The aim is healthy blood pressure – the bonus is weight loss.
The name DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was coined in the 1997 New England Journal of Medicine study that started it all. Until then, dietary approaches had mainly focused on cutting salt and alcohol – and weight loss.
Besides reducing blood pressure, other studies show DASH helps the heart by promoting healthier cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And the DASH approach is in line with American Diabetes Association guidelines. But there’s been one drawback: Few people follow it. A 2008 study suggests less than one-fifth of Americans with high blood pressure adhere to DASH-style eating.
Because DASH isn’t a commercial diet, there’s no industry marketing behind it. And since it involves an overall dietary pattern, Appel says, “It’s hard to get somebody particularly engaged when it’s not patentable.” On the other hand, he adds, “If this was a pill, there’d be people making billions.”