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Common Sense Nutrition Beats Out Fad Diets

Common Sense Nutrition Beats Out Fad Diets

The US News and World Report recently completed a study comparing twenty different diet programs, including high-profile plans such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. While many people, including celebrities, swear by designer diets for weight loss, the study showed that the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which (according to the DASH diet website) “was developed by the US National Institute of Health to lower blood pressure without medication,”  was more effective and safe than many other diet plans.

The study of various diets included many different criteria: the top contenders had to be “nutritious, safe, and effective for weight loss against diabetes and heart disease.” That’s a tall order to fill, but the DASH diet, which was designed specifically for people battling hypertension, seems to be a good fit for many people, including those interested in weight loss.

Some of the specific foods emphasized in the DASH diet include: “fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, lean meats, fish, and poultry, and nuts and beans. It is high fiber and low to moderate in fat [and] it is a healthy way of eating, designed to be flexible enough to meet the lifestyle and food preferences of most people.”

I am skeptical of most “diets” because of their limited food choices and obsession with calorie counting, but the DASH diet seems more like common sense than anything else. Fruits and veggies, whole grains, limited fats. Add that to plenty of exercise and it seems like an obvious recipe for success.

The amazing thing here is not that DASH works, but rather that a study needed to be completed in order to come to that conclusion. Humans must eat a wide variety of foods in order to meet our nutritional needs, and home-cooked food is often more nutritious and healthier than pre-packaged meals (such as those produced by Weight Watchers).

For people looking to change their diet for any reason, whether it be nutritional needs, health concerns, or a desire to lose weight, I would recommend the DASH diet, which takes the focus away from our fast food and designer diet mentality and zeros in on what humans really need: real food that will keep us healthy and happy.

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Image: nixxphotography /

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7:08AM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

2:45AM PST on Dec 17, 2012

"Are there benefits to designer diets like Weight Watchers?"
Ha Ha Ha! Sure there's a benefit- to their pockets!

3:51AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

whatever works

1:45AM PDT on Jul 6, 2011

dont forget to eat smaller amounts

12:14PM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

I intend to become more fully informed & aware of the DASH diet as a result of reading this article. TY for the information. Not mentioned here is that the DASH diet HAS to be more cost effective in that the food can be locally purchased & cooked "from scratch". That has provide for better nutrition also. Moreover, in comparison to buying dietary pre-packaged meals, there would be less food preservatives and less packaging in cooking your own "diet" food; so I would consider all the worthwhile advantages to be in the DASH side of the ledger.

3:17AM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

Thank you for the article and for the debate. I would only like to stress that it is unlikely one diet should fit everybody's needs: many factors vary, so it may be wiser to study one's own characteristics and a consequent, appropriate diet.

7:01PM PDT on Jul 4, 2011

If you don't know Weight Watchers, there is no excuse for knocking it. I was on that plan for awhile, and LOVED that it focused on healthy food while allowing desert, and even alcohol in small portions. They aren't focused on calories. They are focused on helping people to develop healthy eating habits by teaching which foods have the best nutritional value in the most balanced way. They stress healthy foods and exercise.

I think it is very irresponsible for the author of this article to call WW a designer diet.

4:10PM PDT on Jul 3, 2011

Eating what you want just limiting the portion a good first start towards healthy eating habits.

7:36AM PDT on Jul 3, 2011

Not all people have the disipline to commit to healthy eating. It`s a sad but true fact. Some people will open a bottled tea rather than boil water. That being the case ... packaged diet foods do have an advantage over drive thru fast foods and the likes. Not ideal but maybe a small step towards better habits and choices. The longest journey begins with the first step.

8:05AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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