“DASH isn’t a weight loss diet per se, but you certainly can lose weight if you create a calorie deficit,” says Rosanne Rust, a registered dietitian and co-author of several DASH diet cookbooks, including the “DASH Diet for Dummies.” “Often when people transition from their normal food choices to a DASH eating style, they may automatically reduce calories since they’re adding more vegetables and balanced meals to their diet.”
For reference, women usually consume 1,200 to 1,600 calories on the DASH diet, while men consume 1,600 to 2,000. Some people have an easier time losing weight if they eat small, frequent meals throughout the day, while others do better with a few larger meals. You should try both methods to see what works best for you.
Short-Term Weight Loss
Although the DASH diet is not specifically designed for weight loss, it can help people lose weight.
- A meta-analysis of clinical trials showed that DASH dieters lost an additional 3.1 pounds over the course of eight to 24 weeks, 0.4 units of body mass index in eight to 52 weeks and 1.05 centimeters of waist circumference in 24 weeks compared to those on the control diets (1).
- In a randomized clinical trial, the DASH diet was associated with significantly decreased weight and BMI after eight weeks compared to the control diet (2).
Long-Term Weight Loss
If you remove processed, sugary, salty and high-fat foods from your diet, as you do on the DASH diet, and exercise regularly, you’ll likely continue to lose weight.
Weight Maintenance and Management
Once you’ve reached your target weight, you should be able to maintain it on the DASH diet. The fiber and protein will keep you satiated, while the calorie content is adequate to keep you energized.