The Greatest Diet You’ve Never Heard Of

[Read this article and then comment below to be entered to win one of 3 copies of FOF Marla Heller’s best-selling book, The Dash Diet Action Plan (Grand Central Publishing, 2011)]

This fall, US News and World Report released its annual “Best Diets” issue, ranking the top 25 consumer diets for overall health and weight loss–as rated by an independent panel of health experts. It included the usual suspects: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, The Zone…even Slim Fast made the cut. The number one ranked diet was The Dash Diet . . .

. . . Wait. What?!

.
Yeah, we’d never heard of it either. What is this US-News-beloved formula, and why isn’t it advertised everywhere like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig?

For answers, we turned to FOF Marla Heller, 62, a registered dietitian and the author of The Dash Diet Action Plan, the New York Times best-seller about the diet.

Marla explained the diet originated from a government funded study in the 1990s: “The original study, titled Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), was intended to take the best components of a vegetarian diet–a diet known to lower blood pressure–and make it doable for most meat-eating Americans,” says Marla. To do this, researchers compared three diets: (1) the typical American diet, (2) the typical American diet with extra fruits and vegetables, and (3) the typical American diet with extra fruits and vegetables and extra low-fat dairy.

They found that the third option was the winner–it lowered blood pressure in as little as 14 days. Subsequent studies showed that the diet also supported weight loss as well as a reduced incidence of breast cancer, diabetes, colorectal cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

US News and World Report said it’s the best diet for a lot of reasons,” says Marla. “But I think the key is that the goal isn’t just weight loss; it’s health. When you get to your goal weight, you’re going to be healthier.” In fact, a look at the US News article confirms that the diet received average scores when it came to weight loss and long-term weight loss, but outstanding scores when it came to nutrition, safety and heart health.

What are the rules?
“The key to DASH is getting more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy,” says Marla. Sounds simple enough, but consider that the average American gets just three servings of fruits and vegetables each day, while the DASH diet calls for 4-5 servings of fruit and 4-5 servings of vegetables daily. “The focus of my book is meal plans that show you how to work multiple fruits and vegetables into every meal,” says Marla. “They’re bulky; they fill you up. Once you pair those with the recommended portions of lean proteins (5-7oz. a day), low fat dairy (3-5 servings a day), beans, nuts and seeds, you really don’t have room for much else.”

Marla insists that the focus is on adding foods, not eliminating. “Have a turkey sandwich,” she says. “But load it with as many vegetables as possible–cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, peppers….” And in fact, a typical day’s DASH menu, at 2,000, calories looks like a decadent feast.

—————————————————————————————————

A typical day on the Dash Diet:

[portfolio_slideshow]

—————————————————————————————————

The tricky part is that this “typical day” is designed to lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health–not necessarily to help you lose weight. If your goal is weight loss, and you’re an FOF woman, you’ll likely need to opt for a more restricted calorie intake of 1200-1600 calories a day. Marla outlines DASH Diet meal plans at these calorie counts as well, and she insists that the premise remains the same: “We help you figure out what your calorie level should be and how many servings of the key foods you need to get into your day. By the time you’ve gotten all those servings in, you’ve used up your calories, and you’re full. You don’t have time or desire for the junk food.”

So, will I lose weight?
“Yes,” insists Christine Ambrose, 44, who has lost 90 pounds since starting the diet in 2010. At 5’4”, Christine was about 233 pounds when she started the diet at the suggestion of her physician. “My blood pressure was very high. He offered me two options–weight loss surgery or DASH.” Christine started out on a non-restrictive calorie plan and saw her blood pressure go down significantly, but it wasn’t until she cut down to 1500 calories/day that she began to see the weight drop off. She currently weighs 143. “It gave me structure,” Christine explains. “I knew how much I could eat–I focused on eating lots of fruits and vegetables and never going over my sodium limits.” [Note from Marla: “Sodium restriction is not a part of the standard DASH diet, but it is recommended by many doctors who are treating patients with high blood pressure.”] The best part, says Christine, is the improved health. “My skin and hair is better. I look younger. My resting heart rate is 45! That’s a good number for an athlete–a marathon runner!”

Why have so few people heard of it?
“It’s less sexy than a lot of diets out there,” Marla admits. There’s no clever marketing hook for DASH (No carbs! No wheat! Eat cookies and lose weight!) since it’s basically about eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats. In fact, there’s no real marketing at all. Once the DASH research was published in the late 90s, the NIH released some educational materials exclusively to physicians and dietitians, “but my patients couldn’t understand any of the information,” Marla explains. “My academic advisor was on the committee that studied the diet, so I understood how great it was. I thought, I have to find a way to explain this so people can actually use it.”

In 2000, Marla began work on her own book as a way to explain the diet to her private clients. She self-published in 2005, but it wasn’t until this past summer that she was approached by an agent and publisher interested in republishing the book. Since then, the diet appeared as number one in US News and Marla’s book hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Who would do best on this diet?

According to Marla, the DASH Diet “is  for everyone. It doesn’t restrict any one type of food, and we accommodate for sensitivities to dairy and gluten.” Still, when we searched for women over fifty who had tried and lost weight on the diet, we couldn’t find anyone–despite posting on the DASH Diet Facebook page.

So what do you think…Would you try this diet?  Have you tried it?  Tell us below and you’re automatically entered to win a copy of Marla’s best-selling book, The Dash Diet Action Plan. 3 women will win!

Three FOFs will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes February 16, 2012 at midnight E.S.T.

  • Linda Johnson

    I NEED this diet, this is certainly one that I could see myself sticking with, as I do love my fruits and veggies!

  • Alice

    I would love to try this diet. I am in my early 50’s & it seems harder & harder to maintain a healthy weight. I love fruits & vegetables but need to learn how to incorporate them into mine & my husbands daily diet in the right proportions. Our weight is not to bad but I would like us to eat healthier. I’m not able to exercise much due to health issues. Wonder if this Dash Diet would work without exercising?

  • Mary Catherine

    I would most definitely try the DASH diet…it sounds wonderful since the focus is health yet by staying under ~1500 calories weight loss happens. Good health is my primary goal…weight loss is also important to me. This sounds like a delicious solution.

  • kellykat

    I’d love to read more about this . I’m basically a vegetarian (not vegan). I eat lots of fruits,vegetables & grains. I do eat eggs,cheese (a lot), fish& shellfish. Nuts & chocolate are too big a part of what I love to eat. This book does sound interesting !

  • Gerry V

    I used to be a REgistered Nurse and I remember this diet for people who had high blood pressure and it does look yummy, I have just began my journey of loosing weight and would like to try this healthy “diet” , not really a diet more like a “change of life” meal planner

  • Danielle Jackson

    Honestly, I’d like to try it. Everything looks so yummy!

  • Joan

    I haven’t tried it yet but am willing to do so! I have tried everything else short of gastric bypass. Which I am not a candidate because I do not have all the risk factors, just overweight and a sluggish thyroid. Ugh.

  • Katie

    I would LOVE a copy of the DASH diet book!!! I am a nutritionist, my husband has high blood pressure and some arrhythmias so he’s at risk for blood clots/stroke-but he’s done a fantastic job managing it will diet, exercise and supplements so his cardiologist has not needed to put him on any medications yet. Having the DASH Diet book would help us continue his good health. Additionally, we have a 5 year old son with congenital heart disease, he’s had 2 open heart surgeries and is our resilient warrior. Being able to teach him heart health at a young age and throughout his lifetime would be so beneficial. BTW, did you know its Congenital Heart Defect awareness week!
    Take care of your heart,
    Katie

  • amanda griffin

    i would love, love, love a copy of this book. i went to my dr. 2 weeks ago to get my blood sugar tested (diabetes runs in my family) and found out that my blood pressure has been high over the last two years. She recommended the Dash Diet. Everything ive read online sounds promising, and i cant seem to find the book around here (trust me ive looked). Heart disease also runs in the family, my father has had two major heart attacks and his mom died from a heart attack. Im trying to take the right steps to be more healthy.

  • Becky

    I have heard so many great stories about Dash Diet. I myself was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes type 2. I am willing to get into some sort of diet just because im too young and I need to change my lifestyle around before its to late. Would love to have one copy of the book to get started.

  • Christine Ambrose

    I wanted to note that my Doctor gave me the two options, weight loss surgery or trying DASH, after I refused medication for my high blood pressure.

    If anyone is interested in seeing the video my husband of my weight loss journey it can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbCM2KLZMkU

  • Gayle

    My doctor told me about the DASH Diet several years ago. Absolutely best health plan ever!!

  • Melicent Lester

    I am looking at this as an eating plan for my whole family. My husband has high blood pressure and diabetes, so we need sensible eating ideas for him. However, as a family, we need to lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating. The DASH diet seems to be a practical and sustainable way to alter our eating habits.

  • Lynda Stewart

    I started the DASH diet a month ago. I have lost 5 pounds and my BP has dropped over 10 points on both the top and bottom numbers. Now that I have more energy I have started walking too. I am hopeful that I can soon go off my BP meds.

  • Shelbie Wilkinson

    I would love to try this. My health is very important to me and is gradually declining. Also have son who is morbidly obese and worry constantly about him. I need something to help start both of us on a healthy eating plan.

  • Colleen O.

    I too would love to try the DASH diet plan!! I would like to get off my blood pressure medicine …

  • shootingstar

    I could loose 90 lbs ……………sounds like something I would be interested in – anything at this point …….. argh
    struggling

  • Michelle

    I did the original DASH years ago and loved it. Lowered my blood pressure, lost 40 pounds and felt great. I love fresh fruits and veggies.
    My life style changed, I had other health issues and got off the program.
    I turned 50 in December and was married and would love to get started on living a long happy life.
    Thanks DASH for a very successful program!
    Michelle

  • Kathy Miller

    I would be willing to try the Dash diet, sounds sensible and something that is more of lifestyle change then a diet.

  • Myrtis Bethley

    I been hearing about the Dash Diet but I have not tried it I am very interested in the Diets I have highblood Pressure and 20% blockage I will be 51 years old on March 2nd, I am over weight and I am trying to get everything in control…

  • Renee

    Yes, I’d love to try this. There’s a waiting list at my local library, but winning a copy would be even better! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Pearl Gary

    My husband (age 52) and I (age 54) are finishing up our 5th week on this Plan. We’ve both lost over 10 lbs and are definitely happy with the results. I have to admit, I had to do a lot of planning in the beginning to make sure we were taking in all the recommended servings of each food group, AND keeping under the calorie limits we had set for ourselves (me-1,200 calories/him-2,000 calories). But, with time, it’s becoming more intuitive and I’m more confident in my meal planning now. One bonus, not cooking high calorie meals at night has given us extra time in the evenings and we’re both happy to not be spending so much time in the kitchen. Life is actually easier with eating a lot of fresh foods. To this day, neither one of us has felt deprived of anything and we’re feeling healthier and happy with the progress we’ve made! Here’s to the next 10 lbs!

  • Ruthie B

    I have tried them all…yes I lose & then slowly the weight creeps right back up. I would love to try this & see if I can finally find something I can live with!

  • Janet

    I would try the diet. I’ve tried everything else. I need simple and easy.

  • Robin McGann

    I’d give it a go. I know what’s healthy but I need structure – how much IS a serving of this, that, or the other? How can I lose weight and still have energy (I had no energy on Weight Watchers and felt hungry all the time). I’ve done severely restrictive diets before and they work for a time, but I need to find a way to live my life without starving.

  • Hazel Love

    I would like this. I could benefit from the DASH Diet. Yummy, Yummy, let’s eat!

  • Kathy P.

    Easy to say, but hard to do with a husband who thinks he should be able to eat anything that somebody in the house doesn’t cook.

  • Leslie

    I would like to try it. I am a Type 1 diabetic since I was a teenager and easily put on weight because of the insulin. I would like to lose 35 lbs. still and so far dieting and exercise has not made much of a difference. I have a hard time losing weight.

  • Ellen De Domenico

    This is exactly how I try to eat, but having a book to work with will be wonderful. I put on a lot of weight in the past year and MUST get it off, for health reasons, budget (beautiful clothes going to waste) and vanity! I’d love a copy of this book.

  • fabredhead

    Yes, I would love to try it. It sounds like a plan for a lifetime and not just a way to lose weight.

  • Elizabeth Savoy

    I have been on the Atkins diet for 8 months and have lost 40 pounds. I miss fruit on the Atkins diet. I would like to lose 20 more to reach what I consider my ideal weight. I will be 60 next Thursday and would love to be fabulous at 61 and eat more fruits and vegetables.

  • colleen gilgenbach

    I would love to try it. The turkey sandwich description was so helpful. Dah! I am always thinking I should eat more salads because I need more veggies but they are so boring! What a simple idea to load up a sandwich but yet never occured to me. DAH! Give me more!

  • Karen Cunningham

    I would try this diet immediately since I do have high blood pressure and like fruits and veggies anyway.

  • Darla

    I’d like to read the book. I think I’m on the way to this plan but not quite there. The older I get the harder it is to lose weight but my focus is increased health.

    Darla

  • Robbin Wilson

    I would love to try a new way to lose weight! I’m stuck at one weight and haven’t reached my goal…..I need a change!

  • Wanda Stolzer

    I would get it an sincere honest effort in getting my weight off!

  • rita sewell

    I have recently been put on HBP meds. I really hate the way they make me feel. This would be great to try and maybe get oof the meds.

  • Deorah England

    This sounds like a incredible healthy diet for lots of ailments. We could all benefit from this regime I am sure. Want to know more…

  • Mary K.

    I have never heard of this book but on my own I have already been on this type of diet and I’ve lost weight, lowered my blood pressure and my pulse rate (resting). I track my net carbs, eat more fiber (veg and fruit), hardly any red meat, watch the sodium intake, hardly any sugary desserts, and try to eat whole foods and try to get rid of eating processed foods. I have cut out eating crackers and cookies. My goal was to fit better in a smaller sized jeans and I’ve done that. BTW I love the Vera Wang jeans sold at Kohl’s!
    I would love to win this book bc it will keep me on track to fit into an even smaller sized jeans!!

  • WendyVH

    Definitely would try it…it makes so much sense on so many levels.

  • Susan

    I haven’t heard of this but would really like to have the book to guide me. Since my husband has hypertension it would benefit him as well.

  • Beth Surdut

    Looks like a normally healthy lifestyle approach to eating…with ways to pay attention to how food affects the body.

  • Roxie

    I have not tried this diet. I would love to have this book, as I am trying to learn everything I can about nutrition, weight loss, maintenance and an overall healthier life style. Heart disease runs rampant in my family and I want to make sure I have control over my health.

  • Barbara Witt

    I’m willing to try this diet. Mainly because of my blood pressure although I would like to lose about 10 pounds. I try to eat healthy and I’m mostly successful, but this diet looks fantastic.

  • debbiehoskins

    I could use this book because my husband has high blood pressure. The medications prescribed by his cardiologist have had side effects that are difficult for him to live with. Specific dietary changes need to happen, so this would be helpful.

  • Teresa Woolson

    I would love this book! I would try this diet for sure!

  • gwen

    I would definitely try a reduced calorie version of this to lose weight. I’m encouraged by the younger woman mentioned in the article, as I’m her height and just over her starting weight. I honestly can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose 90 pounds, but this sounds realistic enough to try.

  • karen strasser

    I can’t wait to try it!

  • Corinne A

    I would love to try the Dash Diet! Sounds sensible, but I need fast too.

  • mspurplelady11

    I have never heard of this diet but I am willing to try new diets to improve my health.

  • Catherine

    Two years ago, my company offered free “Know Your Numbers” testing. After a simple finger prick blood sample, I learned I had high cholesterol and was pre-diabetic. My doctor recommended the DASH diet for me, but I just could not get my blood sugar down. I didn’t want to go on additional medications so I went full-blown no carbs. The weight came off and the blood sugar came down. However, if I could eat fruits and veggies and still keep my blood sugar and weight down to the levels I’m at now (down 50 pounds) I would certainly give it another shot. I haven’t weighed this little in so long– it feels great. I have veggies and fruits occasionally, but I love them so much I really miss them. After consuming a lot of protein, my body still desires sweets once in awhile.

  • Janet Atchley

    I’m going to give the DASH diet a try. I know what to do and how to do it, but just don’t take the time to think ahead far enough to plan a healthy meal. It’s just much easier to grab a bag of chips or even a piece of ham/cheese and roll them up and eat them as I run out the door. But, I also know I truly need to do something to get back on the right track.

  • Maria Holzman

    I would love to try the DASH diet. I lost 25 pounds on Weight Watchers and have hit a wall, and the weight is starting to creep up again. I desperately need something new that I can stick with. And I know I need more fruits and veggies! Thanks

  • ktpotat

    I’d love to try this.I need to eat healthier and lose some weight.

  • Georgia

    I would like to win Martha’s book because I have started losing weight with First Line Therapy — but in viewing the text above and also the slide show — this plan makes the most sense to me… It incorporates everything very nicely. I have lost 30 pounds in 4 months. I was 240, now down at about 210-212…but I seem to be at a plateau — and would really like (and need to) get down to at least 140-150.
    I like that the Dash Diet (in the slide show) gives a few options for some small treats — strawberry jam, 2 choc. chip cookies — and everything looks so appealing…

    Please help me lose the rest of my weight — I would love a copy of your book…

  • Susan

    Definitely want to try this……….sounds sensible. Although I don’t have hypertension, I am diabetic and having trouble controlling my glucose through diet. This sounds like a good approach………

  • bclaxton

    Yes, I would try it A lot of vegetables do not agree with me so I need to read the book to see what is doable.

  • HollyRoses

    I would love to read more about this diet. I am at the point the doctor wants to do surgery, but I would love to lose these 75 pounds without surgery.

  • CB

    Not too familiar with this diet; so would love to find out more and give it a try 🙂

  • LadyM

    I’ve heard of the diet and would be interested in trying it- definitely need to eat more fruits and veggies on a daily basis.

  • Linda

    No, I haven’t tried it – or even heard of it until now – but I’ve tried just about every other diet out there. I’d give it a try…

  • Brenda Blocker

    I have been researching this diet for the last month to help with my blood pressure and weight. Everything I have read makes it sound really good. I guess it’s time for me to get serious about doing it.

  • Sandy Kay

    I’d like to try this because I really need to get more fruits and vegetables into my diet.

  • Kathleen

    YES, I would try it, mainly for the health benefts although weight loss would be an added bonus! Our son is being married in late 2012 so a little weight loss would be wonderful along with good health and stress control.

  • Cathy

    Think I’ve tried just about all diets, more interested in healthy eating at this point of my life. Would love to participate.

  • Donna Simms

    Just found out that I have high blood pressure. Sounds like this diet is made for me. I will give it a try.

  • Gypsy

    WOW this sounds like a great way to be healthier!

  • Chris Dowling

    I think I already know this diet: it’s just common sense. But I will, of course, choose to ignore it!

  • Donna Simms

    Just found out that I have high blood pressure. Sounds like this diet is made for me. I will give it a try. Is it possible to get off medication?

  • Toba

    Basically, it’s sounds like the food plan I am currently following, only more. I’m curious to see if there are new and unusual foods recommended which I haven’t tried yet. I would definitely be willing to try this new food program.

  • Donna Gordon

    I would love to try this diet. Both my husband and I have been trying to diet and exercise. We have tried ALL the diets and nothing seems to work. He has high blood pressure so I definatley would love to use something that has been proven to work.

  • erica

    I would certainly try this diet! I need structure and was successful on Weight Watchers but didn’t like all the fake (i.e. chemical) ingredients in a lot of the WW products and have –badly–fallen off the wagon and regained much too much weight. My blood pressure is fine but there are other issues that weigh heavily (ha-ha) on the side of losing…

  • Cheryl

    I would love,,no,,,need this!!! I’ve tried Weight Watchers,,,but to be honest,,I really hated having to go and “weigh in” and listen to a ” boring speaker”.

    I have very high blood pressure,,and I would give my eye teeth,(yes I still have my own!) to get it lowered and get off of some of the meds I have to take for it,,and I need to lose weight also,,,since over 50,,,the weight has decide to set up camp in my midsection,ugh!!

    I always thought that I ate healthy,,,but when I had to have a stent placed in my heart almost 3 months ago,,I realized then that I really need to make a geniune and concerted effort to eat fresher food,,and more fruits and such. Also,,I’m not a huge meat eater and I would love some great recipes that are vegetarian,,filling,,,low carb and low fat but have the needed protein to stay healthy.

    Yup,,,,,I want to win this book!!!

  • beth w

    I am signed up for Weight Watchers online now…I love the fact that fruits and vegetables are zero points now! I would love to read the Dash book! I would try the diet!

  • Karen Moore

    I would really love to win a copy of this book. Just went to my dr yesterday and he is very worried about my B/P and I need to change my eating habits and start moving! The book would be a wonderful way to start my new eating plan!!!

  • Tricia

    I will try this diet.
    I have high blood pressure & of course am overweight.
    I do workout 3 x’s a week for an hour and on the other days I do what I can, but it just is not enough.
    weight watchers and other popular methods of monitored dieting are too expensive for me.
    I know I can do it (lose weight & fat) if I just have the correct guidelines and make time for more physical exercise.
    I would be greatful for a copy of this book to show me the way.

  • Beverly Fedorko

    Please oh please let me win this….I am battling to lose weight after quitting smoking 10 months ago – and approaching my 60th birthday-I am an unstructured eater because of my work schedule and I really could use what appears to be a simpler no nonsense and gimmicks way to eat healthier and lose weight…..I’m 5’3″ and weigh almost 180 lbs….not so good!!

  • linda

    I have never heard of this diet but sounds like something I would love and that could really work for me.

  • LucyB

    Love fruits and veggies. Would definitely try it!

  • Kimm

    I have heard of this – isn’t this very similar to the DASH diet that Dean Ornish promoted years ago? Very reasonable and sensible. The only problem is that we all want to lose weight FAST and this doesn’t do it – although it’s great for long term goals. For me to lose weight consistently I need to eat under 1200 calories a day unless I’m getting a minimum of 1 hr of aerobic exercise every day…I wish 🙂

  • Susan Chester

    This diet sounds perfect. I am going to give it a try!

  • Susan

    I must admit that I had never heard of this diet until I read the article. The plan sounds sensible and doable with the focus on health not deprivation. Would love to read the book and learn more.

  • Charli

    This sounds like a great plan. I have trouble with raw veggies but I am sure it can be modified with steaming. I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Fibromoglia, Reynaud’s, arthritis and the list goes on and on. I would love help managing all this! 🙂

  • Cheryl

    I would love to learn more about this diet. I have gained almost 40 bls since going through menopause and not teaching aerobics. I am totally disgusted with myself. Have tried cutting back, no carbs, etc. Nothing seems to have any lasting effect! I need HELP!

  • Fab55

    Oh, my LORD ALMIGHTY!! finally, finally, finally…someone who understands normal human beings and their need for normal food. I could so follow this for the rest of my life!!
    I would love to learn her take on all the extras I add to my diet…coconut oil, flax…etc…how necessary is this when you have a nice, balanced diet like this?

    GOOD JOB, MARLA!!

  • Jan

    I would absolutely try it! Fad diets don’t work, you must make it a lifestyle change. Once I cut out sugar and began feeling better it simply became a way of life for me. However, I’ve got 15 more to get rid of and I would like to try DASH to see how my body responds. Thanks!

  • AthertonQueen

    This sounds like a diet I can live with. I will try it. Absolutely!

  • bpaine

    I’ll give it a try! My husband just lost weight on ‘naturally slim’ (a diet strongly recommended by his workplace), but you can’t eat breakfast or drink milk – not for this vegetarian!

  • ann0254

    My mother used the original DASH diet years ago. It was bland and boring and very restrictive. I’m glad to see that it has been remodeled for today. A diet must be palatable and easy to incorporate into everyday life. It in fact, becomes your way of life. Thanks for the update1

  • Linda M

    Yes I would like to try the Dash diet. I am over 50 with high blood pressure and need to find a diet I can enjoy and become more healthy. I have a wedding coming up soon and I need to feel great with lots of energy to spare!

  • Torri Cable

    This sounds sensible and logical- probably why it didn’t get much attention. Everyone seems to want a gimmick and quick fix. I’ve been dieting for years and this sounds like it would suit me better than anything else I’ve tried. Love the idea of all the fruits and veggies.

  • Judy

    Absolutely would love to try it. My husband and I are vegetarians and he has high blood pressure and I am in remission with Lymphoma, so we are always reading up on Healthy eating and Living!!

  • Cindy

    Yes I would try it.

  • Regena Carney

    I was diagnosed with high blood pressure a couple of yrs ago and this diet looks like something I should look into. I have never been into dieting per say but this looks like a good, healthy alternative.

  • Jan Griffith

    this looks doable. Sign me up

  • Lantana

    It’s sounds so obvious, I can’t imagine a whole book about it. I would be willing to try it, I’d also like a book that gives suggestions on how to pay for all these fruits and veggies. Produce is so expensive and I can’t imagine buying 4-5 servings of EACH each day.

  • Tina

    It seems to me that people don’t think it’s a “sexy” diet because the weight doesn’t come flying off. In other words, it may not be “sexy” but not everything effective will be!

  • Coleen

    After having a heart attack a couple of years ago I have been trying to eat healthier. This sounds like a good plan to try.

  • Toni

    Would love to try I’m 53 and over weight and ready and willing to make a change to restore my body and soul.

  • Teri M

    I would love to try this “change of eating style” diet. I do love fruit, but I am not the best at eating my veggies. I am currently on medication for hypertension. Wouldn’t it be great to go off of it?

  • jc scott

    I have tried every diet, low carb, no carb, etc, and at my age (73) need a diet that also lowers my hypertension and pre diabetes with about 50 lbs gone from this body.

  • Kristy

    I would love to try this and see the same health benefits as my friend Christine. I want a strong and healthy lifestyle to keep up with two growing boys (5yrs & 8yrs). I am a person who loves to jump in and do it (activity wise)!! This sounds like it is so worth the effort.

  • patty

    sounds like the right plan for me!

  • Patti Stern

    I would love to try this diet.I am 60, am an artist on the road all the time and have elevated blood pressure. Three reasons why I should try this Dash way of eating!

  • joan lang

    For sure I would try this diet! Aiming for health, with weight loss almost a side effect, sound SO good to me!

  • Jen

    I’d love to try this approach to eating healthily!

  • D S

    Yes I would try it. I’m over 55 and trying to lose the vescular fat in my belly. Tried alot of things and nothing seems to work.Tried a detox soup diet to no avail. I would like to try something that is natural and change my eating habits for the better.

  • madmac

    This diet has actually been around a while and recommended by doctors for patients with high blood pressure. Didn’t realize there was a book on it. I’d be willing to give it a try.

  • Mary in MN

    I am not sure I would try the DASH diet on my own, I do not really like vegetables or fruit.
    However, my hubby has high blood pressure and my family has a history of high cholesterol and diabetes and as I am now obese, so I guess I would be more than willing to try it.

  • smfsprout

    I love fruits and veggies. I would also welcome ways to sneak these into my meals and not feel like a rabbit. I really hope this DASH Action Plan can help.

  • elizabeth

    I try to enter all interesting contests on your web site. Maybe this will be my time.
    I am 69 years old and about 90 lbs overweight. I have tried everything and now I am considering surgery. I really don’t want to go under the knife, I’ve heard alot of dangers and some friends have had it reversed.
    Never heard of the Dash plan and would love to give it a chance before I apply for the surgery. It does sound healthy.
    When I last tried to donate blood, I was refused 3 out of 4 times as my pulse was over 100. I want to be healthy and enjoy my retirement and granddaughters.
    Thank you for considering my entry…e

  • Tricia

    I’m very interested in this healthy approach to food. Now that I’m retired and not teaching and chasing my students around on the playground, I find that my exercise is more limited. I need direction in both my food, exercise, and daily life!!!

  • KatieQ

    I have to admit, I’ve never heard of this diet plan, but it certainly makes sense. Although I would love to lose weight and lower my cholesterol, my primary objective is to learn to consistently eat a healthy diet rather than dieting and gaining back the weight.

  • susan miller

    Being a Vegan it has been hard to find interesting foods to eat and stay healthy. I would truly love to get this inteeresting book and see where I could jumpstart a lifestyle of great eatting habits. I do have hight b/p so maybe this is where I need to go for help and be happy eatting this food. I work at a hospital and I believe we can be some of the unhealthiest eatters atound so gets us a book to go by and I promise I will share.

  • sharon

    I haven’t tried it, but I would love to!

  • teresa

    I have to try this! BP meds cause too many other issues, including that irritating constant cough!

  • Debby

    I’ve heard of it and definitely plan to try it

  • FOF Editor

    Hi Elizabeth – I’m one of the FOF editors. Thanks for entering our contests. Good luck on this one! Definitely mention DASH to your doctor, he/she may be able to help you get started on the diet.

  • FOF Editor

    Hi Katie – Great thought. I thought about that a lot as I was writing the story. In her interview, Marla said, “If all you care about is losing weight, you can amputate a leg. This diet is about your health.”

  • Linda

    Yes, I’d love to try the Dash diet. I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of diet I need to lose about 25 lb. This sounds like it would work and would be one you could incorporate into your life premanently.

  • Laura McLendon

    “Designed to lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health–not necessarily to help you lose weight.”

    Works for me 🙂 I would love to add this book to my arsenal!!

  • Loretta Bird

    I have struggled with my weight for my entire life. At present, I am, once again, trying to lose weight. I think the DASH Diet could be the answer. I try to eat more fruit and vegetables but my body craves meat and carbs. What am I to do? I am 69, a breast cancer survivor with degenerative osteoarthritis. I plan to buy the DASH Diet book to see if it is the answer to my prayers.

  • Rebecca Jones

    I’ve been trying to follow this idea since 2007. But I’ve been trying to do it on my own. Having this book, would really help.

  • casusan1

    I lost weight but have stopped and need to get to a healthier diet. I would love to give the book a try.

  • janet Farmer

    I eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit, and I’d like to try this.

  • Debbie

    I am 57 and this diet targets two issues that are plaguing me now: hypertension and overweight. I love fresh fruit and veggies but I need to know how to incorporate them while getting the proper amount of nutrients that I need daily.

  • FOF Editor

    Hi Donna – Based on our interview with Marla, yes, it is possible to get off your blood pressure medication if you follow the diet. And if you can’t get off your medicine completely, you may find that you can reduce your dose, or that the medicine works better once you’re on the diet.

  • FOF Editor

    Hi beth – Thanks for your comment. In our interview with Marla, she actually mentioned that of all the commercial diets, Weight Watchers is actually the one that most resembles dash in its balanced approach to eating…

  • Beth Ireland

    I hope to improve the health quality of our family’s meals. This book sounds like a great tool to do this!

  • wclowrider

    Sounds easy enough to follow. I’d definitely give it a try as I love fruit and vegetables. The idea that maybe I’m not eating enough of them combined with dairy would be very new for me and hopefully lead to weight loss.

  • Sunn ymay

    The extra veggies are filling along with fruit for dessert and to jazz up salads. I’ve been eating a lot less meat and have entire days where no meat crosses my lips. I’ve heard lately that Dr. Oz recommends the Mediterranean diet which has the right kinds of fat in live oil and heavy on the veggies, so there’s some overlap between the DASH diet and this.

  • Sheila Chaffins

    I have never tried this diet I would love to try it. It sounds great.

  • Ellen

    I’m game for any new recipes that increase vegetable and fruit consumption. Bring it on!

  • marlahrd

    For vegans, the key DASH foods, fruits, veggies, and nuts/beans/seeds are easy. Since dairy is also important, look for dairy subs that are rich in calcium, and contain vitamin D. Unfortunately most adults are deficient in vitamin D, especially during the winter.

  • marlahrd

    Absolutely, this is the plan you should be following for your entire life. Health, balanced, with great foods — what’s not to like?

  • marlahrd

    Debbie, it sounds like the DASH diet is right up your alley. It is amazing how people report that their blood pressure gets under control so fast (research says in 14 days). And they lose weight without feeling hungry or like they are on a diet.

  • marlahrd

    Yes, common sense, that isn’t so common any more. The book is designed to make it easy to follow. The meal plans (which can be adjusted for your personal preferences) are balanced to be bulky/filling, and have sufficient protein and healthy fats to help you stay feeling full longer after meals. DASH just makes it so much easier!

  • marlahrd

    Hi Erica,

    You don’t need to buy processed foods to follow the DASH diet, which is a big benefit. You use regular, whole foods, which makes it easy. And when you develop the habit, you don’t want to go back to your old way of eating. You just feel too good!

  • marlahrd

    Hi Beverly,

    You would love the DASH diet. Having the right foods on hand (even at work) will make it easier to stay on track, even with relatively unstructured meals. How about leftovers from the night before?

    Good luck!

  • marlahrd

    Hi Kimm,

    The Ornish diet was very, very low fat, and completely vegan. The original idea for the DASH diet was to take the benefits of a vegetarian diet, but make the plan flexible enough to appeal to everyone, including those omnivores.

  • marlahrd

    Thanks, Fab55!

    In general, I am not such a big proponent of supplements, and yes, because I prefer healthy diets. I am a fence-sitter on flax (more on this in the book), and am also skeptical of coconut oil, since it is so high in saturated fats, and because of high rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity in cultures that rely on coconut oil. (Think Polynesia – such as Samoa.) Unfortunately, I have seen too many folks who routinely use coconut oil in my practice and they were showing up with diabetes and heart problems, all too often.

  • Elyse

    This eating plan sounds amazingly healthy. I would definitely try it.

  • Ann

    This approach has been offered yearly as an 8wk course through our local hospital for $375. I have always been intrigued to see if it works as well as promised but never had the money to try it. It would be nice to incorporate healthy choices in my life.

  • Susan C

    would love tor try this diet

  • beth w

    this diet sounds easy and not too painful!

  • Sue Ann Metzner

    Although I don’t have blood pressure problems, I am concerned about my overall health. I’d love to try this diet.

  • Angela

    Anxious to try something that isn’t a fad, but sensible way of eating. I am always on the run- work, errands, care taking for elderly mother, so any suggestions will be helpful.

  • tfairy

    I’ve heard of this great things about this way of eating and would love to have the book to fid out more.

  • joyce

    I have not tried this exact diet,but I have added more fruits and vegetables ,and low fat dairy and have lost my holiday pounds.

  • marlahrd

    Yay! Good start, Joyce!

  • marlahrd

    Hi Angela,

    Healthy eating will help boost your energy for all the activities in your busy life. People always say that they feel so much better.

  • marlahrd

    Hi Ann,

    The book will give you everything you need to know, plus it has tracking tools that will keep you on course. The group class would also provide social support and help you learn other people’s solutions to common challenges.

  • marlahrd

    Yes, the DASH diet is kind of an Americanized version of the Med diet. And it has specific benefits for good health that have been proven over and over again. Often people following the Med diet overdo the pasta. Most of us aren’t physically active enough to burn off all those extra calories. The heart healthy fats are good from both diets, and having fatty fish on a regular basis is also heart healthy.

  • patti

    Well, I’m game (rather fruits & veggies)!! This sounds interesting. I love fruits and veggies so this could work for me.

  • Mary nowlin

    I am 55, a former athlete, who has gained 50 lbs following a spinal injury, with new diagnoses of fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism and prehypertensive bp readings. I have struggled with many different types of weightloss strategies during the last several years. I lose weight, then I regain what I lost and additional lbs as well…my goal is healthy weightloss that is a lifetime eating style that isn’t a program of premade food or products…just healthy natural raw fruits and veggies primarily with enough protein, etc to optimize my health. Balance and nothing faddish or fancy…just plain good and good for me meals is what I truly desire. I would sincerely be thankful for and willing to try the DASH diet. Mary

  • Jennifer Fitzgibbons

    I haven’t tried this diet yet but would love to. I would like to lose some weight since I have extreme chronic back pain but want to still feel full. This sounds like the perfect diet for me!

  • Deana Taylor

    Yes, I would try to DASH diet plan – I have to do something. Been worried about my high blood pressure and heart for quite a while and now I’m worried about possibly being diabetic. I’ve got to change my life and this diet makes a lot of sense. I’m looking forward to starting…curious to see if I can feel full without giving in to my cravings for carbs and sweets.

  • Susan Goldstein

    Oh. My. Goodness!! I never looked at the coconut oil issue that way!! those islanders are KNOWN for their obesity! Ai yi yi. It truly is sky high in calories, and since I am not cutting back elsewhere to accommodate this increase, I am unintentionally causing my own setback. Darn. And it cost so much, too… Can I just feed it to the dog? lol jk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • marlahrd

    Oooh, poor dog.

  • Fab55

    LOL!

  • brandbedandbreakfast

    Having just finished the book “The China Study” which advocates a plant based diet and no meat, fish and dairy in order to conquer cancer, heart disease, alzheimers and macular degeneration…and a month of unsuccessfully trying the vegan lifestyle….I think the Dash Diet might be more up my alley. Would love to read the book and try a more moderate version of a healthier lifestyle. And of course….lose a few pounds in the process.

  • marlahrd

    It may seem obvious, but fewer Americans are eating this way today, compared to 1998 when the DASH diet research was first published. The challenge is, how do you eat healthfully and develop the new habits in a busy life. Too many of us have been focused on meals with starch and protein, and little else.

  • marlahrd

    You are absolutely on track. The DASH diet was originally developed to bring the benefits of a vegetarian diet into a plan that was much more flexible and appealing to most American’s eating preferences. And people who follow the DASH eating pattern for most of their lives have been shown to have lower rates of stroke, heart attacks, heart failure, several types of cancer, are less likely to develop diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and kidney stones. And these studies followed regular Americans with typical lifestyles.

  • Acaulfield

    It sounds so sensible!

  • drsam1949

    This sounds almost too easy. Would love to try the recipes.

  • arlenes

    Haven’t tried this diet, but love veggies and fruit. Right now I have changed my breakfast choice from oatmeal to egg white omlettes with veggies. I try to keep my intake of calories to about 1600 per day, and still can’t budge the scale.
    I do yoga and tai chi 2X a week, and walk about a mile daily. Would love to give this diet a try. At least I would be eating foods I love and possibly getting rid of the blood pressure meds.
    My Dr. suggest Jenny Craig, not really interested …. just wanna get to 140 & I’m 5’5″

  • jolindsey

    I need to do something…. After menopause I gained weight, I am sluggish and have “no get up and go”.
    My blood pressure keeps rising. I love fruit and veggies, but I know I need a kick in the butt to get me going.
    I am not working and can’t afford to buy the book at this time so winning it would help. And I am sure doing this type of eating will help my mood also, cause I know I am eating the wrong things.
    Thanks

  • carolbondy

    Last year I lost 35lbs by following weight watchers. I need to lose another 25lbs to get to my desired weight and the past few months I have leveled off and not lost anything. I hope this may kick start my plan to loss the next 25lbs.

  • inMO

    ABSolutely!

  • Casey Anderson

    Yes, I would love to try this diet. I have not been successful in other diets I have tried. I am one who needs to be told what to buy at the grocery store, exactly what to buy, & how much of it I can have per meal. It is easy to go grab fast food when you are the only person you have to worry about feeding. A large number of diets are expensive, & items ruin easy unless you eat the same thing for several days. Speaking for myself, this causes burnout very fast. I would welcome a change, a diet I can be successful. I have always been very thin until I reached the age of 45, so I have never had to diet, & frankly I don’t know how!

  • AJB

    I think this diet makes a lot of sense and would try it. I haven’t read the book but I am familiar with Weight Watchers which also emphasizes eating more fruits & vegetables and high-fiber, low-fat foods.

  • pameladw

    I would absolutely try this diet! I love that it is safe and nutritional – and that you wouldn’t feel deprived or hungry on this diet. I need to try this to lose about 40 lbs. and to lower my cholesterol and blood pressure!

  • Lucky enough

    This sounds like just what I’m looking for. It’s not a fad. I would love to read the book.

  • elizmor

    I have tried all the other ones, maybe this one will be the right ONE!

  • rosevincentia

    I have actually heard of DASH, as I need to lower my blood pressure. This sounds like it would benefit cholesterol levels too, among other healthy benefits.

  • Pamela Ray

    This sounds like and amazing diet.

  • Muzzik

    I do recall the acronym DASH and some thing about the plan. Marla was right to say it was not easily understood, or written for average people with no medical background.
    Since it is a SENSIBLE approach to healthy eating, and there are no “gimmicks” or “PROFITS” to be made, it was not widely advertised. I’d use this plan for both health benefits and weight loss.

  • Barbara M. Stapleton

    I love this, I too am 5’4 and looking at a need to lose 75-80 pounds. I want to follow in Christine’s steps too! Health issues caused the weight gain over the past 5 years and seems relentless. Looked into Paleo diets but on Food Stamps it isn’t viable. This sounds like something I can do and desperately want to do. Hope I win and if not, will save up to (eventually) buy the book

  • Laurie

    I would try the DASH diet! It sound healthy and filling.

  • Soledad

    I need to try something! I lost ten pounds a few months back and just saw on my scale that they are back. I need to lose at least 30 lbs. I would like to see if this will help me.

  • Theresa Logan

    I’m game for trying DASH and have seen a few magazine articles about it. I’ve lost 70 lbs over the last 4 years and have another 30 to go to hit my goal weight of 150 lbs. I’m healthy, feel great and I’m Fab over Fifty, actually 57. My husband is 55, was always very thin but has put on about 20 lbs on his belly since back surgery 10 years ago. I think he would benefit from The DASH diet too. I might be able to encourage him to try it with me as he is watching his blood pressure & cholesterol to keep from taking medication. From what I’ve read this would be a good program for that. We have a family vacation planned to Mazatlan in November and this would give us all summer to get FABBER! If I can get to my goal weight I’m going to try para-sailing and wave to the grand kids as I coast by. At least I won’t flatten the cute guys that catch me when I land.

  • sheryl.eastridge

    Yes I’ll try the diet. I’ve hit a brick wall in my weight control and this makes sense. My biggest problem with dieting is the empty feeling. Sounds like it won’t happen with this.

  • Pat

    I’m 58. If I’d known how good I looked in my healthy 20s, I would’ve been dangerous. I’ll never be 20-something again but, I know can be just as healthy, and just as dangerous as an FOF! Poised for transformation, my goal is to establish a health-restoring routine of meal planning, exercise and sufficient sleep. My story will be a great testimonial to the DASH diet. Won’t you take me on?!

  • Linda Levreault

    I would definitely love this diet!

  • Jeanne T

    This seems so reasonable and full of common sense. No emphasis on crazy claims. Just wholesome eating and decent food.