The Dash Diet: Effective Plan for Weight Loss

Updated on March 23rd, 2020
dash diet for weight loss

DASH diet meaning Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension was created to reduce blood pressure and maintain good heart health. However, over time it has also been accepted as a weight-loss routine that is effective, straightforward and sustainable.

The diet makes you cut down on fattening and sugary food which automatically then combats obesity. The dash diet is tried and tested but it is important to remember it won’t help you shed the extra weight quickly. It is a gradual step by step process which might demand you to make significant lifestyle changes.

If you stick to the diet properly with identifying proper calorie intake it will surely help you reduce weight along with many other health benefits. For the 8th time, US News and World Report(1) have stated the dash diet to be the best diet for maintaining good heart health and losing weight.

Did You Know!

Fat cells exist in all parts of the body except in the eyelids, parts of the esophagus, the groin, and the penis.

What to eat – Dash Diet for Weight Loss

1. Whole grains

Why does this work?

Whole grains have high fiber content as compared to refined grains. They are also low in fat and help fasten the process of weight loss.

How to eat?

You can eat whole grain bread, rice, pasta, cereal, biscuit, etc. For example, use brown rice instead of white rice and whole-wheat pasta instead of the normal one.

How much to eat?

It is okay to consume 6 to 8 servings of whole grain in a day. One serving of whole-grain can be ½ cup of cooked rice/pasta/cereal or 1 slice of bread.

2. Vegetables


Why does this work?

Vegetables are high in nutrients and vitamins and help you cut down the intake of high-calorie meat and poultry products. You can eat the vegetables as side dishes in a salad or as a main dish with rice and noodles.

How to eat?

Eat vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, leafy vegetables, peas, sweet potatoes, etc. Do not eat frozen or canned vegetables as they contain sodium.

How much to eat?

Try to take 4-5 servings of vegetables each day. One serving can include 1 cup of leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, etc. or ½ cup of cooked vegetables.

[Read: Paleo Diet for Weight Loss]

3. Fruits

Why does this work?

Fruits are readily and easily available and need little preparation before eating. Also, they are low in fat content and high in fiber and other nutrients like potassium and magnesium.

How to eat?

Try to get fresh fruits and eat them raw. You can also add them to a salad with some lemon juice and seasoning of oregano or basil. Get fruits with dark and intense colors as they are more nutrient-packed.

How much to eat?

You can eat 4-5 servings of fruits in a day. Remember that some citrus fruits can react with medication. Hence, it is advisable to consult your doctor before if you are taking a medicine course.

4. Dairy products

Dairy products

Why does this work?

Dairy products are a rich source of calcium, vitamin D and protein which keeps the heart healthy and cholesterol in check.

How to eat?

It is important to opt for dairy products that are low in fat or fat-free. These fat-free dairy products are also low in sodium.

How much to eat?

You can take 2-3 servings a day. One serving can typically include 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1 cup of skimmed milk or ½ ounce of low-fat cheese.

[Also Read: Military Diet for Weight Loss ]

5. Meat, fish, and poultry

Why does this work?

They are a rich source of vitamin B, iron, zinc and protein. Fishes like salmon, tuna, and herring are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids which is very beneficial for the heart.

How to eat?

Trim away the skin before eating poultry and meat. They are high in fat content and can defeat the whole purpose of the DASH diet(2). And try to bake and grill them instead of frying.

How much to eat?

You can consume 6 one-ounce servings or less than this in a day. 1-ounce serving can include 1 egg or 1 cup of cooked meat, fish or poultry.

[Read: Best Time to Exercise for Weight Loss]

6. Nuts and seeds

nuts and seeds for better health

Why does this work?

Nuts and seeds keep the heart healthy and blood circulation good due to their richness in protein and other elements like potassium, zinc, etc.

How to eat?

You can eat peanuts, kidney bean, lotus seeds, almonds, cashews, etc. You can eat them directly or add in the salad with other fruits and vegetables.

[Read: Healthy Weight Loss]

How much to eat?

You can eat 4-5 servings of nuts and seeds in a week. One serving will typically include 8-9 pieces of any nut or seed.

Approximately 97% of dieters regain everything they lost and then some within three years.

Measures to Follow the Diet

  • Decide at the start of every week what you are going to eat for the next seven days. Write it down and also make a list of the ingredients you will need and check if they are fitting into your DASH diet routine. Having already decided what to eat you will also feel less tempted to eat anything else which is unhealthy.
  • Do not go shopping when you are hungry. When you are hungry, everything looks tempting and you tend to buy more than you need. Always eat first and then go shopping.
  • Always read the labels when you buy food. This way you will know how it fits into your diet and how many calories it has.
  • Choose the right cookware like nonstick pans while cooking. They reduce the need for oil and butter which is helpful in a DASH diet. You can also use vegetable steamers to make your veggies quickly without losing their nutritional value.

Globally, there are over 1 billion overweight adults


1. What Is a Low Carb Dash Diet?

The low carb DASH diet also concentrates on the consumption of low-fat items to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and to lose weight.

2. How Long Does It Take for the Dash Diet to Work?

A dash diet can lower your blood pressure in less than two weeks. However to see results for your weight loss you might have to wait for 4 weeks when followed strictly.

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