The DASH Eating Plan for Diabetics

By American Diabetes Association

Another eating pattern option for people with diabetes is called the DASH eating plan. DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet was designed to help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension (or high blood pressure). People with diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular complications, and keeping blood pressure under control may help prevent these complications, so this eating plan may be a good option for some people with diabetes.

The DASH eating plan, similar to the Mediterranean-style eating plan, promotes eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, as well as low-fat dairy, poultry, and fish. This eating pattern is relatively high in fiber and nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which may help lower blood pressure.

What kind of foods should you avoid when trying to reduce your blood pressure and protect your heart? The DASH eating plan limits red meat, high-sugar foods (such as sugar-sweetened drinks and sugary desserts), and saturated fat (found in butter, margarine, full-fat dairy products, and high-fat meats). It’s also important to limit your intake of foods that are high in sodium.

If you and your dietitian decide that the DASH diet is the right eating pattern for you, you may want to discuss setting a daily sodium intake goal that will help you meet your diabetes and heart-health goals.