Special Diet Project
The Dash Diet
1. The diet I chose to follow is called the DASH diet. It stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension (The Dash Diet Eating Plan, 2012). 2. The diet was created for people with hypertension. I followed the diet for three days. Normally I don’t think I would have had a problem following this diet because I tend to eat the same foods already but situational factors affected my outcome. The combination of work and finals didn’t give me adequate time to prepare meals. I tried my hardest to get the fruit, grains, and nuts/seeds/legumes servings in because those were the easiest to eat on the go. I followed that pretty well but I definitely didn’t get all of my vegetable, lean meat/poultry/fish, or dairy servings in. 3. The general purpose of this diet is to prevent and control hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Besides lowering blood pressure this diet aims to improve insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of; cancer, stroke, heart disease, kidney stones, and diabetes, and can also be used as a weight loss diet (The Dash Diet Eating Plan, 2012). 4. There are a few factors that could potentially make this diet difficult to follow. This diet calls for a lot of whole foods like fruit and vegetables and lean meat. Since this diet is specifically for hypertensive individuals processed foods are out of the question because they contain a large amount of sodium. This detail could pose a problem to those with a hectic lifestyle. Many people don’t have the time to cook or prepare fresh foods. And others simply don’t enjoy it. If a person isn’t willing to avoid the convenience of processed foods than they cannot follow this diet. This also poses a problem for those that are in the lower class. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more expensive than processed foods and some may not be able to afford it. Availability of the fruits and vegetables could be a problem as well. I didn’t have a problem finding them but someone that doesn’t live near a grocery might, or in an area that does not import out of season produce. Your education on nutrition might hinder your success with this diet. You need to know how to read nutrition labels, your calorie/nutritional needs, serving sizes for different foods, and food preparation. Luckily you can buy The DASH Diet Action Plan book on the website that has a lot of helpful information, advice, and recipes. 5. The first difference is that the Dash Diet categorizes food into 7 groups opposed to 5 on the food guide pyramid. The diet separates legumes and meat into 2 different groups. The food guide pyramid also took out a fats and sweets category whereas the Dash Diet still includes it. The fruit, vegetable and dairy food groups were all very similar in serving size. Grain consumption was a couple servings higher in the Dash Diet. Over all protein was also a little higher because the diet puts legumes/seeds/nuts into a separate group. 6. The Dash Diet focuses on low sodium consumption, or more precisely, the correct amount of sodium consumption. The typical eating pattern includes more sodium than our body needs. This diet also has a higher fiber content than most people usually consume. 7. This diet plan is made for long term use. It contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals that our body needs. As long as you switch up the variety in your foods you won’t be lacking or consuming excessive nutrients. 8. Trying to fit enough lean meat and dairy into my diet was the biggest change I had to make. On average I probably get only 2 to 4 servings of lean meat/fish/poultry a week. Tuna was the easiest way for me to get the servings in. My lack of extra time would make this diet hard for me to follow well. My schedule is always changing so preparing foods all the time would be a hassle. It is also more expensive to follow this diet than my typical eating habits. Money isn’t something I have a lot of. 9. If I had hypertension and was expected to follow this diet I don’t think the transition would be that difficult. However, the transition would be easier if I had a scheduled time every day or every week that gave me time to prepare food and meals in bulk to save time. 10. I think I’ll have a better understanding of what others go through when they have special diets. It can be a large inconvenience depending on your lifestyle. I’ll also have an appreciation for those that have special diets and actually follow them. I had issues with just three days.
The Dash Diet Eating Plan. (2012, April). Retrieved from The DASH Diet: http://dashdiet.org/