The Dash Diet’s approach to health improvement is one of the best, but does it also work well for weight loss? The answer is yes, but the purpose of this plan is more so based on reducing hypertension through proper eating than anything else.
In most cases you won’t lose lose a lot of weight quickly, but it will greatly help you in other areas, health related which will provide long term results. A food list will be provided as well to help give you a better idea of how it works.
How the Dash Diet works:
DASH stands for Dietary approaches to stop hypertension. This is a lifelong plan whose main purpose is to help lower your blood pressure (if you have hypertension). The bulk of this “diet” is to basically eat healthy foods which are low in sodium, the main ingredient which can lead to hypertension.
Foods that are low in sodium are basically fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, grains and basically the typical foods we know to be healthy. DASH has a 2 phase plan which will help you ease into the diet and be able to follow it for life. Here is a summary of each phase:
Phase 1: Lasts for 14 days
In this phase, you will be basically be eating mainly low carb foods and staying away from fruits (for now) or grains (for now) to help the blood pressure improve. You can also eat foods with proteins during this time, such as fish, lean meats and eggs, but as long as each day you don’t go over 6 ounces a day.
Phase 2: Lasts 14 days
Here you include all of the foods allowed in phase 1, but are now allowed to eat fruits and grains, in specific servings a day. Phase 2 will be a lot more flexible and allow for more variety. After you finish this phase, it’s onto the long term (lifetime) plan:
Understanding how the lifetime plan works:
The first 2 phases were meant to help you lower your blood pressure and become better acquainted with how the long term approach to this diet will look. For the most part, it’s going to come down to eating certain food groups from the Dash diet is a specific serving everyday.
Every food you eat will be low in sodium and will thus further help reduce blood pressure. Under this diet, there are 2 options available: The Standard DASH approach in which you can consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day and the lower sodium approach which is more for people with very high blood pressure. Here you can’t go over 1,500 mg a day.
Additionally exercise is also highly recommended as it will help further results in the positive direction. It doesn’t have to be much. You can just start by doing simple things such as walking.
Overall, the regular Dash diet isn’t going to force you to starve. Each day you’ll be able to eat up to 2,000 calories and as you progress further into this diet, it’s going to become easier to maintain. For those seeking to lose weight under this plan, a 1,600/day calorie consumption is recommended, but keep in mind that this diet is not a quick fix.
1,600-2,000 should be enough for most, but a lot of the foods you’re going to eat are low in satiety so you may feel hungry at times. If you feel cravings, try to only eat from the recommended food list.
Dash Diet food List:
You will be eating foods everyday from several different groups:
Protein: Eggs, lean meat, poultry, salmon, tuna, sea bass, ect…
It is recommended to only eat organic foods from this list. Furthermore, make sure every meat you eat is lean so as to avoid the fat and extra cholesterol that may be in it.
Grains. Whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, cereal, brown rice.
The basic rule of thumb here is if it’s whole wheat, you can eat it. Everything else likely contains a lot of sodium, white flour, white sugar and other ingredients that will increase blood pressure.
Fruits. Any fruit.
Stick to organic. You can eat canned fruits, but just make sure there’s no additional ingredients added. In truth, organic is better and there’s less hassle.
Vegetables. Pretty much anything goes here, but some foods on the list include broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce.
These and fruits should compose the majority of your daily diet.
Dairy. Yogurt (fat free), milk (fat free), cheese (fat free).
Nuts: Walnuts, almonds.
Great source of protein and energy.
Beans: Kidney beans, legumes, peas.
Legumes are probably the best since they contain a lot of health benefits.
Cheat foods (sugar, candy, ect…): You can eat in VERY small portions things such as candy, sugar (preferably brown/raw), soda, ect…
Note: Each food group comes with it’s own specific serving sizes a day which you must follow if you intend on seeing successful results from the DASH diet. For example, all of the foods you’re allowed to eat in the cheat foods list must be done in VERY small quantities. Some recommend no more than 5 servings a week!
- Helps lower blood pressure/reduce hypertension.
- Healthy approach to dieting.
- Gets long term results.
- Contains many health benefits.
- Not really meant for weight loss.
DASH Diet Score:
3.5 stars out of 5. Very healthy diet with many health benefits, but not very flexible or a quick fix. If you want something that is healthy and gets fast results, you should try the Every Other Day Diet and that’s because it’s much more flexible:
Every Other Day Diet explained.
Conclusions on the DASH diet:
Many of the concepts of the DASH diet aren’t really new. In essence this really is a diet that’s about healthy eating and exercise, with extra emphasis placed on limiting sodium intake.
The good news is that if you currently have problems with high blood pressure, this diet is perfect for you. You should certainly consult with a doctor first especially if you are taking medication just to be on the safe side.
However if you do not have hypertension, are relatively healthy and looking to lose weight, this is not the best diet for that. This is.
The DASH diet does help provide weight loss results, but generally they aren’t quick since again the main purpose of this plan is to help lower blood pressure. Weight loss will follow and there some who report losing a lot of it quickly, but this isn’t common.
If you wish to lower your blood pressure and improve your health, the DASH diet is highly recommended. It also provides a ton of health benefits. An overall great healthy plan, not so much a diet.
If you’re looking to lose weight quickly and don’t have issues with blood pressure, you can take a look at the #1 rated diet as a better alternative. It provides fast/long term results as well as a lot of flexibility.