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Harmful Effects of the Ornish Diet

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Harmful Effects of the Ornish Diet

The Ornish diet, a meal plan that emphasizes the consumption of carbohydrates over fats, is an unsafe plan despite its claims to being a safe and effective way to prevent heart disease1 – a claim only a balanced diet can make. Because the Ornish diet cuts out a large number of foods from a person’s meal, many beneficial nutrients are missing that would normally be in a balanced diet. In addition, recent studies have found that diets containing a larger than recommended amount of carbohydrates may actually increase a person’s chances of developing intestinal and breast cancers2. These findings show that despite any benefits the Ornish diet may provide to the heart, the complications of maintaining a high carbohydrate diet make it not nearly as safe as a balanced diet.

Because the Ornish diet restricts participants to a strictly vegetarian meal plan, people who follow the diet often become deficient in beneficial nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids1. Vitamin B12 and iron are nutrients often found in animal products such as meat, while omega-3 fatty acids are most common fish – the foods present in a balanced diet, but absent in the Ornish diet. Deficiencies of these chemicals can often lead to conditions such as anemia, or prevent beneficial effects that are imparted by omega-3 fatty acids such as mood stabilization and improved cardiovascular health. Because the body needs iron to produce hemoglobin – a vital part in a red blood cell’s ability to transport oxygen to other cells, a lack of the substance would cause a large decrease in the effectiveness and number of red blood cells. In addition, due to vitamin B12’s regulation of blood cell production, a decreas...

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...s incorrect. People on this diet often do not obtain enough of the essential vitamins and minerals that they need in order to maintain healthy bodies. Because of this, they run the risk of developing serious illnesses such as anemia. People on the Ornish diet also will not enjoy the possible benefits other nutrients such as the omega-3 fatty acids. Dieters who take in such large amounts of carbohydrates also increase their risk of developing cancers due to the elevated insulin responses their bodies put up to digest the food that they eat. In the end, a balanced diet is much safer than, and just as effective – if followed correctly – In maintaining a healthy body as the Ornish diet is.

Sources

1. http://www.moscowfoodcoop.com/archive/ornish.html

2. http://www.scienceblog.com/community/article3530.html

3. http://www.bipolarchild.com/newsletters/0501.html
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