DASH Eating Plan

Weight Loss and the DASH Eating Plan

The DASH eating plan was not designed to promote weight loss, but it is rich in lower-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables. You can make it lower in calories by replacing higher-calorie foods with more fruits and vegetables --and that also will make it easier for you to reach your goals.

Study Results

People with high blood pressure who adhered to the DASH eating plan at the lowest sodium level had an average systolic blood pressure reading 11.5 mmHg lower than participants eating the control diet at the highest sodium level. The corresponding number for participants who did not have high blood pressure was a 7.1-mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure.
Analysis showed that the DASH eating plan and reduced sodium intake reduced blood pressure for all the population subgroups studied. The following list shows the average blood pressure reduction for key subgroups:
  • For those with hypertension: 12/6 mmHg (systolic/diastolic); for those without hypertension, 7/4 mmHg
  • For those over age 45, 12/6 mmHg; for those 45 or younger, 6/3 mmHg
  • For women, 11/5 mmHg; for men, 7/4 mmHg
  • For African Americans, 10/5 mmHg; for non-African Americans, 8/4 mmHg.
Other results include:
  • Compared with the typical American diet, the DASH diet alone (at the higher sodium level) reduced blood pressure by about 6/3 mmHg for African Americans and by 6/2 mmHg for other races.
  • For those with hypertension, reductions from the DASH diet alone were 7/3 mmHg; for those without hypertension, the reductions were 5/3 mmHg.
  • The effects of sodium reduction appeared in all subgroups and were greater for those who ate the typical American diet, compared with those on the DASH eating plan. The effects from sodium reduction were particularly great for those with hypertension, African Americans, women, and those over age 45. Sodium reduction in those eating the control diet resulted in lower systolic and diastolic pressures by 8.3 mmHg and 4.4 mmHg, respectively, in people with high blood pressure and by 5.4 and 2.8 mmHg, respectively, in people without hypertension.
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