Its main purpose is to control high blood pressure by providing patients with key nutrients and antioxidant-rich food. It allows only moderate consumption of meat and almost no red meat, is low in salt, fat and sugar and high in vegetables.
DASH dieters must limit their meat consumption to 6oz or less a day, as well as eat more vegetarian meals.
Developed during the 1990s, the diet began life as a recommendation from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the US government’s National Institute of Health. It is now recommended by the US Department of Agriculture as the ideal eating plan for all Americans.
The panel of experts was asked to rate the diets from 1-5 in terms of short and long-term weight loss, safety and user-friendliness, nutritional completeness, and the ability to prevent or manage diabetes and heart disease.
Runner-up was the Mediterranean diet, inspired by the local cuisine of southern Italy, Crete and Greece in the 1960s: lots of olive oil, vegetables, fruit and cereals, moderate dairy and wine, and low consumption of meat.