in the real world, most people find it easier to comply with a low-carb diet. Head-to-head, over the long haul, people lost more weight and also improved their markers of heart disease better on Atkins than on Ornish:
Neither Atkins nor Ornish are exactly "Paleo," of course (though one can follow Atkins in a Paleo fashion quite easily). I think Ornish is a peculiar and unnatural way of eating, but it has been shown to have benefits. What hasn't been shown is that it has more benefits than more natural diets.
Incidentally, here's a link to a guy who has collected a list of all the head-to-head low-carb vs low-fat diet trials, 14 in all: