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The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

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Already know about the DASH diet, but still have questions? Learn more, here. If you want to learn about the DASH diet, please look at What Is the DASH Diet? [To search this page, type CTRL F to open the search function in your browser]

Topics: lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, yogurt, gluten intolerence or celiac disease, vegetarian dash diet, high fiber diet, low fat, substituting foods in meal plans, artificial sweeteners, additive-free foods, sea salt, potassium chloride salt-substitutes, mineral supplements.


I can't tolerate lactose or am allergic to dairy. Can I still follow the DASH diet?

Many people who are lactose-intolerant can tolerate yogurt, most cheeses, and heated milk products. Many can tolerate nonfat milk, although I have no idea why, since it still contains lactose. And some people with milk protein allergies or intolerances can tolerate yogurt or cheese. Milk substitutes such as soy, or rice milk/yogurt/cheeses can also be used, just make sure these substitutes have the same amount of calcium and vitamin D as the original foods. Goat milk can be another option for people with sensitivities to cow milk protein.

Yogurt - During the fermentation process, the good bacteria eat the lactose (making lactic acid), and denature the protein. So yogurt may be tolerated by many people who have problems with milk protein or lactose. Some people have found that adding yogurt to their diet for a month or so, repopulates their gut with healthy bacteria, and allows them to tolerate milk again. Regarding yogurts, regular yogurt, nonfat, is what is recommended for the DASH diet. Strained yogurts, including Greek and Icelandic, have had much of the key nutrients diminished, including potassium, calcium, and whey protein. The DASH diet depends on these nutrients. Greek yogurt is fine as a treat or as an additive to other foods. But when you want yogurt, choose regular nonfat yogurts. Many of these are sold under product names that have "light" in the name. Choose yogurts with less than 100 calories for 6 oz. You can make your own light yogurt, minus the artificial sweeteners, with nonfat regular (not Greek) yogurt, to which you can add 1 - 2 teaspoons of jam or jelly or a little vanilla per your own taste preference.

- Cheese has very little lactose, and the protein has been denatured. Many people with lactose-intolerance or milk sensitivity will tolerate most cheese.

Heated milk - People with sensitivities to milk proteins may find that they tolerate heated milk, such as in hot chocolate or tomato soup, since the milk protein is denatured.

Other cultured milk products may be tolerated by people with lactose or milk protein sensitivities.

I have celiac disease or gluten intolerance and can't include foods with gluten. How do I follow the DASH diet?

You may substitute any non-gluten containing grains for wheat-based foods in the DASH diet. Because we encourage mostly unprocessed foods, it is easy to avoid hidden sources of gluten.

Is the DASH diet high fiber and low fat?

Yes, the DASH diet is high fiber, and low to moderate in fats, which are predominately heart healthy fats. Very low fat diets are associated with increased hunger, which is counterproductive when trying to get and stay on track with healthy eating.

Is there a vegetarian or vegan version of the DASH diet?

Beans, seeds, nuts are all important parts of the DASH diet. Substitutions of meat/fish/poultry can be made using any acceptable protein-rich non-animal products. The DASH diet itself is a compromise, designed to provide the blood pressure-reducing benefits of healthy vegetarian and vegan diets in an eating plan designed to be acceptable to a broad range of people. And our new book, The DASH Diet Younger You (pub date December 30, 2014) encourages a vegetarian DASH diet, complete with lots of bean dishes, 14 days of vegetarian meal plans, and chooses all natural foods that are additive-free.

I don't like the foods in the meal plans in the book. Can I substitute?

You can make substitutions for any of the foods in the plan. You just want to be sure that you choose foods that are comparable in nutrients. The book has lists of potassium-, magnesium-, and calcium-rich foods that you can substitute.

I choose to eat foods without artificial sweeteners. How can I work around menus in the earlier books that have foods with artificial sweeteners?

In the newest book, The DASH Diet Younger You, all foods are additive-free with no artificial sweeteners. It encourages organic foods if they fit into your budget. This book supports vegetarian DASH plans, and for those who choose to eat animal products, encourages humanely-raised products. See above under the Yogurt section for ideas on how to make light yogurt without artificial sweeteners. To skip the artificially sweetened Jell-o™, substitute water with sliced citrus fruit or chunks of melon. That will be refreshing and mildly sweet, to help finish off your meals.

Is sea salt better than regular salt for sodium reduction?

Many types of sea salt have slightly less sodium than regular salt, however, they still can contribute to high levels of sodium in the diet. And often, sea salt grains are smaller in size and have more weight (and sodium) per teaspoon. It is very helpful to learn new ways of seasoning foods, rather than trying to stick with adding salt to provide flavor. In The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook, as well as all the recipes in our books, we support cooking with little or no added-salt.

Can I use potassium chloride containing salt-replacements?

Please check with your doctor, before using potassium chloride salt-substitutes. Some types of blood pressure medication will cause you to retain potassium, so check first.

Can I use potassium, calcium, and magnesium supplements to get the same advantage as with the DASH diet?

No. Many studies have been done, to see if adding supplements could lower blood pressure as well as a healthy diet. Most studies showed no effect. So it is in your best interest to follow the DASH diet. And those supplements would have no effect on cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors.


The DASH Diet Action Planis the user-friendly guide to the DASH diet. This book was developed to make it simple to understand and put into practice. And the more targeted weight loss version based on updated DASH diet research along with current weight loss research, The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution. It is good for heart health, and especially targets people who carry their excess weight around their middle, people with metabolic syndrome, high triglycerides, diabetes, prediabetes, and/or hypertension, who are postmenopausal, or who have PCOS. The DASH Diet Younger You supports vegetarians and meat-eaters alike with meal plans, recipes, and supports people who prefer to avoid artificial additives. It is pumped up on plants to maximize the ability of the DASH diet to turn back the clock on the aging caused by poor eating habits as well as chronic diseases. All of these books are supported by The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook, which makes it so easy to make delicious DASH-friendly meals.

Learn more about the DASH diet and the book below.

Learn more about the book, or view the table of contents.

Learn more about the DASH diet.

Learn how the DASH diet promotes weight loss.

Read about DASH diet in the News.

Read about new DASH diet research.

Learn more about book author Marla Heller, MS, RD



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