The Ornish diet was developed by Ornish Lifestyle Medicine. It focuses on healthy, whole foods such as non-refined grains, good protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. According to the developers, this diet can resolve diabetes, heart disease, and prostate cancer. Studies have shown following the diet can actually change one's genetic makeup, reducing the risk of cancer of the prostate, breast, and colon. The Ornish diet is also an option for those looking to lose weight or eat healthier in general.

The Ornish Diet is Based on Natural, Real Foods

According to the Ornish diet's philosophies, all food consumed should be real food. This means no processed foods or added flavor or colorings. People should only consume plants in their natural states, such as unprocessed whole grains, soy and legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Meats should be unprocessed and raised without added hormones.

Ornish diet vegetables

marilyna / Getty Images


Calories are Unrestricted

Anyone following the Ornish diet for health or lifestyle reasons may eat as many calories as they desire. Healthy and natural foods should be the focal point of all meals. Processed foods should be limited or removed from the diet altogether. However, if a person is trying to lose weight, they can focus more on portion control and consuming fewer calories than they use for energy each day.

carrot Ornish diet

jenifoto / Getty Images


Sugar Should be Limited

The Ornish diet limits refined sugars to two servings per day. This includes agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, and white or brown table sugar. Eliminating sugar from the diet is the ideal option. If someone following the diet has a craving for sweets, it's best to satisfy that craving with fruit rather than refined or added sugars.

limited Ornish diet

Fascinadora / Getty Images


Lower Consumption of Good Fats

According to the Ornish diet, it is important to consume the right amount of healthy fats. This allows the body to maintain healthy bowel function and provides nourishment for the skin, nails, and hair. Good fats include omega 3 fatty acids, nuts, and seeds. Only 10% of daily calories should come from fat sources, which means it's best not to add fats through spreads or dips, and to consume only fats that occur naturally in other foods such as nuts, grains, and protein.

fats Ornish diet

fcafotodigital / Getty Images


Protein Should Be Mostly Plant-Based

It is best to consume plant-based proteins such as beans, soy, and legumes instead of animal-based proteins, as these are easier for the body to digest. Plant-based proteins help regulate blood sugar. People with diabetes often find success on the Ornish diet in part because of the focus on plant-based protein.

plant based Ornish diet

Somrakjendee / Getty Images


Sodium Should Be Limited

People should limit or avoid high-sodium foods. This includes both processed and natural foods with high sodium content. Natural spices and seasonings such as rosemary, oregano, and citrus are the best choices for preparing and seasoning food. People should avoid salt or seasoning blends that contain sodium.

Ornish diet sodium

jirkaejc / Getty Images


Coffee and Other Caffeine Intake is Restricted

Regular coffee drinkers may continue to drink coffee in moderation, up to two cups each day. Those who do not drink coffee, however, should not add it after embarking on the diet. Avoiding caffeine promotes a calmer and more peaceful, balanced way of life.

Ornish diet caffeine

enter89 / Getty Images


Multivitamins are Important

It is important to take a daily low-dose multivitamin when following the Ornish diet. Multivitamins help the body fulfill nutrient requirements and maintain optimal health. Multivitamins are not all created equal. It's important to find one that is easily absorbed and does not have added sugar or fillers.

Ornish diets

fizkes / Getty Images


The Ornish Diet can Reverse Illness

According to the creators, the Ornish diet is capable of producing amazing results and healing disease. Studies have backed up its ability to reverse the effects of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and high blood pressure. The diet may also slow the progression of and reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancer.


Lisovskaya / Getty Images


The Ornish Diet Helps People Lose Weight

Eating a diet of natural and whole foods can help to stabilize blood sugars and create a longer-lasting and more satisfying feeling of fullness after meals, which leads to reduced calorie intake and fewer urges to snack. When combined with exercise, this diet can help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight reasonably quickly.

Ornish diet

kate_sept2004 / Getty Images


Popular Now on Facty Health


This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.