2018-01-12 / On Second Thought


Compiled by Warren Hughes

I have been hearing a lot about the DASH Diet. Can you tell me more about it?

With weight loss and better health among the top New Year’s Resolutions, people are looking for the most effective diets to reach those goals. The DASH Diet has been considered the best by U. S. News and World Report for years and its books are consistent New York Times bestsellers.

Its official website dashdiet.org has a wealth of information and resources.

According to its official description, “ The healthy DASH diet plan was developed to lower blood pressure without medication in research sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

The first DASH diet research showed it could lower blood pressure as well as the first line blood pressure medications, even with a sodium intake of 3300 mg/day.”

Writing further about the diet’s effectiveness, DASH writer and registered dietitian Marla Heller notes, “Since then, numerous studies have shown the DASH diet reduces the risk of many diseases, including some kinds of cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney stones, and diabetes. It has been proven to be an effective way to lose weight and become healthier at the same time.”

Not originally designed for weight loss, the earlier version was relatively high in refined grains and starchy foods. However, since weight loss is also an important goal for many, subsequent easy-to-follow weight loss plans, based on the core DASH diet foods, were developed.

They too adhere to DASH diet basics, rich in fruits and vegetables, lowfat and nonfat dairy, along with nuts, beans, and seeds. Additional DASH diet research has led to refinements in the plan.

Better blood pressure results were obtained by cutting back on the “empty carbs” and adding in more protein and heart healthy fats and also compatible with successful weight loss.

Heller has written the only books with plans based on the newest DASH diet research. “All are based on the science that promotes easily reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Meals and snacks are balanced with bulky, filling foods (fruits and vegetables), along with foods that are protein-rich and/or contain heart healthy fats, both of which quench hunger.

The meal plans are designed to avoid the blood sugar roller coaster that results in cravings. By keeping blood sugar on an even keel, you reduce belly fat, reduce your risk of diabetes (or find it easier to manage), reduce triglycerides, improve HDL (good cholesterol), and reduce LDL (bad cholesterol).”

Available resources by Heller include The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution; The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook; The DASH Diet Younger You; and The DASH Diet Action Plan. The recommendations are compatible with the popular Mediterranean Diet but with more specific guidelines suitable for the entire family.

For details, see dashdiet.org.

We want to add to the community’s storehouse of knowledge, whether it is a neighborhood matter, a larger issue or a simple curiosity. We’ll do the footwork for you. Submit your questions to mimim@thecolumbiastar.com or pams@thecolumbiastar.com.

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