Yesterday, we told you about some of the diets that made U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best diets for weight loss. But the publication also ranked the top overall diets—those that health professionals recommend for people who aren’t eating for a specific health concern—and the DASH Diet took the No. 1 spot on the list. DASH, short for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, emphasizes consuming enough potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber; avoiding obvious calorie and fat bombs; and scaling back on sodium intake.
Why did it nab top honors from U.S. News & World Report? The DASH Diet is pretty easy to follow, can lower your blood pressure, and can help you lose weight—and it carries zero health risks.
Sarah-Jane Bedwell, R.D., author of Schedule Me Skinny: Plan to Lose Weight and Keep it Off in Just 30 Minutes a Week, says DASH is great because it’s consistent with evidenced-based nutrition recommendations. “It focuses on consuming a balanced variety of nutrient-rich foods, including a large amount of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts and legumes, healthy fats, and dairy and grains—which many diets unnecessarily call for cutting out,” she says. Another perk is that it allows for sweets (in moderation, of course), meaning you’re more likely to stick with it for a longer period of time.
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One aspect of DASH that can be a little tricky is keeping your sodium levels in check, especially if you opt for the low-sodium version of the diet: “So many foods have either naturally occurring or added sodium,” says Bedwell. “Personally, I think it is more important to reduce our intake of added salt versus lumping all types of sodium into one category."
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