You are on page 1of 5

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) focuses on eating a diet rich in fruits,

vegetables, whole grains, low amounts of fat, and lower amount of sodium to decrease the risk of
developing hypertension or reducing hypertension if already present. The diet is based on a 2000 daily
caloric intake and recommends to consume 7-8 servings of grains with three of them being whole grains
daily, 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, 2-3 servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy products daily, 2
or less servings of meat daily, 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds, and beans per week, 2-3 servings of fats and
oils daily, and no more than five servings of sweets per week. Along with the food group serving
recommendations the DASH diet revolves around not consuming more than 2300mg/day of sodium. The
goals for this diet are to reduce hypertension or prevent it from happening in the first place along with
possibly reducing the risk of developing diabetes and cancer (Mayo, 2013). This is not a weight loss diet
program but due to the diet being rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and low fats weight loss can occur. The
rational for this diet meeting the seed goal of a reduction in blood pressure is due to the diet containing a
lower amount of sodium then the average American diet. A diet lower in sodium has been shown in
clinical trials to reduce blood pressure levels (Lacey, 2016). The expected outcomes for this diet are to see
a reduction in blood pressure if individuals are pre-hypertensive or hypertensive. The reduction expected
in blood pressure can be anywhere from 7-12 mmHg (Mayo, 2013). The DASH diet is considered an
MNT diet because of the clinically proven effectiveness that has been seen in assisting individuals to
decreasing hypertension and reduces their chances of developing chronic disease.
There were a couple items that I learned from following the DASH diet eating plan. The first is,
four to five servings of fruits and vegetables is a lot of food not considering the other components of the
diet that are supposed to be consumed as well. When using whole fruits and vegetables, it takes time to
prepare them whether by washing, peeling, or cutting, and it also takes time to chew and eat the suggested
portion size. I was finding that I became quite full from my meals that contained either two servings of
fruits, vegetables, or one of each and sometimes I didnt have enough room to finish my protein or grain
portions. Another item I took away from this project is it takes time to prepare these meals. Cooking the

whole grains like brown rice or quinoa takes time along with washing, prepping, and cooking both the
vegetables and the protein. It is not easy to get a grab and go meal from the supermarket because they
mostly contain refined grains, little to no vegetables or fruits, and are high in salt. I had to carve out at
least a half hour every night to prepare dinner, which is usually my biggest meal of the day. The last item
I learned from this project is it is not always good to drink your fruits and vegetables. I bought a 100%
juice blend that contained one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables in one cup hoping to assist
me in getting my 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables in per day. But what I found was although it was
easier and quicker for me to drink my fruits and vegetables, juice gave me heartburn and acid indigestion,
so I quit the juice and stuck with eating the whole fruits and vegetables.
After comparing the diet planned and the diet actually consumed there were some discrepancies.
The diet consumed had a lower total calorie content compared to the planned diet. % carbohydrate, %fat,
% protein was just about the same for the consumed diet and the planned diet varying only about 3%. The
consumed diet had less micronutrient above 150% and had two micronutrients below 75% when the
planned diet did not have any micronutrients below 75%. Grams of fiber consumed were 8g less than the
planned diet. Overall, the consumed diet was fairly close to meeting the same standards as the planned
diet but fell short with Vitamin D, Vitamin E, fiber, and total calories. One thing that I noticed was for the
consumed diet, I was not very hungry over the week that I was doing this diet so it was difficult to get all
of the food in that I needed to which was represented in the total calories consumed and in the fiber and
micronutrients. One thing that I learned from doing this diet plan is that there are a lot of factors that go
into the person actually getting in the foods they need. I ran into appetite issues and time restrains for
preparing and eating meals which caused my actual intake to be lower than the one I planned.

Calorie Calculation: 10(63.63) + 6.25(162.56) 5(22) 161= 1381.3 x 1.6 = 2210.08 kcal/day
Protein Requirement Calculation: 0.8 x 54.54kg = 43.64 g/day protein

Avg kcal intake


%carbs
%fat
%protein
Micronutrients >150%

Micronutrients <75%
Ave. daily fiber intake
Excluded item if applicable? y/n

Planned Diet
2174 kcal
62%
19%
22%
Calcium, copper, iron,
phosphorus, selinuim, zinc,
Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin
B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin K,
Folate, Thiamine, Riboflavin
N/A
41g

Diet Consumed
1848 kcal
64%
21%
19%
Copper, selenium, Vitamin A,
Vitamin B6, Vitamin C,
Thiamin, Riboflavin

Vitamin D, Vitamin E
33g

One challenge that a client might face when following this diet is if they are busy with work and
children they may be crunched for time when preparing DASH appropriate meal. It would be beneficial to
educate clients on preparing meal ingredients like brown rice and slice fruits and veggies a head of time
on the weekends so they do not have to spend the time during a busy work week preparing the foods.
Another challenge a client might face is eating out. Many restaurant meals contain a high amount of salt
and fat and since the DASH diet focuses on low sodium and low fat it may be difficult for a client to find
a variety of foods on a restaurant menu that satisfy the DASH criteria. Since the diet is high in fruits and
vegetable and if clients want everything to be organic, they may run into problems with expensive
produce. Clients should be advised that conventional produce or canned will be less expensive.
In regards to following this diet plan short term I do not think it is unattainable for any person.
This diet is straight forward and the guidelines are easy to follow so individuals should not be too
confused or have trouble figuring out what is allowed in the diet. Once a person get used to the diet and
comfortable with the serving of each food category, I believe this diet would be able to be maintained for
the long term. As stated before, this diet is not too restrictive and does provide a wide variety of foods
within the appropriate sodium and fat parameters so people should not become bored with this diet.

All in all, I felt this was a practical diet that does not deprive people of certain foods. It does limit
certain amounts of some food categories but it does not cut any type of food completely out of a persons
diet. While on this diet I never felt hungry and always had a full stomach after each meal. My energy
levels were good and I did not found myself craving any certain foods while on the diet. This diet does
seem reasonable for most anyone to follow.

References
Lacey, K., Nelms, M., Sucher, K.P. (2016). Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology. Boston,
Mass.: Cengage Learning.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013, May 15). DASH Diet: healthier eating to lover your blood pressure.
Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthyeating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. (2015, September 15)Descriptions of the DASH diet
eating plan. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash