DASH Diet Review

DASH DIET SCORECARD

Overall
Short-Term Weight Loss
Long-Term Weight Loss
Ease of Fulfillment
Overall Nutrition
Overall Health Safety


Overview:

  • Type: Balanced Diet
  • The Aim: High Blood Pressure Prevention with Weight Loss Secondary
  • The Claim: The DASH Diet claims that healthy eating is the key to lowering high blood pressure and that weight loss is simply a welcomed side effect.
  • The Theory: According to the DASH Diet anyone can accomplish lower blood pressure and even lower weight by simply eating all the foods that are good for them. This includes foods rich in potassium, calcium, protein and fiber. The DASH diet also says to lay off the sweets and cut salt usage way down.

How the DASH Diet Works

The DASH Diet was developed with the help of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. There are two free guides that can be read on how to institute the DASH Diet, one that is short and one that is long.

Basically, both tell you the same thing which is to eat all the things you were taught were good for you when you were growing up. This includes fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Conversely, you should also stay away from foods that you might like, but ones that will be bad for you. This will include sugary and fatty foods as well as excessive amounts of red meat. Salt is also considered a no-no.

Do Dieters Lose Weight on the DASH Diet?

The DASH Diet has proven effective for weight loss when followed properly. However, this is not always as easy as it sounds. Dieters who design a meal plan with a calorie deficit will obviously have more success with weight loss, but the diet is geared more at attacking high blood pressure and weight loss is really a secondary goal of the diet. Therefore, any weight loss that is enjoyed will likely not be as dramatic as many dieters might hope for.

Does the DASH Diet Conform to Accepted Dietary Guidelines?

Using the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a benchmark, the DASH Diet easily conforms in the areas of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Even salt can be kept at acceptable levels when the DASH Diet is followed properly.  

Other “nutrients of concern” such as fiber, potassium, calcium, Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D are also usually right on. Because the diet was designed for health more than for weight loss it is much more conforming in these areas as opposed to other “fad” diets on the market today.

Is the DASH Diet Easy to Follow?

The DASH Diet is a very well balanced and very healthy diet to be on. However, that doesn’t mean it is an easy diet to stick to.

While the rules aren’t complicated, following them can be tricky at times. This is because of the fact that the diet cuts out a lot of sweets and other food favorites which can tend to prompt some cheating. Too much cheating can prove detrimental to the success of the DASH Diet.

How Much Does the DASH Diet Cost?

The DASH Diet can be costly due to what you will eat while on the diet. Because you will have to stick to a specific list of foods that are acceptable and those foods are all on the more natural and fresh side, you can expect to pay for it. Fresh and wholesome foods will always cost you more than processed and frozen foods and if you like brand names you will pay more in that area as well.

Does the DASH Diet Allow for Restrictions and Preferences?

Yes. This includes the needs of those who want to go gluten-free, low to no salt, Kosher, Halal, vegan or vegetarian. The DASH Diet is easily formed into almost anything you need it to be and can easily meet your personal dietary needs.

What is the Role of Exercise with the DASH Diet?

The DASH Diet highly encourages participants to exercise. However, this is again for health purposes and not so much as an added way to lose weight. The DASH Diet recommends those who are not used to physical activity to start out with light activity and then build from there. This can include walking, gardening, or even light aerobic workouts.

The bottom line is that they want everyone to stay active and stay moving. The DASH Diet is a big proponent on setting goals and then sticking to those goals and the area of exercise is no different.

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