Monday, November 17, 2014

Ornish diet-Last refuge for obese people?

Dieting is an accepted way of achieving reduction in body weight though even to day no one is sure which diet will work on different individuals. There are many dietary schemes available to day from commercial companies, none of them being absolutely fool proof to get desired results. Atkins diet took an early lead in cornering major business from the weight reduction enthusiasts while many others followed it subsequently. Basically the principle of weight reduction is restriction of intake of food, mainly calories coming from daily foods and one really does not need any expertise to adopt a life style with diets balanced in calories, protein and other nutrients. There are well accepted dietary recommendations globally established and all one has to do is follow them with strict eating discipline. Unfortunately too much food and too less of an exercise by many people lead them to a situation where the calories, especially the fat calories are not burned enough due to sedentary life style, causing fat deposits all over the body. Whether it is a low carbohydrate diet or a low fat diet, human body must receive enough nutrients like proteins and micronutrients for sound health. One of the popular diets which seems to be gaining acceptance among obese people is the Ornish diet based mostly on fruits and vegetables excluding fat and carbohydrate to a great extent. Here is a commentary on this seemingly different approach to weight reduction. 

"Dean Ornish, MD, president and founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., was considered revolutionary in the early '90s when he suggested that a basically vegetarian diet can reverse symptoms of heart disease. Plus, Ornish and his research team argued, a vegetarian diet coupled with exercise can reduce stress and help people lose weight. Since that time, Ornish's diet has caught on, winning such high-profile fans as former President Bill Clinton. Far from being a diet fad, many doctors and nutritionists now recommend this popular diet to people who need to lose weight and who may have heart conditions. The diet's popularity partially stems from the fact it's evidence-based. One study showed that after five years, participants had lost an average of 24 pounds on the Ornish Diet, and most had managed to keep the weight off. "Few other major diet systems have managed to match this feat," says Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE, CDN, a nutritionist who practices in New York. However, the Ornish Diet has a major drawback: It may be difficult for some people to follow, especially over the long-term. The popular diet is essentially a vegan diet, Weiner says, and people may find it hard to avoid all meats, chicken, fish, and egg yolks. Also, she says, the diet is extremely low in fats of all types, and it's often fat that adds flavor to foods and makes people feel satiated."

Though Ornish diet has proved to be effective in losing weight very significantly and it is based on scientific principles, adhering to it may pose practical problems, especially in the long run. After all man does not live for the sake of living alone and there are many pleasures in life he does not want to miss. Eating good food in terms of taste, aroma, texture is an important aspect of good living and ruthless exclusion of fat from the daily diet as demanded by Ornish diet may be too much to be asked for. Use of fat is linked to flavor, taste and texture in the food and to day's food industry thrives because of the attraction of consumers to high fat food products. Shunning the same may be difficult for most people and therefore it is doubtful whether people will readily accept Ornish diet unless they are desperate, as in the case of high risk obese people. Many nutritionists advocate regular consumption of 'balanced" diet from early child hood which can ensure maintenance of normal body weight and BMI, avoiding dietary intervention at later stages of life for dealing with life style diseases that may emerge due to undisciplined eating and lack of exercise.


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