Diet

The DASH Diet Is Great For Weight Loss,

The DASH Diet Is Great For Weight Loss, So Why Is No One Following It?

 

The DASH Diet Is Great For Weight Loss, So Why Is No One Following It?

The DASH diet often flies under the radar, especially when compared to buzzy diets such as the Keto diet, but it’s one of the most widely-respected diets out there. U.S. News & World Report has named it the “Best Diet Overall” for eight consecutive years in its annual diet rankings, and it’s recommended by the American Heart Association, who used it to develop their 2010 Dietary Guidelines.With virtually no food groups as off-limits, DASH offers much more flexibility than other popular diet plans. It can also aid in weight loss and weight maintenance, given its emphasis on overall health. With all its praiseworthy qualities, you’d think everyone would be following a DASH diet plan. But here’s the surprising truth—less than 2 percent of the population actually follows the DASH diet.

 

How could this be? Let’s take a closer look at the DASH diet to find out for ourselves.

What Is the DASH Diet?

DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” The diet was developed out of a study by the National Institutes of Health after researchers noticed that vegetarians tended to have lower rates of high blood pressure. Understanding that sodium intake affected blood pressure, researchers also believed that these levels may also be impacted by other nutrients in plant-based diets.

Enter the DASH diet. When individuals followed this eating plan, researchers saw dramatic reductions in blood pressure levels. Today, the eating plan is recommended for preventing and treating hypertension and heart disease—and it has been linked to decreased bone deterioration, improved insulin sensitivity, and possible risk reduction for some cancers.

The DASH diet plan focus on increasing vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes; choosing lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts and healthy fats; and limiting added sugars, trans fats, added salt, and processed foods. Serving sizes from each food group are based on individual calorie needs (see below for a 1600-calorie plan), and you’ll likely find that the plan looks pretty close to the MyPlate plan, as well as another consistently rated “top diet,” the Mediterranean Diet. Here’s a breakdown of the recommended nutrients in a typical day and week on the DASH diet:

Nutrients Per Day:

 

Grains: 6 servings

Vegetables: 3-4 servings

Fruits: 4 servings

Low-Fat or Fat-Free Dairy: 2-3 servings

Lean Meat, Poultry, or Fish: 4 ounces or less

Fat/oils: 2 servings

Sodium: 2300 mg or less

Nutrients Per Week:

 

Nuts, seeds, and legumes: 3-4 times per week

Sweets and added sugars: 3 servings or less

The secret to DASH’s success is its emphasis on increasing vegetables, fruits, and whole foods that are naturally low in sodium and high in potassium. While most know that reducing sodium is essential, many don’t realize that getting adequate potassium intake is just as key for regulating blood pressure.

When foods are processed, their potassium levels actually decrease. So, choosing whole or minimally processed foods can improve blood pressure regulation from both a sodium and a potassium perspective. In addition, you’ll usually decrease your intake of saturated fat, added sugars, and overall calories—all of which can help you lose weight, and keep it off for good.

 

People also ask

Is DASH diet good for weight loss?

Beyond reducing blood pressure, the DASH diet offers a number of potential benefits, including weight loss and reduced cancer risk. However, you shouldn’t expect DASH to help you shed weight on its own — as it was designed fundamentally to lower blood pressure. Weight loss may simply be an added perk.

How many calories should I eat on the DASH diet to lose weight?

For weight loss, reduce your daily calories to 1,600 per day. Lower your sodium to no more than 1,500 mg per day if you are age 40 or older, are African American, or if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

What foods are not allowed on the DASH diet?

Foods and drinks to avoid when following the DASH diet include high sugar, high fat snacks, and foods high in salt such as:

Candy.

Cookies.

Chips.

Salted nuts.

Sodas.

Sugary beverages.

Pastries.

Snacks.

 

How long does it take for DASH diet to work?

Studies have shown that the DASH diet can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks. The diet can also lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels in the blood

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