The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet could be helpful for reducing weight among teen girls, even though its main purpose has been to treat adults with high blood pressure.
U.S. News & World Report ranked it the best diet overall.
Girls whose food intake most resembled the DASH diet showed the smallest gains in body mass index (BMI) over 10 years. They also had the lowest BMIs at the end of the follow-up period, reported U.S. News & World Report.
"I think these were the results we were hoping to find," study author Dr. Jonathan Berz, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, told the news site. "It's true, on the one hand, that this is common sense. What's perhaps new is that few studies look at overall eating patterns in relation to weight gain compared to individual foods, and over a long period."
The study is published in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The key feature of DASH is that it emphasizes higher consumption of low-fat dairy products. These include fish, chicken and lean meats, along with nuts, fruits, whole grains, vegetables and legumes.
Essentially the diet eliminates red meat and many forms of carbohydrates. The primary focus of the diet is to reduce salt intake – a proven method for reducing blood-pressure in older dieters, according to dashdiet.org.
The American Heart Association has long promoted the diet because it leads to significant blood pressure reduction. Multiple studies have indicated such results.
For 10 years the study followed 2,379 girls who were 9 or 10 at the onset of the study. Participants were socioeconomically and geographically mixed, and more than half the girls in the study were black, reported The Los Angeles Times.
Young people who follow the DASH diet will enjoy better overall health as they age, Dr. Joseph Diamond, a fellow at the American Society of Hypertension, told The Times.