Is The DASH “Diet” Good For Weight Control?


The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (part of the NIH) developed the DASH (Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension”) in the early 1990s.  This initiative was funded by the NIH in order to see what the best dietary approaches are to help reduce blood pressure.

The “DASH” Diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. It includes lean meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans, and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and added fats. 

Studies have shown that following the DASH Diet results in lowering of the blood pressure.  For many people that have hypertension, the amount of blood pressure lowering is not enough to completely come off of medications.

How does the DASH Diet work for weight control? Clearly, avoiding sugary drinks, eliminating processed foods, recommending lots of vegetable intake and eating the “right” types of carbs will all be beneficial for weight control efforts.

However eating an abundance of fruits, ingesting nuts and incorporating beans are not very conducive to weight control.  In the SP Plan, we specifically limit the amounts of these foods, or in the case of nuts and beans, avoiding them completely will help weight control efforts.

Weight control in and of itself, is a powerful intervention for lowering blood pressure.  The “ DASH DIET” is certainly a very healthy approach for lowering blood pressure without meds.  However, if too much fruit and nuts are being used, this could thwart weight loss efforts and the other weight-related co-morbidities, such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis pain etc are still in play despite the betterment of blood pressure.

My recommendations:  For solely blood pressure control, the DASH Diet is certainly acceptable   For weight control, this should be tweaked.