D.A.S.H. Diet Emphasizes Taste and Health

There are many reasons why individuals have a hard time losing weight, but two factors top the list: poor eating habits and lack of exercise.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every three Americans is overweight. Another third of Americans are obese.

Kentucky joins 14 other states with an obesity rate of more than 30%.

Obesity is a contributing factor to five of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

The chance of acquiring Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol is significantly reduced when people lose as little as 5% of their weight.

Additionally, losing weight can make a person look better and, more importantly, feel better.

Losing weight also can boost a person’s confidence about becoming more physically active in the future.

In short, losing weight has many long term advantages.

While there are many diets out there, the one that I recommend to many of my patients is called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or D.A.S.H., diet.

I prefer the D.A.S.H. diet over others because it includes an eating plan that is simple to understand and includes foods that are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat.

Still, these foods are delicious and accessible.

The diet emphasizes meals made up of fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.

It also includes whole grain products, fish, poultry and nuts.

The D.A.S.H. diet is rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as protein and fiber.

It features a reduced intake of lean red meat, sweets, added sugars and drinks that contain sugar.

The diet also limits sodium intake to either 2,300 or 1,500 milligrams per day. Lower sodium can contribute to lower blood pressure.

The diet helps lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which, along with lowering blood pressure, can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Following the D.A.S.H. diet while increasing exercise helps individuals lose and/or manage their weight.

When you are ready to commit to a weight loss or a weight management program, it is always important to visit your medical provider first.

He or she will be able to help you get started and guide you along the way.