The DASH Diet Isn't So Special -- It's Just Common Sense!

SaladA diet by any other name might still be as hard to stick to, but would it be as popular? In case you haven't heard, the DASH Diet has just captured the first-place honors (for the second year in a row) in U.S. News and World Report's ranking of the best overall diets. To make the list, the editors note, a diet had to be "relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, and effective for weight loss and against diabetes and heart disease."

Sounds good. And DASH, which also ranked atop the magazine's best diets for healthy eating and best diabetes diets lists, sure has a snappy name. But ... um ... what is it?


Well, it turns out that the DASH diet isn't actually designed for weight-loss, but it still ranked #9 in U.S. News's list of best weight-loss diets. (Weight Watchers topped that list.) DASH was actually designed to combat hypertension (a.k.a. high blood pressure). Its name is an acronym. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Yeah, well, that's certainly not quite as sexy a moniker.

But anyhow the diet itself is sort of DIY (just to throw around another acronym -- FYI, LOL). "Nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber are crucial to fending off or fighting high blood pressure," the U.S. News editors explain. "You don’t have to track each one, though. Just emphasize the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy), while shunning those we’ve grown to love (calorie- and fat-laden sweets and red meat). Top it all off by cutting back on salt, and voilà!"

That sound pretty simple -- and not too hard to follow -- which is I guess why DASH earned such high marks from the ranking's panel of experts. And if you trim off a few calories, you're very likely to trim some extra weight, too, with relative ease, the experts concluded, deeming DASH to be "about as good for short-term weight loss as for long-term weight loss."

I guess the creators of the DASH diet could have called it the "Eat Healthy and You'll Probably Lose Weight" diet, but somehow EHAYPLW just doesn't have the same ring.

Will you try the DASH diet?


Image via jem/Flickr

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