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This Month In Diet
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  • Across the Spectrum
    Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. But what if you could reverse the disease without surgery or drugs? This is what the Spectrum Diet is all about. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Across the Spectrum

What do you know about the Spectrum Diet?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. But what if you could reverse the disease without surgery or drugs? This is what the Spectrum Diet is all about. Created by Dean Ornish, MD, a bestselling American author, researcher, and leader in the health community, the Spectrum Diet outlines a holistic lifestyle and weight-loss program intended to reverse heart disease.

Keep reading to learn the basics behind this heart-healthy plan.

All about Choices

Health isn’t just about what you eat. It’s about how you live. The Spectrum Diet guides folks regarding how to change their diet and their lifestyle in an effort to reach health goals. In order to prevent and reverse disease, you’ve got to include the three parts of the diet plan: nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

Where Are You?

The first step to the Spectrum Diet is determining where you fall along the spectrum according to what types of foods you eat more than others. There are five food groups, with group one being the healthiest (fruits, vegetables, non-fat dairy, legumes, and whole grains) and group five at the other end of the spectrum being the least healthy (foods high in saturated and trans fats such as hot dogs, red meat, butter, and fried foods). Other foods fall somewhere in between.

The Plan

If your go-to foods fall in groups four or five, it’s time to eat more of the foods in groups one or two. Do note that the diet plan doesn’t forbid food groups. Rather, the choice is up to you. The more you eat of group one, the sooner you’ll reach your health goals. A program like this allows for gradual lifestyle and dietary changes toward health.

Specific recipes that offer the choices of various ingredients from each food group are offered with the Spectrum diet. For heart health, low-calorie, high-fiber, and complex carbohydrate foods such as fruits, vegetables, egg whites, nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, and whole grains are the goal. Foods you want to avoid include refined carbs, highly processed foods, added sugars, alcohol, and red meat.

The Pros

Unlike other diet plans that ban certain foods, the Spectrum diet is more sustainable because it allows a good amount of freedom when it comes to food choices. Your favorite foods don’t have to be completely off-limits. It’s simple to follow the Spectrum diet if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.

By following a diet and lifestyle plan like the one set forth by Dean Ornish, you’ll improve your mental and physical health, reduce your risk of heart disease, and lose weight. Nutritious food, stress management techniques, and regular exercise benefit anyone, especially those with heart conditions. Studies show the Spectrum Diet has a record of helping people lose weight, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and treat or prevent conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

The Cons

There are no pre-packaged foods or meals that come with the Spectrum Diet. Therefore, this program requires commitment, planning, grocery shopping, and cooking at home more often. Folks who love red meat and processed foods may find the diet restrictive and difficult to follow.

Since the Spectrum Diet allows freedom of choice, some folks may have trouble limiting portion sizes. And lastly, sticking to a low-fat diet like the Spectrum Diet may mean you miss out on the health benefits offered by healthy fats.