DASH Diet Weight Loss & Maintenance

Research and Information

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Matching the right diet to your health and medical needs is very important and one of the reasons I believe the DASH diet my Doctor prescribed me, was so effective. It was exactly what I needed, at the right time to eliminate, a whole bunch of sickness and pain I was experiencing daily.

The diet not only eliminated my hypertension, but also enabled a 90 pound weight loss, which I have maintained for more than 5 years now.  In total, by continuing to follow the diet, it has enabled me to keep 130 pounds off my body from a highest weight point, of 274 pounds in my late 20’s.

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Good news for gout sufferers! The DASH diet can help prevent flares.  I hope it prevents development of the disease in old age, as I intend to follow the DASH  diet for life.   It makes a lot of sense what is good for keeping blood pressure down is also good for circulation problems, like gout.

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This was an important benefit of DASH diet that I hoped to reap for my own future, by getting my hypertension under control, considering dementia runs heavily in my family.

In addition to DASH diet and weight loss research, in preparation for my own weight loss process, I did a lot of reading about high blood pressure and dementia.  The connection made out there in research between the two diseases is incredibly convincing.  Best to take steps to prevent it, no matter how challenging, to live a long, healthy life with maximum cognitive capacity, for as long as possible.  Never giving up, is all you can ever do.

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I eat at least 30 grams of fibre every day. It helps keep me feeling full and my appetite under control.  Lots of research out there to support this, so instead of juicing, eat the whole fruit and water, leaving all the best stuff, the fibre in it.   There are lots of ways to make simple choices in the moment, that will increase your fibre intake, including choosing whole wheat and other whole grain breads over white.

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dieting-limitsWhen I was losing weight with DASH diet, I put into place the biggest changes I ever made to my diet over my entire lifetime, losing 24 pounds in the first 3 months of that 18 month weight loss process.  It was much harder at the upfront than my previous unsuccessful (long term) go-to weight loss strategies of switching to a paleo/atkins type diet with periods of fasting to lose weight.

I had to learn a whole new way to eat and in the end those big changes stuck like the others never did, ensuing the weight was never regained. I also still weight myself every day or every second day at a minimum.

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New research showing DASH diet lowers the risk of both stroke and hypertension. Of course, stroke risk is related to hypertension and one of the key reasons, in addition to weight loss, I was so keen to follow the diet. I also hoped to reduce my future risk of Alzheimers and dementia, both of which run in my family.

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Fortunately I dislike bacon since I started the DASH diet.  After my taste buds adjusted to the lower sodium intake, foods like bacon became distasteful to me.  We don’t eat any processed meat at home, although my husband has it occasionally when we eat out.  The fact that it doesn’t even taste good anymore, means I don’t feel like I am missing out at all.

I do drink regularly red wine though as part of the MIND diet recommendations, because Alzheimer’s and dementia run heavily in my family.

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gestationalI wish I had known about the DASH diet when I was pregnant so long ago.  My diet was terrible, with salt and sugar cravings that I gave in to on a daily  basis.

I remember having cravings through both of my pregnancies, for both super sweet grape pop and that salty beef dip sauce that comes with a roast beef dip sandwich.  Horrible stuff for someone like me who must follow a low sodium diet.  I was poisoning myself, but didn’t realize it.

The first time I ever developed high blood pressure, was when I was pregnant with my first child when I was 18/19.  The high blood pressure went away when the pregnancy ended, but I was hospitalized 5 days before the birth due to toxemia and high blood pressure. Later in life, I would go on to be fully hypertensive by age 40.  Fortunately I was able to eliminate the hypertension completely, through the DASH diet, weight loss and exercise.

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found-lower-rates-of-heart-attack-stroke-and-death-among-people-with-high-blood-pressureSome great tips for reducing your systolic blood pressure down to the ideal of 120 mm Hg.  I was able to do this without medication through DASH diet and exercise. Given I was previously hypertensive and hypertension runs strong in the women in my family, it may be that as I age I will need to take medication. However, so far DASH diet and exercise have been all I need to keep it under control and below 120.

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food-guide-320I am definitely supportive of a revamp of the guide into something simpler and easier to apply, like the choosemyplate visual, the US has adopted.   The removal of juice from the recommendations is long overdue.

More attention needs to be paid to helping people minimize sodium, sugar and unhealthy, processed foods in their diets, while increasing healthy nutrients like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and of course, way more fibre!  I eat 10 servings of fruit and veggies every day which provides so much good fibre that helps me feel full and satisfied, supporting weight maintenance each and every day.

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