The DASH diet was originally developed as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension after extensive studies at the National Institutes of Health near Washington, D.C. demonstrated significant results with patients in controlled studies. The medical community may be more familiar with the program and recipes since there was not a commercial thrust to market books, classes or foods.
However, weight loss associated with the DASH diet, is bringing it to the forefront of the mainstream media since following the DASH diet recipes gives you a healthier life that you can have with minimal effort while looking good. For hypertensive patients with high blood pressure, the DASH diet has been demonstrated to lower readings in just 14 days, which is a staggering claim from a conservative, science agency. So now the books are available online and anyone can tap into the newest diet program.
US News and World Report has even for the past 3 years ranked DASH as the best diet. Hands down. Now that’s impressive.
For anyone familiar with the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet will look familiar. It promotes food choices that are heavy on the fruits and vegetables – no surprises there! – along with low-fat protein and dairy products, as well as grains and legumes. DASH diet followers avoid sugar, which have been identified as the culprit in many illnesses, and again is the basis of most healthy eating lifestyles.
Many healthcare professionals support the DASH diet, first of all because the supporting evidence from studies is powerful in the eating program’s ability to reduce hypertension, improve heart health and, by default, reduce weight. But perhaps more importantly, they also see it as a more balanced diet than the popular low-carbohydrate diets such as Atkins. The healthcare community contends that very low carbohydrate diets are difficult to maintain, and of course eating a piece of 14-grain bread is much better than eating a jelly donut. So the move to “healthier” carbohydrates is a huge improvement in overall health, plus it’s easier to stay on track with the new lifestyle change.
It is a difficult transition for the average American to go from their usual diet to one that calls for 4 – 5 servings of vegetables, AND 4 -5 servings of fruits per day. That’s 10 servings total. Most Americans get 3 or 4 combined, so a serious adjustment in eating patterns has to change. The New York Times bestselling “DASH Diet Action Plan” does help with realistic meal plans and recipes that are appealing.
However, for Type 2 diabetics, carbohydrate intake is an issue and the recommended 7 – 8 servings of grains and grain products may be excessive for a diabetic, particularly someone taking insulin via injection. Again, while grains with complex carbohydrates are better than simple sugars, for diabetics it’s another story all together. Diabetics should consult their physician before starting any dietary change. The links between diet and diabetes is clearly understood and must be taken into account. Perhaps your physician will just reduce the amount of grains, replace it with a serving or two of low-fat protein or low-fat dairy and you’ll still find the DASH diet gives you a healthy lifestyle!