DASH diet ranks among best for healthy eating in 2020

DASH diet ranks among best for healthy eating in 2020
Recent studies show that blood pressure can be lowered by following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As millions of Americans resolve to make the New Year healthier, a new diet developed in part by LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, has been ranked as a top diet for 2020 by U.S. News and World Report.

“There are a lot of advantages to the DASH Diet. It is one of the best diets for healthy eating and diabetes. It lowers blood pressure naturally. It’s heart-healthy,” said Catherine Champagne, PhD, Professor and Director of Pennington Biomedical’s Dietary Assessment and Nutrition Counseling Laboratory

Others agree. When the U.S. Department of Agriculture drafted its most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the agency patterned those recommendations after the DASH Diet, Champagne said.

Mindset can be just as important as diet itself when working on that New Year's resolution

DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

The DASH Diet encourages eating foods low in sodium, saturated and total fat, and cholesterol and high in potassium, calcium, fiber, magnesium and protein. Dr. Champagne, who hails from south Louisiana, points out that “You can even use Cajun seasonings instead of salt, if you like. There are many that taste good and are salt-free.”

To determine the rankings, U.S. News convened an expert panel of the country’s top nutritionists, dietary consultants and physicians specializing in diabetes, heart health and weight loss. Through an in-depth survey, 25 panelists scored 35 diets in seven areas, including ease of compliance, likelihood of losing significant weight in the short and long term, and effectiveness against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“The fundamentals of sustainable, healthful eating do not change every year, but the ways to get there, the range of variants on that common theme, and the most current evidence all do,” said expert panelist Dr. David L. Katz, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, and President of the True Health Initiative. “By pooling the assessments of diverse experts to bundle all of that essential information into a single, user-friendly, and always eagerly anticipated report, U.S. News is providing a unique and genuinely empowering service."

For further details on how the rankings were calculated, see the methodology.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, funded the research for the DASH Diet.

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