DASH Diet Named Best Overall Diet, Again

Patricia Didelot

The DASH Diet has been named the best overall diet once again, according to U.S. News and World Report's annual rankings. Another popular weight loss regimen, The Weight Watchers Diet, also won three awards; Best weight loss diet, Best commercial diet plan, and Easiest-to-follow diet.

The awards were announced just in time to help dieters keep their New Year's resolutions to lose a few extra pounds and follow a healthier lifestyle.

Diets were up for several categories, including: Best overall, Best weight loss, Best diabetes, Best heart-healthy, Best for healthy eating, Best commercial, Best plant-based, and Easiest to follow diet.

The DASH Diet has won the award for Best Overall diet four years in a row and focuses on portion sizes and balancing proteins and carbs. This diet not only helps to reduce weight, but it keeps blood pressure and cholesterol at a healthy level.

U.S. News and World Report ranked 32 diets with the help of a panel of experts in diet, nutrition, diabetes, weight loss, and heart health.

But what is the DASH Diet?

For those who are unfamiliar with it, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and is a flexible and balanced eating plan as described on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) website.

In a study conducted by the NHLBI, it was determined that the DASH Diet lowers blood pressure.

The eating plan focuses on the following aspects:

- Is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat.

- Focuses on fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

- Is rich in whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts.

- Contains fewer sweets, added sugars, sugary beverages, and red meats than the typical American diet.

DASH is also lower in sodium or salt than the typical American diet. Research has determined eating 2,300 mg of sodium per day lowers blood pressure, and at 1,500 mg per day, blood pressure is further reduced.

The DASH Diet received 4.1 out of 5 stars from the panel, who liked its overall nutrition, safety, and ability to control or prevent diabetes and help heart health.

This particular eating plan encourages added potassium in the diet, which should come from fruit and vegetables and not supplements.

According to the NHLBI, the DASH DIet can help reduce blood pressure, which is one of the leading causes for coronary heart disease and strokes in the US. However, it is important to consult with a physician before starting any diet plan.