DASH Diet. Fad or fab?

DASH or ‘Dietary approaches to Stop HypeDASHrtension’ is the latest weight loss programme that everybody is talking about. Although it was initially developed to help sufferers of hypertension (high blood pressure) tackle their health problems with their diet, it was quickly discovered that a big bonus of the DASH eating plan was rapid weight loss. There are articles in the media selling the diet as a way to lose a stone / drop a dress size in just three weeks. The big buzz is that the USA heralds this diet as the healthiest around, and many medical associations give their support to it too.

It’s not the first ‘medical’ diet to hit the scene – Rosemary Conley made a name for herself in the eighties with the ‘Eat Yourself Slim’ diet, which she had adapted from the very low fat eating plan her doctors had given her to reduce her gall stones. Rosemary is now a multimillionaire and is testimony to the fact that a medical endorsement is a big help!

So, what’s it all about then?

It seems very similar to the Atkins diet, which is a high protein and low carbohydrate eating regime. However the interesting part is where it differs from Atkins, especially as many people view the Atkins diet as ‘unhealthy’ due to its high fat and low fruit/vegetable content. The DASH diet encourages eating unlimited vegetables (whereas the Atkins diet only allows very limited amounts), and once settled in to the plan you can even treat yourself to 2 portions of fruit, and 3 portions of carbohydrates (grains and starchy vegetables) every day!

Like Atkins, it starts with a two week induction or ‘kick start’ phase. For the first 14 days you should cut out carbohydrates (including fruit due to the high sugar content), make your portions smaller, and eat plenty of lean protein (fish, chicken, egg whites, low fat dairy products) and healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, houmous, nuts and seeds), and lots of non-starchy vegetables.  You’re also allowed some sugar-free treats like sugar-free jelly to give yourself a lift.

After the fortnight is up you can then start to eat carbohydrates (3 portions a day) and fruit (2 portions a day) again, but the dominant components of your diet should still be proteins and healthy fats.

Never heard of it before? We predict that you will be hearing about this diet a lot more from now on. But will the craze stick? Or will it disappear in to the bin with the chocolate bar wrapper in the new year? We shall see.

We at Women Mean Business say eat healthily, drink plenty of water and get that body moving –If following a plan works for you, then great! Let’s all be fit and healthy together! Hooray!

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