Was the DASH diet one of the big 2008 fads?

Was the DASH diet one of the big 2008 fads?

Summary: DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. My story on it was the 9th most popular item at this blog for 2008.

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DASH DietDASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. My story on it was the 9th most popular item at this blog for 2008.

The key takeaway was that a diet heavy on the veg and light on the milkfat can cut your risk of hypertension as much as 24%.

Those who are unfit in other ways -- smokers and those who are already hypertensive -- benefitted most from the diet.

I found it most interesting that smokers cut their risks more than others, but the fact is that smokers are at enormous risk, so this is just a product of numbers.

If you want to do the DASH Diet just go to the old food pyramid, where you'll see 6-12 servings of grain (half should be whole grain), 4-6 servings each of fruits and veg, and just half that number of servings for meat and sweets.

It's a tribute to self-denial until you recognize the natural sweetness of fruit and of veggies like onions. Then you suddenly realize it's an oriental diet, and until recently most Chinese had a very tough time getting even that much meat.

It's not that the poor eat better, but that some poor, those without access to Western stores, are forced to. It can cost a fortune to eat like this in most American cities, and a big part of our health policy reform should be changing that.

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2 comments
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  • Stress

    Sometimes a diet can have benefits from the fact of following the diet alone.

    People with high blood pressure often also have a great deal of stress. One of the benefits of smoking is stress relief, along with being an effective appetite suppressant, so this is a further hint that stressed people may benefit from the diet.

    Maybe a missing element in the discussion is the use of food for the relief of stress. If the diet has the effect of stopping such psychologically-driven eating, that would be a benefit, without regard to the content of the diet.

    And the careful arrangement of a diet to emphasize foods people do not enjoy as much as other foods would help assure that people eat less. A actual benign side effect from the Eat your veggies crowd, perhaps unintended.
    Anton Philidor
  • RE: Was the DASH diet one of the big 2008 fads?

    The DASH diet is not a fad. It is a healthy way of eating, that was more common many years ago. It is based on a foundation of lots of fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy. Including more of these lower calorie, filling foods in the diet will also help people avoid overdoing high-calorie foods, and make it easier to lose weight. Additional side benefits include lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduced inflammation. Although the original DASH diet research included about 6 servings of grains per day, further research has shown improved benefit for lowering blood pressure by including lower amounts of grains and other starchy foods. Fill up on veggies, include less bread, and smaller portions of rice, pasta, and potatoes.

    Marla Heller
    author of "The DASH Diet Action Plan"
    http://DASHdiet.org
    marlahrd