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Ornish Diet Review 2019 - Rip-Off or Worth To Try?

Ornish Diet Review
8.9 Total Score
Reading Time: 3 minutesDr. Dean Ornish founded the Ornish Diet in 1989, and it focuses on patients who are at risk of cardiovascular diseases or heart attacks. No major foods are essentially banned while on this diet program in the early phases, but each food group is placed in a group, with 1 being the healthiest and 5 being the least healthy. The recommended break down of calories is 10% fat (very low), 20% protein, and 70% carbs.* The diet does try to exclude alcohol consumption, sugar, and white flour, but does not have any calorie restrictions per se. As long as the majority of foods you are eating are in-group 1, you should lose weight.* The diet is said to lower blood cholesterol levels, and prevent the destruction of arteries near the heart. The diet is pretty straight forward, and it claims to be the first program to reverse heart disease by optimizing the four areas of your life.*

The Four Areas of Your Life:

  1. What You Eat (Be mindful of the groups you are eating in the majority of the time.)
  2. How You Manage Stress (What triggers your eating?)
  3. How Much You Move (Promotes at least 30 minutes of activity per day).
  4. How Much Love and Support You Have (Do you have a solid support system?)

Is The Ornish Diet Easy To Follow?

For some, it will be relatively easy to follow, and for others, it will become harder the more rigorous the diet gets. The problem most people will run into is the restriction of fat to only 10% of your daily calories. Depending on your health needs, it may be more realistic to up this number by 5-10%. The cost can also be an issue, depending on your health conditions and what groceries you will need to buy.* High quality fish, fibers, and vegetables can be costly, as you will be purchasing them more often than normal. To purchase the Dean Ornish guide called “The Spectrum,” it will cost you $27.00 up front.* Depending on your needs, the diet can go from no food elimination to completely eliminating all animal by products turning it into a vegetarian diet.* This program is not for everyone, but it is clinically proven to reduce artery blockage, due to the low amount of fat that is consumed per day.

Ornish Diet Customer Reviews:

“Just kept repeating the same stuff over and over. I felt like I was in Kindergarden. No new information just rehash of his other books. Save your money!” Sterry*

Laura* said, “How can I trust a doctor who doesn’t admit that a low or better no fat diet is unhealthy, even more when studies and researches demonstrate that the countries with the lowest heart disease are France and Italy? The Mediterranean diet has a normal percentage of healthy fats, like the ones in olive oil and fish.

A Meal Plan Example:


  • 2 egg-white vegetable scrambles
  • 1/3 cup each blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
  • ½ cup non-fat milk
  • 1 slice whole-grain bread


  • 1¼-cup roasted-tomato soup
  • 2½ cups Asian noodle salad topped with 5 grilled shrimp
  • 1 slice whole-wheat peach griddlecake


  • 2/3 oz. dark chocolate,
  • 3 apricots,
  • 10 raw almonds,
  • ½ cup plain non-fat yogurt


  • 3 oz. wild salmon
  • 1¼-cup butter lettuce/pear salad with honey-infused vinaigrette
  • 1½-cup sweet corn, black bean, and tomato salad
  • 5/8-cup peach bread pudding
  • Glass of wine or sparkling water
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Do Dieters Lose Weight On The Ornish Diet?

Because this program does not eliminate foods, some will see results while others will not. They recommend you choose to eat foods in the first three food groups to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and shed unwanted pounds. The guide tries to educate the reader on the importance of nutrient dense foods, and the right foods that will fill you up like vegetables and proteins. It truly matters on your personal health conditions, and if you have a substantial amount of weight to lose.* If so, your journey will be much more difficult with the Ornish diet, as it eliminates all meat, and nearly all animal byproducts, turning the diet into a vegetarian-based diet.

Pros and Cons of Ornish Diet

  • Provides more food per calorie than other diets
  • Promotes Exercise
  • Clinically proven to reduce artery blockage

  • The reduction of 10% fat can be hard to stick with long term.
  • The more rigorous the program, the more extreme the diet gets with food eliminations.
  • The diet is very time consuming, when you have to prepare all of your meals and snacks.

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Bottom Line: Is Ornish Diet Worth a Try?

Yes, but… While this diet seems to have great motives, it may pose harder to follow than other available diet programs. As the program gets more and more rigorous depending on your diet goals, the expectations get higher and harder to follow.* While it starts off not restricting any foods, in order to see cardiovascular health improvements, you are essentially recommended to go completely vegetarian, which is not sustainable long term for many. It is an affordable option, and has seen success, but this program is definitely not for everyone. The diet promotes activity, which is always great to see, but it also demands that customers completely change their eating habits, which can be a daunting task long term.

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Why we prefer Trim Down Club over Ornish Diet?

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8.9 Total Score
Ornish Diet Scorecard

7.8Expert Score
10User's score
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  • Customizable plans
  • Meals are good quality
  • Meals are tasty
  • No planning or preparation
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  • No shortcuts
  • Lack of exercise program
  • Contains caffeine
  • Ships only to certain countries
  • $20/week shipping fee
  • No snacks
 Includes supplement
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 Food Recipes
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 Health Coaches
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*Please keep in mind that with any diet or weight loss program, individual results will vary.

This content is strictly the opinion of ConsumersCompare.org and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither ConsumersCompare.org nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

Read full Medical Disclaimer here.


1 Comment
  1. 5

    I was fortunate that my local hospital has the Ornish program. I had a stent put in a small artery feeding the back 1/4th of my heart that was 90% blocked. The hospital let me know that the program was available and covered by Medicare and my secondary insurance program. The 9-week program was demanding, but none of the talented and committed six hospital employees put pressure or embarrass any of the five people in my group. Four hours, two days a week, for 9 weeks, including a vegetarian lunch with coaching from a dietitian and other presenters, and carryout leftovers for one or two meals at home; an hour of supervised exercise supervised by nurses and a licensed exercise leader; a hour of “therapy” socialization, thankfulness, empathy for others and goal setting with an experienced therapist; and an hour of gentle yoga, meditation, mindfulness, deep-breathing and visualization of healing with a RN with much experience in ballet, yoga, meditation, etc. My improvement in diet, exercising habits, deep breathing, peacefulness, weight loss, strength, LDL reduction. A $12,500 value! And I could do it in my own town! I feel 15 years younger and probably in the best health ever (I’m 77). I must admit that my wife, who was welcomed to the lunch hour, made a tremendous contribution in learning how to make vegetarian lifestyle tasty and pleasant. Anyone with heart issues or diabetes issues would be crazy not to jump on this bandwagon. There was homework — some bookkeeping on daily food consumption tallied daily, and weekly, plus questionnaires about mental, exercise and meditation, etc. Also a internet evaluations of food habits before and after the program, blood lipid panels before and after the program, and waist, hip and strength evaluation before and after. Just like a 101 college course in healthy living! Unbelievably fabulous. I know that my life will be much fuller going forward with renewed strength!

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