The DASH diet has become hugely popular in the U.S., especially with the holidays approaching. It promises to help you lose one dress size before Christmas, which sounds too good to be true. But it seems this is not just another fad designed to lure people who are desperate to lose weight for the holidays.
DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It was originally developed to reduce high blood pressure, and it is endorsed by the American Heart Association. Basically, it is a diet that relies on lean proteins and healthy fats to create health benefits and weight loss. It’s very simple, consisting only of two phases.
The Two Phases of the DASH Diet
Phase One should last two weeks, and its purpose is to reset your metabolism by reducing carbohydrates. In this phase, you will see very rapid weight loss because it involves cutting most carbs such as fruits, starchy vegetables, and grains.
So what will you eat? Protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry and fish accompanied by nuts, beans, or lentils (in moderate amounts).
Phase Two allows you to go back to whole grains and fruit. You can go back to eating carbs, though in limited amounts, and continue eating lean protein and healthy fats to maintain optimal health. Phase two, if you so choose, can go on indefinitely, becoming a constant healthy lifestyle.
The creator of the DASH Diet, Marla Heller, says that it was not originally intended to be a rapid weight-loss program, and so super-quick weight loss is not guaranteed. Dieters have been known to lose about 5 lb in phase one and about 10-35 pounds in the next two months. Heller is not promising any miracles in terms of weight loss, but the health benefits are tangible:
“The diet promises not only to help you lose weight — in particular around your stomach area — but has been proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and developing diabetes,” reports Mandy Francis of the Daily Mail.
So whether you lose just a little or a lot of weight, the DASH definitely sounds like a healthy diet.