Sunday, 7 October 2007

Ornish Diet is healthiest for the heart

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According to a new study rating eight popular diet plans, the Ornish Diet came out on top for heart health. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School scored a seven-day menu from each plan across dietary components affecting risk for heart disease -- fruits, veggies, nuts and soy, ratio of white to red meat, fiber, trans fat and ratio of polyunaturated fats to saturated fats.

Here are the rankings, including point totals (each factor was potentially worth 10 points):

  • The Ornish Diet, 64.6 points
  • The Weight Watchers high-carb diet, 57.4 points
  • The New Glucose Revolution diet, 57.2 points
  • The South Beach phase 2 diet, 50.7 points
  • The Zone Diet, 49.8 points
  • The 2005 Food Guide Pyramid, 48.7 points
  • The Weight Watchers high-protein diet, 47.3 points
  • The South Beach phase 3 diet, 45.6 points
  • The Atkins Diet's 45-gram-carbs plan, 42.3 points

The Ornish Diet recommends less than 10 percent of calories from fat. You can eat unlimited beans/legumes, fruits, grains and vegetables, and moderate amounts of non-fat dairy or non-fat/very low-fat commercial products. Avoid meats (or eat as little as possible), oils, avocados, nuts/seeds, dairy with fats, sugar/simple sugars, alcohol, or any commercially-prepared product containing more than two grams of fat. Exercise is also an important part of this diet regimen. The Ornish Diet has both critics and fans.

Dr Ornish pointed out this study focuses on heart disease prevention as the main goal for shedding pounds. Experts agree the goal of a diet is heart health, not solely weight loss.

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