Well, it’s official so it must be true.  On January 4, 2012 the Los Angeles Times reported that:

The DASH diet took the No. 1 spot in best overall diet in the U.S. News and World Report's Best Diets 2012, which also rates other popular diets in various categories.

That diet plan also took top ranking as the best diet for healthy eating and the best diabetes diet (tied with the Biggest Loser diet).  The DASH diet (it stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) may also help lower cholesterol, as it’s big on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins -- not a bad program for a number of people.

Of course it wasn’t just the LA Times reporting this.  Most of the nation’s media outlets heralded the news as ground breaking and oh, so good.

What makes the Dash Diet so special?  Well the Mayo Clinic loves it and here’s an abbreviated version of it’s take on the Dash Diet.  

Dash Diet Servings for a 2,000 Calorie Daily Diet

Grains and grain products 7 to 8 servings per day (include at least 3 whole grain foods each day).  Grains include bread, cereal, rice, and pasta.  Examples of one serving of grains include 1 slice whole-wheat bread, 1 ounce (oz.) dry cereal, or ½ cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta.

Fruits 4 to 5 servings per day.  Many fruits need little preparation to become a healthy part of a meal or snack.  Like vegetables, they're packed with fiber, potassium and magnesium and are typically low in fat — exceptions include avocados and coconuts.  Examples of one serving include 1 medium fruit or ½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit.

Vegetables 4 to 5 servings per day.  Tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, greens, and other vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins, and such minerals as potassium and magnesium.  Examples of one serving include 1 cup raw leafy green vegetables or ½ cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetables.

Low fat or non fat dairy foods 2 to 3 servings per day.  Milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products are major sources of calcium, vitamin D and protein.  But the key is to make sure that you choose dairy products that are low-fat or fat-free because otherwise they can be a major source of fat.  Examples of one serving include 1 cup skim or 1% milk, 1 cup yogurt or 1 ½ oz. cheese.

Lean meats, fish, poultry 2 or less servings per day.  Meat can be a rich source of protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc.  But because even lean varieties contain fat and cholesterol, don't make them a mainstay of your diet — cut back typical meat portions by one-third or one-half and pile on the vegetables instead.  Examples of one serving include 1 oz. cooked skinless poultry, seafood or lean meat, 1 egg, or 1 oz. water-packed, no-salt-added canned tuna.  Eat heart-healthy fish, such as salmon, herring and tuna. These types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower your total cholesterol.

Nuts, seeds, and legumes 4 to 5 servings per week.  Almonds, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, peas, lentils and other foods in this family are good.  Serving sizes are small and are intended to be consumed weekly.  Examples of one serving include 1/3 cup (1 ½ oz.) nuts, 2 tablespoons seeds or ½ cup cooked beans or peas.  Nuts sometimes get a bad rap because of their fat content, but they contain healthy types of fat — monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids.  They're high in calories, however, so eat them in moderation.

Fats and sweets 2 to 3 servings per day.  Too much fat increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.  The DASH diet strives for a healthy balance by providing 30 percent or less of daily calories from fat, with a focus on the healthier unsaturated fats.  Examples of one serving include 1 teaspoon soft margarine, 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise, or 2 tablespoons light salad dressing.  Go easy on sweets.  Examples of one serving include 1 tablespoon sugar, jelly, or jam, ½ cup sorbet, or 1 cup (8 oz.) lemonade.

The Dash Diet is the same as the USDA recommended diets for whatever.  It’s the same as nearly every diet published in every Sunday Supplement, the Reader’s Digest, AARP Magazine, and all other claptrap publications that specialize in feel good dietary verbiage to sell advertising.  It’s the same diet medical professionals talk about while they go about prescribing drugs and operations because they know their dietary recommendations will not heal their patients.  It’s the same diet that is already killing a couple million Americans each year.  It’s the same diet that is slowly destroying the health of about 330,000,000 additional Americans.  It is the same diet that is bankrupting the nation with soaring health care costs.

The Dash Diet’s emphasis is on low fat (because it makes you fat), high omega-6 foods, and high glycemic foods.  Therefore in no way can the Dash Diet balance the essential fatty acids (omega-6 to omega-3 balance of one to one).  It does not recognize that grass-fed meats even exist.  It considers a daily ration of meat (even it is all fish) to be two ounces or less while a daily ration of grains should be greater than four times as much!  It does not recognize the damage even small doses of high glycemic foods have on animal body function.

The Dash Diet is the same diet (under a different name) my mother followed religiously commencing over 40 years ago.  With her diet she continued to suffer with one chronic disease after another while being under the constant care of multiple doctors who treated her with drugs and operations.  Finally she died with multiple health problems including an acute case of Alzheimer's disease.

Who is it that expects a different outcome when doing the same thing?  You already know.  It’s nearly everyone around you.  It takes considerable internal fortitude to step back from the common knowledge of the masses and march to the beat of a different drummer.  For those who are new to The Real Diet of Man, please check it out.  Then you will better understand this commentary and why I am so appalled by the media’s enthusiasm for the dangerous Dash Diet.

Do some study and learn why, for optimizing my health, I want fat, especially animal fats, and why I want lots of grass-fed meats including fish in my daily diet.  Then second in line I want good vegetables (not all of them are alike).  Following that is fruit sparingly, nuts rarely.  Milk is totally unnecessary.  All high glycemic foods should be avoided totally.  For more about which foods are fit to eat, check out Food Analysis:  GI, GL, Fat Ratio, and Inflammation.

Ted Slanker

Thursday, January 5, 2012