There are many quick fixes available in the market these days and usually they are labeled as the best diet to lose weight. These diets will help you in the short term; they my even help you lose a few pounds quickly but once you are off the diet, you regain the lost weight as quickly as you lost it. Sustainable weight loss requires lifelong changes in eating habits and you actually have to redefine how you eat and react to food.
One of the diets worth mentioning in this respect is the Dash Diet. Being a Nutritionist, I’ve recommended this diet to many people; different age groups, different weight problems and it seems to be an excellent diet for sustainable weight loss and general health.
DASH diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, has the following salient features. By following it you:
- Eat more vegetables, fruits and dairy products.
- Eat less red meat and almost no sweets.
- Eat more whole grain products.
- Eat more fish and poultry.
- Eat more nuts.
- Eat more foods rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium.
The main of the diet is lower high blood pressure which is accredited as the root of all major health problems faced by the people these days. To do so, one important component is sodium which is restricted in this diet. You can only consume 1500 mg ( 3 teaspoon) of Sodium each day while you are on this diet.
One good feature of this diet is that it is very forgiving. You have many options to choose from and almost all of these options are extremely healthy. You can even convert your daily diet into Dash diet by doing the following:
- Have an additional serving of vegetables at dinner and lunch.
- Drink low-fat/ skim dairy products thrice a day.
- Use only half the Slad dressing, margarine, butter used . Go with fat-free
- Add whole grain like rice, pasta instead of processed foods.
- Typical packaged snacks are prohibited. Go with fruits or nuts instead.
- Snack on fruit instead of junk food.
- Daily allowance of meat is 6 ounces. Go with vegetables.
- Always read food labels. Choose products lower in Sodium.
If you study closely, the above mentioned pointers aren’t very hard to follow. There are numerous options to choose from and there is flexibility in the diet. Such a diet can be continued as a permanent healthy diet! This is how the DASH diet explains servings that can be taken daily, of each food group.
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 3 Servings, daily.
- Grains: 7 Servings, daily.
- Vegetables: 5 Servings, daily.
- Nuts, beans etc: 5 servings per week
- Fats and oils: 3 Servings, daily. May take less.
- Sweets: Do not exceed 5 servings per week. Ideally, sweets should be avoided altogether.
- Fruits: 5 Servings, daily.
- Meat, poultry and fish: 2 Servings, daily. May take less.
People often confuse ‘How much is one serving’. Here’s a chart to guide you in detail what is mean by a serving when you are on the DASH diet.
DASH diet may not be regarded as a diet plan after all. This is actually how humans should eat! The details of the diet and its suggestions can be found over the internet and in the various books written on this diet. Considering its approval my almost all of medical community, the DASH diet can be accredited as the best diet to lose weight.