Weight management has to do with more than just weight gain and loss. We know that keeping a stable, healthy weight within a normal body mass index range takes long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, which is where the DASH diet comes in. This applies at any age and stage of life. For example, as children have periods of rapid physical growth and development, their dietary needs in addition to the amount of food they consume tend to change drastically. But according to new research published this week, girls who follow a DASH style diet throughout their development can reduce the odds that they will gain excess weight at this time.
The researchers followed the dietary habits and body mass indexes of 2,237 American girls starting from when they were 9 years old, for a total of ten years.The girls were scored on how closely their own diets matched or resembled the DASH diet, including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy and nuts, seeds and legumes. Those who had higher scores, meaning their own diets were very similar to the DASH guidelines, had the lowest BMIs by the time they were 19. The opposite was true for those who ate the fewest DASH foods - they were closer to being overweight by age 19.
The foods that make up the DASH diet tend to be water, nutrient and fibre-rich and low in fat on the whole. They also include enough lean protein and healthy fats to support healthy growth and development. Therefore, it is not surprising that individuals who eat this way tend to be the leanest and healthiest, on average. So in case you thought the DASH diet was only something to consider if you got sick or had hypertension, maybe it's time to reconsider that notion!