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Dash Diet Eating Plan

January 5, 2012 by staff 

Dash Diet Eating PlanDash Diet Eating Plan, Beating out Weight Watchers and the Ornish diet, DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) claimed first place for healthy eating and was ranked the best diabetes diet (tying with the plan advocated by “The Biggest Loser”) as well.

But if the DASH Diet is one of the best weight-loss plans in America, why have so few people heard of it? What does it do? Does it have a “catch,” like the fatigue and mild malnutrition sometimes seen in Atkins dieters?

Find out the answers to these and more with a rundown of what to know about the new health plan. From how to get started and what steps to follow, to how it’s emphasis on healthy eating may not always lead to weight loss, here are five things dieters should know about the DASH Diet.

The DASH health plan actually began as a way to lower blood pressure: people were encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables, cut back on meat and fats, and incorporate blood pressure-fighters into their systems.

By designing the diet to have a calorie deficit, however, DASH can also be used as a weight loss program, and has taken off as one this year in the U.S.

The diet requires you to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, as well as a good amount of low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish or poultry, and nuts. In exchange, the diet advises steep cuts in foods high in fat and cholesterol as well as red meat, sweets and salt.

In addition to these food pyramid basics, however, DASH dieters must also add foods rich in what the program calls “nutrients of concern,” things like calcium and fiber that are often lacking in an average American’s diet.

The DASH “Nutrients of Concern” are fiber for digestion, potassium for lower blood pressure and decreasing bone loss, calcium for strong bones, blood vessels and muscles, vitamin B-12 for cell metabolism, and vitamin D for regulating calcium and phosphates in your body.

While DASH doesn’t offer a tailored exercise plan, it does offer advice for all levels and fitness goals, according to its web site DASH for Health, and encourages a steadily more active lifestyle.

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