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DASH your way to weight loss
Are you one of the 92 percent of people who resolved to lose weight in the new year and have already slipped up or quit completely? If so, don’t beat yourself up; you are in good company according to that statistic from the Daily Mail.
Maybe you didn’t have the right food plan, or any plan at all. Knowing what to eat and why can be a crucial element in your goal to lose weight.
The U.S. News and World Report magazine has revealed their Best Diets 2012 rankings this month.
Using a panel of 22 experts in the fields of diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes, and heart disease, they have developed a list of the top 25 eating plans that are currently being used by people all across the country to lose weight. At the coveted Number One spot? The DASH plan.
If you haven’t heard of this particular food plan, it has long been used to help people with hypertension (high blood pressure) get it under control to reduce or eliminate the need for medications.
When followed carefully, this plan has very good results in lowering blood pressure, partly due to the low sodium aspect of the plan as well as the weight loss itself.
The basis of this food plan is lots of fruits and vegetables, whole, unrefined grains, lean proteins and low fat or fat free dairy. Here are some of the key points of the food plan according to the above report:
Fat. You’ll stay within the government’s recommendation that 20 to 35 percent of daily calories come from total fat. As for saturated fat, you’ll stay well below the government’s 10 percent max.
Protein. DASH is within the acceptable range for protein consumption.
Carbohydrates. DASH provides the recommended amount of carbohydrates.
Salt. The majority of Americans eat too much salt. The recommended daily maximum is 2,300 mg., but if you’re 51 or older, African-American, or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, that limit is 1,500 mg. DASH has specific meal plans for both sodium caps.
Other key nutrients. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines call these “nutrients of concern” because many Americans get too little of one or more of them:
Fiber. Getting the recommended daily amount—22 to 34 grams for adults—helps you feel full and promotes good digestion. DASH provides more than enough.
Potassium. A sufficient amount of this important nutrient, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, counters salt’s ability to raise blood pressure, decreases bone loss, and reduces the risk of developing kidney stones.
Calcium. This mineral is essential not only to build and maintain bones but to make blood vessels and muscles function properly. Many Americans don’t get enough. Women and anyone older than 50 should try especially hard to meet the government’s recommendation of 1,000 mg. to 1,300 mg. You shouldn’t have trouble on DASH.
Vitamin B-12. Adults should shoot for 2.4 micrograms of this nutrient, which is critical for proper cell metabolism. DASH provides more than enough.
Vitamin D. Adults who don’t get enough sunlight need to meet the government’s 15 microgram recommendation with food or a supplement to lower the risk of bone fractures. DASH comes up a little short, but choosing a vitamin D fortified cereal can help. Also, just 3 ounces of sockeye salmon, which packs almost 20 micrograms of vitamin D, will satisfy the requirement.
While it may be difficult to give up your favorite fatty, sugary, and salty fare, DASH doesn’t restrict entire food groups, upping your chances of sticking with it long-term.
Check out the website for US News and World Report to see the other ranked diets, and watch this column next week for more about this one.