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The Spectrum Diet

The Spectrum Diet

A lifestyle-based weight loss plan created by Dr. Dean Ornish.

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"The Spectrum: A scientific program proven to feel better, live longer, lose weight, and gain health" is the latest book by award winning author and esteemed medical practitioner Dr. Dean Ornish. Dr. Ornish first gained world-wide popularity decades ago for his diet program intended to reverse heart disease, which at that time seemed a radical idea in the world of medicine.

Doubt from the medical community stemmed from the common belief that disease was a by-product of genetics; therefore, if you had ancestors with disease, you statistically more likely to inherit their debilitating illnesses.

Since then, Dr. Ornish has spent decades studying this phenomenon and debunking its myths. The result of his work is that while he recognizes the role genetics play, he has also found a way to use our genetic "uniqueness" as a way to change, if not save, our life.

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  • Dr. Ornish brings vast credibility and experience to the world of weight loss
  • The Spectrum utilizes a personalized approach
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Addresses not just weight loss but cancer risk, and other life-threatening disease
  • Off-putting for some for it's alternative approach
  • Requires a very self-motivated person
  • The complexity of the medical jargon could be intimidating
  • Dr. Ornish's writing style is wordy and at times, hard to follow
  • Must surrender to a nearly all-vegetarian diet

By utilizing a whole-grain, low-fat food pyramid, Dr. Ornish has teamed with a Master Chef to design recipes that satisfy.

With little to no meat, the Spectrum promotes mindfulness in eating. In tandem with his wife, Anne Ornish, the program is one that promotes cleansing both the mind and body.

In September 2005, the American Journal of Medicine released a study of participants showing that a low-fat, plant-based (Ornish) diet is more effective at helping people lose weight and improve insulin-sensitivity than an omnivorous (both plant and meat) diet.

A great philosophy attributed to Dr. Ornish, is that there is no "junk food;" there is junk, and there is food, and if you avoid junk, and just eat food, you'll do all right.


The activity program seems to be yoga, pilates and tai-chi in nature. Again, mindfulness is the key here, and finding an activity that supports your unique lifestyle seems to be Dr. Ornish's winning approach.


The Spectrum is not necessarily a diet, but rather, a lifestyle. Following Dr. Ornish's program creates awareness and promotes responsibility. While diets come in a variety of packages, at their core, they are all a method for increasing awareness about one's food intake, which will in turn, contribute to weight loss.

The "spectrum" represents the variety within human genetics, along with the "spectrum" of diet information available, thereby confusing the dieter into state of fear and/or inaction.Dr. Ornish's intent with this book it seems, is to motivate an individual to make food choices based on awareness, and to increase awareness through meditation and conscious thinking.

Common MisspellingsCommon Misspellings

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(Page 1 of 1, 2 total comments)



Excellent program for nearly everyone. You can begin slowly, or jump into level 1, depending on your current choice. Individuals who tend to drift to less healthy choices may find it easier to follow the Eat to Live (Dr.Fuhrman) approach while using Spectrum as a guideline as you will avoid drifting to old choices during the 6 week plan.

posted Dec 31st, 2011 6:01 pm


It's an amazing book and I've found it remarkably easy to follow. I'm a lifelong carnivore and quite honestly it was not that hard to transition to less meat and more fruits, veggies, nuts, and legumes.

posted Sep 22nd, 2008 9:37 am


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