The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet has been consistently ranked by US News & World Report as a top diet for heart health and weight loss, and it’s no surprise why. Unlike fad diets that call for extreme calorie or food-group restrictions without scientific evidence that supports their efficacy, the DASH diet involves making manageable dietary changes that are flexible and rooted in proven nutritional advice.
The DASH diet plan focus on increasing vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes; choosing lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts and healthy fats; and limiting added sugars, trans fats, added salt, and processed foods. Serving sizes from each food group are based on individual calorie needs (see below for a 1600-calorie plan), and you’ll likely find that the plan looks pretty close to the MyPlate plan, as well as another consistently rated “top diet,” the Mediterranean Diet. Here’s a breakdown of the recommended nutrients in a typical day and week on the DASH diet:

Use fat as a lever.  We’ve been taught to fear fat, but don’t! Both keto and low carb are high fat diets. Fat is our source of energy as well as satiety. The key to understand, though, is that fat is a lever on a low carb or keto diet. Carbs and protein stay constant, and fat is the one you increase or decrease (push the lever up or down) to gain or lose weight, respectively. So if your goal is weight loss, eat enough fat to be satisfied, but there’s no need to “get your fats in” once you’re satisfied.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Kossoff EH, Zupec-Kania BA, Amark PE, Ballaban-Gil KR, Bergqvist AG, Blackford R, et al. Optimal clinical management of children receiving the ketogenic diet: recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group. Epilepsia. 2009 Feb;50(2):304–17. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01765.x. PMID 18823325
Roussell explains that when we get too hungry, our bodies secrete a hormone called, ghrelin, which controls our hunger and appetite. If too much ghrelin is released, we get hangry and will grab pretty much anything. Before bed, however, Roussell says going to sleep a bit hungry can actually be beneficial. “Going to be hungry may actually help you sleep better as ghrelin makes your body more responsive to compounds in your brain that aid in sleep.”
The DASH diet is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. As you can probably guess, this eating plan was originally developed to help people lower their blood pressure. But it can do a whole lot more than that: The DASH diet has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity. Studies have also suggested that following a DASH diet plan can reduce the risk of serious health issues such as stroke, kidney stones, and diabetes. It's no wonder why so many doctors recommend the DASH diet to their patients and why the plan has been ranked as the "best overall diet" by US News & World Reports for eight years in a row.
However, the meta-analysis was riddled with confounding variables — one of which being their lackadaisical definition of a low-carb diet. The researchers identified a low-carb diet as a diet where less than 45% of its calories come from carbs. With such a lax criterion for low-carb, it is difficult to tell if a true low-carb diet (i.e., fewer than 26% of calories coming from carbs) is genuinely the best dietary option for type 2 diabetics.
Based on long-overlooked DASH research and developed into a weight loss plan by the foremost DASH dietitian and leading nutrition expert, Marla Heller, MS, RD, this effective and easy weight loss program includes menu plans, recipes, shopping lists, and more. Readers will enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, lean meats/fish/poultry, nuts/beans/seeds, heart healthy fats, and limited amounts of whole grains. The result: improved metabolism, lower body fat, improved strength and cardiovascular fitness, without counting calories. And, of course the DASH diet can lower cholesterol and blood pressure without medication!
"The DASH diet: the weight-loss plan approved by doctors. When doctors devised an eating plan to fight high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, weight loss was an added bonus. An eating programme devised by doctors to fight high blood pressure has become the latest weight-loss phenomenon and named America's healthiest diet two years in a row." - from the Weekend London Times
While the American Diabetes Association notes that many individuals with the disease or its precursor, prediabetes, employ carb counting to control their blood sugar on a regular basis, others have turned to ultra-low-carb diets as a way to manage their symptoms. These diets are highly restrictive and often limit followers to consuming no more than 20 grams (g) of carbs per day, usually with no added sugar, and, depending on the diet, increased protein and fat. Experts say they rarely have patients who ask about following a ketogenic diet or a modified paleo diet long term, but they can be useful for short-term weight loss if done properly.
While 1,200 may be the right number for some, it can be super restrictive for others, says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Try basing your meals and snacks off this plan and double up on veggies at any opportunity — more fruit at snack time works too! You can also add an extra ounce or two of protein at all meals if you find yourself feeling hungry. The combo of fiber from produce and lean protein makes this an adaptable strategy that’ll help you lose weight safely — one meal (and snack) at a time!
Either there are very few participants in the studies, they don’t have an even number of males vs. females, or they don’t last but a few months. One study only looked at 28 people; only 21 completed the study and 20 of these participants were men. On top of this, they were only followed for 16 weeks. Okay, so we see that 20 men can limit their carbohydrates severely for 4 months and lose weight which automatically makes their A1c come down. Great! So, the real question is, how long can these 20 men stay on this diet for the rest of their lives? How long would you like to go without eating any fresh fruit? I’m craving some now, so I’m taking a break to go grab a snack now!
Cyrus Khambatta earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in his senior year of college at Stanford University in 2002. He is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach for people living with type 1, type 1.5, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and has helped hundreds of people around the world achieve exceptional insulin sensitivity by adopting low-fat, plant-based whole foods nutrition.
The Keto diet versus Plate Method study triggered some challenges and a bit of criticism. In an editorial, Andrew Reynolds, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Otago, New Zealand, suggests that the much better results in those on the ketogenic diet may be due not to the diet itself but to the lifestyle changes and ongoing support that keto diet group received.5
Carbohydrate Restriction. To help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels, doctors will typically prescribe a diet that mostly consists of low glycemic index foods. [23] However, according to the research, restricting overall carb intake to the point of following a keto diet may be the best way to improve the many biomarkers relevant to diabetes. [24] In fact, this dietary strategy has been proven to be helpful for the management of type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes.

Financial disclosures: There were no conflicts of interest reported except for Dr Bernstein who has received royalties for books on the management of diabetes (which were used by members of the online social media group surveyed in this study). Dr. Hallberg who holds stock options and receives research support from Virta Health, and consulting fees from Atkins. Dr. Rhodes is the site principal investigator in clinical trials for pediatric type 2 diabetes that are sponsored by Merck and AstraZeneca. Dr. Westman has an ownership interest in companies using low-carbohydrate principles, and he receives royalties for books related to low-carbohydrate diets. Dr. Ludwig has received royalties from books on nutrition and obesity; and Dr. Galati is author of Eating Yourself Sick: How to stop obesity, fatty liver, and diabetes from killing you and your family (2018).

Below is a quick graphic of a meal plan on the traditional Mediterranean diet, it is the same meal plan that I also follow. Under the graphic you can find details, tips and links to the recipes. I provide a variety of choices for meals that you can mix and match with links to the recipes. For more ideas just head over to the Recipe Index and you will find a large selection of Mediterranean recipes.
Other diabetes medications. Insulin-releasing tablets (e.g. sulphonylureas) often lead to weight gain. These include: Minodiab, Euglucon, Daonil, and Glibenclamide. Tablets like Avandia, Actos, Starlix and NovoNorm also encourage weight gain. But not Metformin. The newer drugs Victoza and Byetta (injectable) often lead to weight loss, but possible long-term side effects are still unknown. More on diabetes
There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Most anyone can safely benefit from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Below, you’ll find a short list of the benefits you can receive from a ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive list, you can also read our in-depth article here >
Dr. Brian Mowll is the founder and medical director of SweetLife® Diabetes Health Centers and serves clients worldwide as The Diabetes Coach™. He is a master licensed diabetes educator (MLDE), CDE, and was one of the first doctors to be certified to practice functional medicine by the prestigious Institute for Functional Medicine. Since 1998, Dr. Mowll has been helping people across North America to optimize their health and metabolism, control blood sugar, and reverse type 2 diabetes using a natural, personalized lifestyle approach.
Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use or store sugar as fuel. Ketogenic diets make you burn through this fuel quickly, so you don’t need to store it. This means your body needs -- and makes -- less insulin. Those lower levels may help protect you against some kinds of cancer or even slow the growth of cancer cells. More research is needed on this, though.
“It came to another frustration point that medication really isn’t helping,” Lofton says. “I had tried many other things, like a weight loss program. I tried looking into bariatric surgery, and was very frustrated that all these things — like watching my food intake and my servings, 60 grams (of carbs) per meal — all of that wasn’t really making a difference.”
Sodium reduction is part of the DASH equation, but it’s not the only focus. Eating by DASH  recommendations also increases your intake of potassium, calcium, magnesium and fiber—all nutrients that play a role in cardiovascular health, as well as the prevention of other chronic diseases. It’s thought to be the combination of increasing your intake of these nutrients and decreasing your intake of added sugar, salt, sodium and unhealthy fats that leads to lower blood pressure and a laundry list of other long-term health benefits.
I do have a couple of questions. I’m not vegan, but is there room for tempeh (as an alternative)? I love yogurt but I also love cottage cheese – would that be allowed and what about green tea or organic matcha? Oh, one more question, after doing weight watchers, I became obsessed with weighing my food and watching my portion sizes. When I was an unhealthy eater that was my downfall. I’ve mainly been trying to eat clean for the last year, but I still weigh/measure my food. What is the rule for portion sizes in the mediterranean lifestyle? Sorry for all the questions, but thank you for your time!! I look forward to trying all your recipes.
This is a great site for information, details, recipes, etc… one of the reasons I started looking into this way of eating is my husband suffers from high blood pressure, cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. We are not exceptionally overweight, however could both use to lose 10-15 lbs/ea. I also have facial and ocular rosacea and have heard good things about this way of eating for an overall improvement in numerous areas. Although I may have missed it I haven’t seen anywhere you might have mentioned your weightloss success. Thank you for sharing your wealth of information.
It sounds as if you may have been following a very strict keto protocol. I’m not, and have not followed a ketogenic diet, but am interested in it. I’ve been reading up on it a bit on the blog called Mark’s Daily Apple.* I’ve been following it for several years now, even before Mark tried keto. Based on some of his blog post, both keto related and otherwise, it seems that women do better with slightly more carbs than men. He’s written several blog post specifically for women, including one called 7 Keto Tips for Women, which you may want to read. https://www.marksdailyapple.com/7-keto-tips-for-women/ Then there is this one Where I Part Ways with the Popular Keto Movement https://www.marksdailyapple.com/where-i-part-ways-with-the-popular-keto-movement/ Perhaps the problem wasn’t the keto diet in and of itself, but that you went too low carb for you. It’s worth considering. I’ve also found this site to be pretty interesting https://peterattiamd.com/ Here’s a link to his section on keto https://peterattiamd.com/category/ketosis/ He followed a ketogenic diet for a number of years, though as of 2016 was no longer ketogenic, but definitely eating lower carb than most. (That is under Articles, on the drop down menu, click on Personal.)
For me, I chose to become a CDE because I had worked as a Registered Nurse first on a medical unit, then in a Medical ICU. These are the units where most of the people with diabetes are, so I had seen every horrific complication that diabetes can cause. When I had a chance to become a Diabetes Educator…to actually help PREVENT some of those horrible complications…I jumped at the chance!
I think that the experts don’t want to admit that they have been wrong all this time, They all screamed low fat/high carb which is a miserable, unsatisfying way to eat. Who wants to eat a potato with plain yogurt? Gross! She mentions that you are missing out on vital nutrients, but where is the mention that you are giving up things your body needs when you limit fats too? Keto is the only way to eat where you feel satisfied. I would eat cereal and be starving an hour later. How is that helpful? I can eat bacon and eggs (no toast), and be perfectly content for hours. It takes more food preparation, but I truly believe now that bread (whole grain or not) is the enemy of man.

When compared to the calorie-restrict diet, the subjects who underwent the ketogenic diet experienced a reduction three times greater in hemoglobin A1C (1.5% vs. 0.5%). [9] In addition to observing greater improvements in diabetes-related markers, researchers observed a greater reduction in medication usage in subjects that underwent the ketogenic diet treatment. Thus, due to their overall findings, the researchers stated that “Lifestyle modification using low carbohydrate interventions is effective for improving and reversing type 2 diabetes.” [9]
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Slice 4 ounces raw chicken breast into small chunks to skewer on a kabob stick. Marinate at least 30 minutes to overnight in 1/4 cup fat-free Italian dressing. Slice remainder of white onion and green pepper from lunch into chunks; set out 10 grape tomatoes. Alternate pieces of marinated chicken, onion, pepper, and cherry tomatoes on skewers and grill. Serve with one 6-inch whole-wheat pita pocket, toasted over the grill. Spread pita with 2 tablespoons hummus. Finish with 1 cup fat-free milk mixed with 1 tablespoon strawberry drink mix. For added refreshment, freeze the flavored milk into a Popsicle mold the night before and enjoy this as a healthy dessert! Make three Popsicles and save the remainder for Tuesday's and Sunday's desserts.
The keto diet isn’t new, and it’s been around for nearly a century. It was originally developed to treat people with epilepsy. In the 1920s, researchers found that raised levels of ketones in the blood led to fewer epileptic seizures in patients. The keto diet is still used today to treat children with epilepsy who don’t respond well to anti-epileptic drugs.[2]
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