20 Jan Government Endorsed DASH Diet Voted Best Overall
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Janet M. de Jesus, M.S., R.D.
Program Officer, Implementation Science
Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the DASH diet? What are the main components?
Response: The DASH eating plan was created for a clinical trial funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The goal of the original DASH trial was to test the eating plan compared to a typical American diet (at the time in the 1990s) on the effect of blood pressure.
The DASH eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages and high-fat meats. The eating plan is a good source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The DASH eating plan was shown to reduce blood pressure and improve lipid profiles.
A second DASH trial, “DASH-sodium,” showed that adding sodium reduction to the DASH eating plan reduced blood pressure even more.
MedicalResearch.com: For whom is the DASH diet appropriate? What are the benefits?
Response: The eating plan is a healthy eating plan for almost all Americans and it is a recommended eating pattern in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Individuals with specific dietary needs such as those with diabetes or kidney disease should work with a dietitian for their clinical dietary needs.
MedicalResearch.com: Is the DASH diet difficult to comply with? Where can readers learn more about the diet and find sample daily meal plans?
Response: The DASH diet is comprised of common foods available in grocery stores. The difficult part of the eating plan is that most of the food is made at home. Foods that are typically available in restaurants include larger portions that are higher in calories and sodium. It is possible to choose meals in restaurants that fit into the DASH eating plan.
An in-depth guide to the DASH eating plan is available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/new_dash.pdf
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: It is best to make gradual changes so the new eating plan will be sustainable. It is important to think of the changes as a permanent lifestyle change as opposed to a temporary diet. Start with one goal such as substituting items higher in sodium with fresh foods or processed foods lower in sodium. Or substitute soda and other sweetened beverages with calorie-free beverages. Dietary changes can greatly reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors, including abnormal lipid profiles and high blood pressure.
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NIH-developed DASH Diet was named “best overall” diet by U.S. News and World Report.
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.
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