Diet Programs

DASH Diet For Weight Loss

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What science says about DASH Diet For Weight Loss

Hypertension (DASH) diet is beneficial for weight loss. This is because the diet encourages the consumption of nutrient-dense foods such as a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and good fats.

It also restricts fat and sugar intake, thus lowering the number of calories a person consumes. The diet replaces these with healthy foods that help people feel full. It also requires people to exercise for at least thirty minutes per day.

Several studies conducted on the DASH diet show that the diet helps people lose weight and lowers their BMI levels, thus lowering their risk of obesity.

However, although the DASH diet is healthy, some experts argue it is not very effective for weight loss as it takes more time to lose weight on the DASH diet than other diets. This is because the diet was specifically designed to lower blood pressure, and the weight loss is the result of the healthy eating program. 

The DASH diet is also hard to follow. It has no dairy-free or vegan options for people who cannot consume dairy products or choose not to eat animal proteins.  Therefore, other experts argue that there are other more effective diets that help with weight loss other than the DASH diet.

Opinion of Supporters of DASH Diet for Weight Loss

Supporters of the DASH diet for weight loss believe that the diet is great for weight loss. This is because it recommends people to consume nutrient-dense foods such as a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and good fats that provide the body with necessary nutrition to remain healthy.

It is also recognized as a healthy eating plan that can be sustained for a lifetime. It is especially beneficial because it limits the consumption of salt, bad fats, and sugary foods. In doing so, it eliminates high-calorie foods and unhealthy foods that may cause unnecessary food cravings.

Several studies indicate that the DASH diet helps people lose weight.

For instance, the study, “Dietary intakes associated with successful weight loss and maintenance during the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial,” shows that people who followed the DASH diet were able to lose weight and maintain it. Thus, this study indicates that “increasing fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy may help achieve weight loss and maintenance.”

Another study the “Association Between Body Composition and Conformity to the Recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet in Peri-adolescence,” showed that children that followed a DASH diet were associated with lower risks of being overweight.


Skeptical view on the benefit of DASH Diet for Weight Loss

Opponents of the DASH diet acknowledge that it is a very healthy diet that can help with weight loss. However, despite it being healthy, the diet does not help people lose weight quickly and efficiently This is because the diet was mainly designed to lower blood pressure, not to help people lose weight.

Cynthia Sass, a registered dietician believes that there are some downsides to the DASH diet for weight loss. She explains, “The plan is lower in healthful fats than I usually recommend, and there aren't obvious options for people who can’t or don’t eat dairy or animal proteins.” Thus, the DASH diet can be restrictive and unsustainable for people allergic to dairy and vegetarians or vegans.

Sass also points out that the DASH diet might not help with weight loss because its carbohydrate servings are generous. She generally recommends that people who want to lose weight should consume more non-starchy vegetables and fewer carbohydrates than the DASH diet calls for.

Plus, Willow Jarosh, a registered dietician specializing in intuitive eating, argues that “the DASH diet is an eating plan developed to reduce blood pressure...However, if they are packaged as a weight loss plan, negative consequences of dieting may apply.” For example, people’s metabolism might slow down, or they might gain the weight they lost very quickly.

Other dieticians also believe that there are many other diets that are specifically tailored for weight loss. These diets advise eating fewer carbohydrates and more protein than the DASH diet typically recommends. Hence, other diets might offer quicker and better results than the DASH diet does.

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