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In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is designed to be a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public. The DASH diet is based on NIH studies that examined three dietary plans and their results. None of the plans were vegetarian, but the DASH plan incorporated more fruits and vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy, beans, and nuts than the others studied.

Those with hypertension dropped by 11 and 6 mm Hg, respectively. These changes in blood pressure occurred with no changes in body weight. The DASH dietary pattern is adjusted based on daily caloric intake ranging from 1,600 to 3,100 dietary calories. The DASH and DASH-sodium trials demonstrated that a carbohydrate-rich diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that is reduced in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol substantially lowered blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

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