I want to enhance my health using the online DASH health tools and track my progress in real time.

Frequently Asked Questions Does the DASH for HealthTM give personal medical advice?

No. Although a team of doctors and nutritionists created the DASH for HealthTM Program, we can't know as much about you as your personal health care providers do. So you should continue to rely on their advice for your personal health care. But our nutrition advice is based on the DASH diet, which is a well–balanced way of eating that is consistent with general nutrition guidelines. The DASH diet is recommended by the American Heart Association and is a part of health guidelines all around the world. However, if you have a specific concern about your personal needs (does DASH suit my medications, other medical conditions, good for my pregnancy, etc.), we advise you to discuss the DASH dietary pattern with your personal physician.

What kind of exercise advice does DASH for HealthTM provide?
We provide exercise advice for all levels and fitness goals. So you'll find advice (based on sound and safe medical evidence) whether you are a couch–potato who is interested in starting back into exercise, a week–end athlete who wants to stay fit and avoid injuries, or if you are a competitive athlete who wants to know how shave off some seconds or crank up your speed.

How much personal interaction will I have with the DASH Team?
This program is web–based so that you have total access to it whenever you choose. We will always welcome your comments and suggestions, and are committed to answering questions from DASH users by email. You can do this using the "Send Us a Question" tool.

What is the minimum amount I need to do in order to participate in the DASH for HealthTM Program?
The only thing you HAVE to do in order to participate in the Program is enroll. The program is designed for people with busy lifestyles, so that you can participate at any level you wish. We believe that the more time you put into the program, the more you will get out of it, but there are no minimum participation requirements. You will not be "dropped" from enrollment for not participating. You will continue to get email reminders when new information is posted on the web site as long as you remain enrolled. If you choose, you can also remove yourself from the enrollment list at any time.

How does DASH for HealthTM feel about the low–carb craze?
Foods that contain carbohydrates (carbs) are the best source of the energy that our bodies need to function and be healthy. But some nutritionists feel that eating carbs causes fluctuations in blood sugar which make us feel hungry. So, for people who want to lose weight, some have suggested that, if we don't eat carbs, we won't get so hungry. This is the basis for the low–carb weight loss diets, like Atkins, that encourage eating almost exclusively protein and fats. Did you know that, despite the fact that the Atkins diet has been around for over 30 years, there is still no reliable, scientific evidence that its better than any other weight loss method.

But low–carb diets may be OK if used by basically healthy people and only for a couple weeks. The trouble is most people don't lose all the weight they want in a couple weeks, so they end up increasing their fat intake over a long period of time, waiting for that magical weight loss to kick in. And that's trouble. The Atkins diet is not a healthy, balanced diet and should not be used for more than a few weeks. In DASH, we believe that a proper, balanced diet plus increased exercise is the best and only way people can lose weight safely and keep it off. DASH recommends foods from all food groups, which means that everyone can find DASH–friendly foods that they like.

Can I follow DASH if I am a vegetarian?
Yes, DASH can be adapted to a vegetarian eating pattern. In fact, the DASH diet was originally created based on a vegetarian diet because we know that vegetarians tend to have lower blood pressures. The diet used in the research that demonstrated the efficacy of DASH did include animal protein foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and dairy foods. But we are confident that similar health benefits can be obtained using vegetable sources of protein and dairy foods. Remember that DASH includes lots of fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy foods, and limited added fats and oils. These recommendations are the same for both vegetarians and fish, meat, and poultry eaters. In order to meet your DASH food goals for meats we suggest you substitute with the nuts, seeds and legumes category. Simply add your recommended servings of meat to your recommended servings of legumes and aim for that goal every day.