The DASH diet has become one of those ‘lifestyle diets’ in recent years. It has picked up nearly as much attention as the Atkins diet and the Weight Watchers diet. This is for good reason, it really is one of the few healthy nutritional plans to follow. However, many are unaware of what this particular diet plan entails.
So let’s clear a few things up…
What is the Basis of the DASH Diet?
The DASH diet is based around blood pressure regulation. It is seen as an effective method for lowering blood pressure levels and preventing hypertension. This is accomplished by following a particular eating schedule, which supports blood pressure reduction.
The diet was created with assistance from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The institute also offers nutritional plans to follow. There is ashort version and along version. The diet is fundamentally sound in regards to healthiness.
What Nutrients Are Most Important?
Every diet plan has a few specific nutrients which receive a bit of extra focus. Otherwise, it’s just a healthy balanced diet with no special catches. The DASH diet focuses in on calcium, fiber, potassium, and protein. There are a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low or no fat dairy consumed with this diet.
There is also a focus on avoiding salt and calorie dense, fat rich meats and snacks. The end result is a healthy diet which focuses on nutrients known for supporting blood pressure regulation. This does not have a direct weight loss result though.
How Does the DASH Diet Support Weight Loss?
Consider the DASH diet to be a baseline creator. It puts the body to the nutritional balance it needs to healthily begin to lose weight. I say this because the DASH diet consists of only healthy sources of food. This means there are no concerns for weight loss hindering effects due to dietary intake, such as insulin sensitivity changes. In fact, the DASH diet is often recommended as a combatant to diabetes.
Aside from creating the baseline, it also influences cardiovascular health. This plays a role in one’s cardiovascular exercise performance. Over time, the diet will support improvements in cardio training ability. This also plays a role in weight loss.
However, the diet itself does not help to shed excess fat. If an individual wants to lose weight while on this diet, a caloric deficit must be created. This means the individual must be taking in less calories than the body burns in a day. The deficit size is debatable and up to personal preference, but it is necessary to effectively lose weight while on the DASH diet.
Conclusion: Is The DASH Diet a Good Weight Loss Diet?
Yes and no. As explained above, it doesn’t directly cause weight loss so some minor changes may need to be made. However, the diet does have a sufficient amount of each of the three macronutrients and it puts emphasis on the micronutrients as well. It also supports general healthy and energy, which means anyone on the DASH diet will be in a better position to begin losing weight the right way.
But that poses the question, what is the right way to lose weight?
It is popular opinion, it’s the creation of a caloric deficit without hindering macronutrient intake beyond sustainability. By sustainability, I am referring to the body’s ability to maintain muscle mass, not enter starvation mode, and all that sort. This diet supports all of this, which means it is the perfect baseline to use for a healthy weight loss approach.
This is not one of those fad diets. The DASH diet was created for those with blood pressure regulation problems. It is, however, a healthy diet. So while many will turn the other way as there are no huge weight loss promises, this may be the secret everyone is looking for. Because not only will the weight come off, but it will stay off and the body will feel a lot healthier too.