Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

A DASHing Pyramid. (Special Feature)

Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

A DASHing Pyramid. (Special Feature)

Article excerpt

Pyramids are everywhere these days. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Mayo Clinic each has one. Harvard has several. Pyramids (or other graphics) make it easier for people to visualize how much of what to eat. So we've taken the DASH diet and, with a few tweaks (like recommending whole grains), turned it into a pyramid. The only missing advice: A DASH diet should be low in salt (sodium chloride), even though the pyramid can't show it.

A DASH diet may not be the only healthy way to eat. But it's one of the few diets that have been tested and shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Just remember that what we call a serving may be much smaller than you expect. For example:

* Grains. An order of spaghetti at a typical Italian restaurant is three cups. That would be six of the half-cup servings in the DASH diet. A typical bagel, which weighs four or five ounces, would be four or five servings.

* Meal & poultry. DASH says that a serving of chicken or meat is three ounces. Most restaurants serve six to nine ounces of chicken (two to three servings) and seven to 16 ounces of steak (two to five servings).

* Vegetables. A DASH serving is one cup of lettuce and half a cup of most other vegetables. At a restaurant, a side Caesar salad is two cups (two servings).

* Oils, salad dressings, mayo. A DASH serving is only one teaspoon of full-fat mayo or oil. (Food labels list one tablespoon for both.) A DASH serving of full-fat salad dressing is one tablespoon. It's two tablespoons for light dressing only. …

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