After four months, participants in the group that got the DASH diet plus weight-loss counseling and exercise lost an average of 19 pounds, while weight remained stable in the other two groups.
Participants in both the DASH diet alone and DASH diet plus counseling groups had significant reductions in blood pressure, with greater adherence to the DASH diet resulting in the largest drops in blood pressure. The finding suggests that that following the DASH diet lowers blood pressure, independent of exercise and weight loss.
However, the addition of weight loss and exercise to the DASH diet promoted even greater reductions in blood pressure and improved other measures of cardiovascular health. "For overweight or obese patients with high blood pressure, clinicians should recommend the DASH diet in conjunction with exercise and weight loss for the best results," said Alan Hinderliter, MD, a cardiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an investigator in this study.
The researchers noted that African-American participants were less likely than white participants to eat foods recommended in the DASH diet prior to beginning the study. While both African-American and white participants in the DASH treatment groups increased the amount of DASH foods they ate, African-Americans were less likely to adopt the DASH diet compared to their white counterparts. No other demographic, behavioral, or social variable predicted whether participants would adhere to the DASH diet.
"We need to be aware of cultural differences in dietary preferences in order to help people better adopt a DASH-friendly diet," Blumenthal said. "It is important to take into account traditional food choices and cooking practices when attempting to incorporate more DASH foods in
|Contact: Rachel Bloch|
Duke University Medical Center