Health Watch: Best Diet of 2012

Published: Jan. 20, 2012 at 2:34 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2012 at 4:48 PM CST
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It's being called the best diet of 2012 in US News and World Report's annual diet ranking. In this weeks "Health Watch," NewsChannel 10's Michelle Langowski takes a closer look at the "DASH" diet and why it is being chosen as the one to follow this year.

The beginning of the year is when many of us vow to lose weight, but determining which diet will work best can be a challenge. The big winner this year is the "DASH" diet - which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension.

The plan aims at lowering high blood pressure by eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean proteins. It also encourages cutting back on sodium and sweets. The approach emphasizes a lot of the foods we have long been told to eat.

Dr. Walt Walker with Texas Tech Health Sciences Center says "these diets do make sense to me. The dash diet, cut back on sodium, yes that makes sense. Cut back on fats, yes that makes sense. Add fruits and vegetables, yes. It's all common sense stuff."

It's a health way to eat, even if you don't need to lose weight. Some of the benefits that are making this approach a winner are that there are no special foods required, and no hard-to-follow recipes. All you have to do is eat a certain number of daily servings from various food groups.

After years of low-carbohydrate diets topping the charts, Dr. Walker says he is not surprised the "DASH" diet is coming in first for the second year in a row.

"The low-carb diets have lost their popularity in some circles. Again, they do work for some people for short periods of time. Some people maintain their weight and keep it off. What I have seen is people losing weight very rapidly and then turning around and gaining weight back on."

Dr. Walker says a main key to success in any diet or plan you chose, is being honest with yourself. Not just looking at your breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the snacks that are squeezed in between as well. He adds, "habits are complicated. If you go out January 1st and exercise and cut back on food, that's good, but that's not changing your lifestyle. Stick with it. If you have slipped off a little bit, get back on it."

If you would like help kick-starting a healthier year, you can take part in a new event coming to Amarillo this weekend. The "Walk With A Doc" will be in town Saturday, January 21st at Westgate mall beginning at 8:30am. The free event it is designed to encourage people to get moving in order to help them lead a healthier life.