ASH: DASH Diet Gets No Respect from Hypertensive Patients

June 1, 2007

CHICAGO -- The DASH diet plan apparently has not caught on among hypertensive patients. In fact, the percentage of patients adhering to DASH plummeted after the diet was incorporated in national guidelines.

CHICAGO, June 1 -- The DASH diet plan apparently did not catch on among hypertensive patients.

In fact, the percentage of patients adhering to DASH plummeted after the diet was incorporated in national guidelines. said Philip Mellen, M.D., of Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, NC, at a session of the American Society of Hypertension meeting here.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has significantly lost ground since it was added to the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in 1998 (JNC-6) and 2003 (JNC-7).

"Few adults with known hypertension follow the DASH diet," said Dr. Mellen. "We appear to be going in the wrong direction. The dietary quality of hypertensive adults has deteriorated since the DASH diet became incorporated in the national guidelines."

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey dietHH (NHANES III), which was conducted from 1988 through 1994 before the DASH trial, showed the eating diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat could reduce the risk of high blood pressure. NHANES IV was conducted from 1999 through 2004 following the results of the trial and its addition to guidelines, Dr. Mellen reported:

The percentage of Americans reaching the DASH goal of reducing total fat intake to less than 27% of calories fell from 42.9% in NHANES III to 35.9% in NHANES IV (P=.01).

  • The percentage of patients achieving the DASH goal of eating 31 g of fiber daily decreased from 20.2% in NHANES III to 12.4% in NHANES IV (P