Sandi Kaplan, MS, RD, Director, Clinical Development & Support
Youve seen your employees on the diet rollercoaster; you know how it goes they try a new diet, lose weight, and fall off the diet, only to regain the weight. It is a frustrating and discouraging process that leads many people to give up on weight loss altogether. Your organization may offer a weight management program, but with all the quick fix diets out there, it can be hard to tell whether the nutritional plan the program offers will actually effect change and be sustainable for the long haul.
We were certainly not surprised to hear that the DASH Diet had been named the best overall diet by U.S. News & World Report for the third year in a row.
Each year, the publication asks experts to rank more than 25 diet plans to help consumers make informed decisions about nutrition. Diets that are top rated are nutritious, safe, and effective for weight loss, diabetes, and heart disease and are also relatively easy to follow. Those criteria certainly describe the DASH diet; that is why we use a Healthy Eating Plan based on the DASH diet for our online and phone-based weight management programs.
Background of the DASH Diet
DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was originally developed by the National Institutes of Health for people with high blood pressure. However, the research on DASH has shown that it is effective not only in reducing blood pressure but also in lowering cholesterol and reducing risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. DASH has a lot of scientific evidence behind it and is truly a safe and effective way to lose weight and improve ones overall health.
5 Reasons Your Weight Loss Program Needs a Nutritional Plan like DASH
- No food group is eliminated. So many diets eliminate one or more entire food groups and thus are not sustainable for most people.
- Treats are allowed in moderation. There is a category called discretionary calories which allows for some treats like candy, cookies or wine. Many of our Weight Talk® participants are able to maintain their weight loss long-term because they do not feel deprived. Feelings of deprivation can be a quick road to weight regain.
- Fruits and vegetables are a primary part of the DASH plan. We like to help our participants work on getting more healthy foods in their diet versus just focusing on foods they are avoiding. When you are working on getting fruit and veggies into every meal and snack, you find you may not have much space on your plate (or in your stomach) for unhealthy options. Try it you may be pleasantly surprised!
- You eat real food no special shakes, bars or meals. Just normal food like everyone around you is eating.
- There are no rigid rules to follow. There are very sensible guidelines that can be individualized as needed. That means you can easily follow DASH principles while you are eating out, traveling or at a social event.
DASH is based on sensible principles like eating more fruit and vegetables, eating less processed food and boosting fiber intake by focusing on choices like whole grains and legumes. It encourages several nonfat or low fat dairy servings per day and fats that are included are heart healthy (like olives or avocadoes). Meat is used as more of a condiment than the central part of a dish. In short, the DASH diet supports a common-sense approach to nutrition, and if your employees are following a similar meal plan, theyll have a much easier time sticking with it for the long haul.
Want to learn more about the DASH diet? Download our free white paper to see more evidence supporting the importance of gradual vs. rapid weight loss.