The DASH diet: Eating plan to control diabetes


The DASH diet has long been considered one of the standard and healthy diets. Besides limiting hypertension, this eating plan has been shown to help improve blood cholesterol levels, limit obesity and is especially effective for diabetics.

What is the DASH eating plan?

The DASH eating plan (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a healthy diet designed to support the treatment of people with high blood pressure in need of blood sugar reduction. However, after that, scientists realized that this diet “solves” several other serious health problems such as lowering cholesterol levels, preventing stroke, heart failure and balancing weight. Furthermore, this diet is also the best diet to prevent diabetes.

The DASH eating plan encourages the consumption of foods low in saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol and sodium and rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber and protein. In terms of actual food choices, the DASH eating plan encourages whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, and nuts. Restricted foods include fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, tropical oils (e.g., coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil), sweets, and sugary drinks

What are the benefits of DASH diet?

The DASH diet has been shown to provide different benefits:

Prevent diabetes

For pre-diabetics or people with diabetes, the DASH eating plan helps improve several health parameters including: blood pressure, improved insulin resistance and blood sugar control, thereby preventing the development of risk factors leading to severe diabetes.

The DASH diet has been proven to improve the health of people with diabetes

Reduce blood pressure

One of the causes of high blood pressure is a diet containing a large quantity of salt. Salt content naturally presents in food but can also be due to the way it is processed. Meanwhile, the DASH diet focuses on healthy, low-salt foods and reduces the amount of salt in each meal. Therefore, if this diet is applied scientifically, patients could reduce their blood pressure by a few mmHg after 2 weeks. In the long term, blood pressure can decrease from 8mmHg – 14mmHg. As a result, patients also reduce health risks caused by high blood pressure.

Support balancing weight

The DASH eating plan not only helps control blood pressure, improve heart health, and control diabetes risk, but is also an effective and sustainable weight loss method if done properly. DASH always prioritizes foods rich in fiber to enable your full feeling last longer and reduce the risk of overeating. Additionally, the DASH method has been designed to reduce sodium (salt) in the diet. This reduces the amount of water under the skin hence you could lose weight initially. Additionally, combining the DASH diet with a regular exercise routine will create a larger calorie deficit and help you lose weight faster.

Reduce the risk of cancer

According to research by scientists in Canada, following the DASH diet helps reduce the risk of cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Eliminating unhealthy foods in favor of nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy may leave positive effects on overall health.

Protect cardiovascular system

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends the DASH diet as an important part of preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases. This eating method helps control blood pressure, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.

Standard DASH diet for people with diabetes

Proper nutrition plays an important role in controlling diabetes. Therefore, patients should create a suitable diet not worsen the disease or lead to dangerous complications. Below is the standard DASH diet for people with diabetes.

Follow the standard DASH diet for people with diabetes to control the disease

Food group Daily rations

(unless noted)

Specific amount of food
Cereals and cereal products 7 – 8 1 slice of bread

1 cup instant cereal*

1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal

Lean meat, poultry and fish <= 2 85g cooked lean meat, poultry or skinless fish
Vegetables 4 – 5 1 cup green vegetables (raw vegetables)

1/2 cup cooked vegetables, 170ml vegetable juice

Fruits 4 – 5 1 medium piece of fruit

50g dried fruit

30g cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit, 180ml fruit juice

Low-fat or fat-free dairy foods 2–3 1 glass of milk 180ml

1 cup yogurt

14g cheese

Nuts, seeds and dried beans 4 – 5 per week 9-14 grams of hard shelled nuts

1 tablespoon or 14 grams of seeds

14 grams of cooked dried legumes

Fats and oils 2 – 3 1 teaspoon soft margarine

1 teaspoon low-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons light salad dressing

Candy 5 per week 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon jelly or jam

14 grams of jelly beans

226 ml lemon juice

Natri <2.300 mg Total from processed/packaged foods and added during cooking or at the dining table

In terms of macronutrient composition, the nutritional goals of the DASH diet are as follows:

  Total fat: 27% of calories

  Saturated fat: 6% of calories

  Protein: 18% of calories

  Carbohydrates: 55% of calories

  Cholesterol: 150 mg

  Sodium: 2,300 mg (A lower target of 1,500 mg sodium has been tested and shown to be even better at reducing blood pressure, especially for middle-aged and older adults, African Americans, and those who have have high blood pressure.)

  Potassium: 4,700 mg

  Calcium: 1,250 mg

  Magnesium: 500 mg

  Fiber: 30 g

Notes for people with diabetes in DASH diet

However, to maximize the benefits from this diet, it is important to follow these basic principles:

Reduce salt (sodium) in your daily diet

During the process of choosing and preparing food, you should limit the choice of canned foods, frozen foods and mixed vegetables with salty sauces; Limit adding salt or salt-containing spices in food. Patients should also reduce consumption of smoked or processed foods such as bacon, sausages, processed meats such as canned meat… Instead, you should prioritize choosing foods such as vegetables and fruits to protect and improve health.

Reduce caffeine and alcohol

Abusing caffeinated drinks and alcohol may increase the amount of acid in the stomach, causing heartburn and reducing digestion, while also making the body tired and poor concentration. Therefore, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks should be limited to protect your health. With the DASH diet, you absolutely should not drink more than 2 cups of coffee per day, and should not drink too much alcohol, only drink a maximum of 2 small cups/day for men and 1 small cup/day for women.

Limite sugar intake

Nutrition experts recommend that to avoid complications caused by diabetes, any person with diabetes needs to control blood sugar well. In order to do so, beside taking medication as prescribed by your doctor and exercising moderately, adjusting your diabetes diet is equally important. People with diabetes should prioritize foods with a low glycemic index (GI).

With the goal of helping people with diabetes and pre-diabetes reduce their dependence on medication and control daily blood sugar levels, Nutricare and the Nutricare Medical Nutrition Institute – USA (NMNI – USA) have successfully researched new Glucare Gold product with American standard nutritional formula, suitable for Vietnamese people’s physical condition.

The solution that Nutricare and the Nutricare Medical Nutrition Institute – USA (NMNI – USA) applied in the new Glucare Gold is to replace quickly absorbed sugar with Isomaltulose and Erythritol. The new Isomaltulose and Erythritol used in the new Glucare Gold are of natural origin, slowly absorbed, with a low GI index, help the body stabilize blood sugar, and can replace quickly absorbed sugars like sucrose without affecting affects the sweetness, while still minimizing the amount of sugar in the daily diet. According to clinical research results, comparing a ‘normal’ diet with a low GI diet, it shows that a low GI diet not only helps lose weight well but also effectively reduces HbA1c levels more effective than other diets. Eating foods with a low GI index allows us to reduce the increase in blood sugar after meals.

In addition, reducing the risk of complications in people with diabetes is also an issue of NMNI – USA’s concern, in which cardiovascular complications causing stroke are one of the most common complications. Studies show that people with diabetes have a 2-4 times higher risk of stroke than normal people. Therefore, to prevent complications, Glucare Gold has added Omega 3,6,9 to help reduce bad cholesterol and regulate blood fat, reduce cardiovascular complications, and Antioxidants system to help reduce the destruction of proteins and lipids, thereby limiting atherosclerosis, good for the heart, and preventing strokes. At the same time, the new Glucare Gold also helps improve health by supplementing quality nutrition with 56 nutrients, notably Vegetable Protein and Whey Protein from the US.

Maintain anti-stress sports activities

Prioritizing a healthy diet is the top choice for people with diabetes. However, this does not mean that exercise should be skipped. Combining the DASH diet with some exercise is more effective than doing either alone. People with an active lifestyle who have high blood pressure control their blood pressure better than those who are not physically active.

The combination of the DASH diet with some exercise is highly effective during treatment

The reason is that regular exercise helps the heart pump blood stronger over time. A healthier heart that can pump blood more easily could reduce blood pressure and improve the cardiovascular system. At the same time, exercising helps you maintain a healthy body weight, since being overweight or obese is a risk factor for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Tips for applying the DASH diet

For successful application of DASH diet, experts recommend that people with diabetes consider the following principles:

Step 1: Visit and consult a doctor

As a first step, patients should consult a nutritionist, preferably one who has experience working with people with diabetes. Special nutritionist is able to determine the appropriate diet for each specific patient through indicators: blood sugar control level, other health problems, lifestyle factors, lifestyle factors and personal preferences. From there, they may help you determine whether the DASH eating plan is truly suitable for the patient’s condition.

Step 2: Try to adapt gradually

If you have trouble starting the DASH diet, don’t be discouraged; Start step by step and focus on small, easy-to-achieve goals.

  Set weekly short-term goals to control calories, while cutting meat, salt out of foods, etc. Add fruits and/or vegetables to each main meal and snack.

  Change step by step: Instead of cutting out your favorite foods all at once, you should reduce little by little. Try replacing them with lower-fat options or increasing the amount of grains in your daily meals.

  Learn about serving sizes: Master the serving size of each type of food. This helps you manage your food intake more effectively. For example, you should learn to know that a serving of meat is about the size of a fist, or a serving of rice is about the size of 1/2 cup.

Step 3: Increase exercise to protect your health

Following a nutritional diet is not easy, and sometimes may create pressure. So, exercising allow you to take away worries to escape the cycle of negative thinking and increase your sense of happiness. At the same time, more physical activities and body movement also helps the body become healthier, and the healing process goes on more smoothly.




3. Amy P. Campbell: DASH Eating Plan: An Eating Pattern for Diabetes Management



6. DASH Diet: Reviews, Recipes, Meal Plans and Tips

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