I don’t know if I should follow up on two diet authors Dean Ornish and Cliff Sheats.

I not sure what is the best strategy for me in losing weight. I’m 255 pounds and 5 feet 8 inches. Right now I don’t know if I should follow up on 2 diet authors that interest me. These are Dean Ornish and Cliff Sheats. Ornish deals with more a low-fat vegetarian diet with minimal or absent use of meat. Sheat’s diet is about using more of the right food to lose weight. For instance, veggies and very lean meat.

I’m really concerned about my health. My father had his 1st heart attack when he was 30 years old and he was just slightly overweight (5 feet 5 inches and 170 pounds). Please, any advice is welcomed.

It so happens, I heard Dr. Ornish speak at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics meeting and saw some rather impressive improvements in cholesterol plugged arteries and oxygenation of tissue. The improved arteriograms (x-ray dye studies of arteries that indicate narrowed arteries) PET scans, blood fats profiles were compared before and after 3 months on Ornish’s diet.

The diet has 10% fat, 15% protein, 75% carbohydrate, 10 mg of cholesterol, no animal products other than egg whites and 1 to 2 servings of non-fat dairy products per day, no added fats (oil, avocado or nuts), no caffeine or decaffeinated beverages, but calories aren’t restricted. Alcohol is allowed (1 1/2-oz alcohol, 12 beer or 4 oz of wine) with 1 drink per day and 0 to 2 servings of non-fat sweets. Grains, legumes, beans, peas, fruits, and vegetables are recommended foods.

The program includes stress management, an exercise program (3 hours per week), smoking cessation and social/emotional support. Also included in his program are vitamin supplements. He has set up centers across the U.S. to expand his program.

The patients included in his study were people who needed a heart transplant or cardiac bypass operation or were at risk for coronary heart disease. Considering your family history, I’d say Ornish’s would be a good diet from the results I saw.

I am unfamiliar with Sheats as it is difficult to keep up with the $35 billion diet industry in the US.

A successful eating plan includes a change in lifestyle for most persons and should include reducing fat to 25% of total calories, reducing calorie intake and increasing calorie output through a regular exercise program. I learned from research that the most successful weight loss plan is slow (1to 2-pounds per week) and not making too many lifestyle changes at once. To stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol, lose weight, and exercise at the same time may be more than the average person can achieve, especially without support. You choose 1 goal, just do something. Why not talk to a Registered Dietitian for an individualized weight loss nutrition counseling?