The healthy DASH diet plan was developed to lower blood pressure without medication in research sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health. The first DASH diet research showed that it could lower blood pressure as well as the first line blood pressure medications, even with a sodium intake of 3300 mg/day! Since then, numerous studies have shown that the DASH diet reduces the risk of many diseases, including some kinds of cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney stones, and diabetes. It has been proven to be an effective way to lose weight and become healthier at the same time. It is full of fabulous, delicious, real foods. All of these benefits led to the #1 diet ranking by US News & World Report in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The Improved DASH Diet
The original DASH diet research was not originally designed for weight loss, and was relatively high in refined grains and starchy foods, since it was based on the prevailing nutrition "wisdom" of the mid-90s. (Note: The NIH educational materials have not been updated since 2006.) Since healthy weight loss is important to so many people, there was a need to create an easy-to-follow weight loss plan, based on the core DASH diet foods. The heart of the DASH diet is an eating plan rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, along with nuts, beans, and seeds.
Fortunately, several new DASH diet research studies have been conducted to optimize the DASH diet, and have shown even better results. Improved blood pressure results were obtained by cutting back on the "empty carbs" and adding in more protein and/or heart healthy fats. These improvements are completely compatible with the newest research on how to have successful, sustainable weight loss.