Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

Got milk?

November 13, 2014

Pouring milk

Let’s talk about milk in the DASH diet. Almond milk and coconut milk do not have any dairy properties. Almond milk doesn’t even have a serving of almonds. And it requires lots of water to produce, which is an environmental concern in areas with drought, such as California (where almonds are produced).

For the DASH diet, milk provides the key nutrients calcium (milk proteins help dramatically to boost calcium absorption), potassium, vitamin D, and the excellent milk proteins. DASH research was conducted with real milk, so we don’t really know if soy milk provides the exact same benefits, but at least it is as rich in protein as cow’s milk, and has calcium and vitamin D.

Cow’s milk has been consumed by humans for thousands of years, as a sustainable protein source (along with the other nutrient benefits). It is minimally processed, unlike soy milk. I do, of course, recognize that people have tolerance problems with lactose or, less frequently, milk proteins (which I did have). Yogurt and cheese have very little lactose, and adding lactase (milk-sugar enzyme) can help you with tolerating milk. Some people find that acidophilus milk is easier to tolerate than regular milk. If you can, cow’s milk is a great choice, and if not, soy is a reasonable alternative.

Skim (nonfat) or low-fat milk are your best choices. (And, yes, skimming off the butterfat has also been done for centuries.) The butterfat is highly saturated, which increases your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. You don’t, however, want low-fat yogurt, since that has tons of extra sugar. The light yogurts are fat free and have little or no added-sugar. The clue is in the calories. If your yogurt has 90 calories or less for 6 oz, it is light!

If you have been told that you have a mild allergic response to casein by as shown by IgE, that is most likely a problem only for regular milk. After milk has been modified by heating or fermenting (yogurt, cheese, etc) you will probably not be sensitive to those forms. So hot chocolate may be OK (love that!), along with yogurt and cheese. See if that works for you.

On a side note, I used to get frequent, severe intestinal pains, but I didn’t know what it was, and used to drink more and more milk to calm it down. Eventually I was taken off milk to see if it was causing my headaches. The headaches didn’t stop, but my intestinal pains went away. Aha! After many years, I found yogurt that I liked, and started consuming that frequently, to get more calcium into my diet. Eventually, I decided to try milk again. Surprise! No intestinal pains. My thought has been that the yogurt nurtured the good intestinal bacteria, and thus eliminated any allergic response to milk protein. Yay!

And speaking of good bacteria, research has shown that people can lose weight just by adding one yogurt each day. Now we think that this may be due to those good bacteria, known as part of a healthy intestinal microbiota. Thinner people tend to have more of these good bacteria. And in lab rats, transplanting these good bacteria from thin rats into fat rats, causes the fat ones to lose weight. Good intestinal bacteria may promote reaching and staying at a healthier weight! Learn more about healthy gut bacteria in the upcoming book, The DASH Diet Younger You. An additional way that milk may help with weight loss is by providing lots of whey protein, which is especially powerful for maintaining or building muscle. During older types of weight loss plans, people were encouraged to reduce protein in their diet, which led to excessive muscle loss, and thus, slower metabolism. The whey protein in milk, as part of a diet with sufficient protein from all sources, can help make weight loss more sustainable.

Watch out for Greek yogurt, which is lower in the critical whey protein, even though it is higher over in protein as compared with regular yogurt. And Greek yogurt is also lower in calcium and potassium which are so important for having healthier blood pressure.

Dairy is critical to the DASH diet. In the original DASH diet research, they evaluated whether adding extra fruits and veggies (also key DASH foods) would lower blood pressure. However, without 2 – 3 daily servings of dairy,  there was very little blood pressure benefit! Learn more at

Get going and get milk!

(DASH = Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)


DASH as the Anti-Diet

February 4, 2014

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

Too many of us think of diets as something involving slavish devotion to reading labels, calculating calories and fat grams, and mustering up self-discipline to lose weight. What if you didn’t have to do this? What if you could jettison your calculator, put your reading glasses away, and learn to eat in a healthy way that naturally cured cravings, kept your hunger under control, and made it easier to maintain your new healthier weight.

That is the promise of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution.

  1. No calorie counting. Nope, none! You eat a variety of foods that happen to be lower in calories, are filling, and help to quench your hunger, naturally.
  2. Eliminate (most) label reading. Unprocessed and minimally processed foods tend to be rich in what’s good for you, and not have additives that you want to avoid.

How could you possibly lose weight with this kind of plan? Having bulky, filling fruits and veggies helps you get lots of volume without lots of calories. Including protein and/or heart healthy fats at every meal and snack satisfies your hunger and keeps you feeling full longer. Avoiding most refined starchy and added-sugar foods helps you get off the blood sugar roller coaster, minimizing cravings. And by ensuring that you get enough protein, you are able to maintain more muscle (and thus, higher metabolism) than you would on the old-fashioned type of diet plan. And you will see how it wan’t a lack of willpower that made previous plans unworkable, it was the design of the old plans that didn’t work.

This is a very intuitive plan, that allows you to trust your own sense of hunger and fullness. Yes, we give you suggested meal plans. But you can make your own choices and substitutions. You can follow them exactly, choose a few that seem to work for you, or just use them as a jumping off point. We also give you an ultra-simplified version, so that you can easily visualize how to eat in any type of venue, when new situations arise.

So the DASH diet is remade into the anti-diet. It becomes your new lifestyle plan, to follow for the rest of your life.

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

December 20, 2012

The DASH Diet Weight Loss SolutionYes, there is a new DASH diet book. And its premise is to show you how to reframe your eating habits, and learn how to eat in a way that is more satisfying and helps you curb your cravings. This book is based on long-overlooked DASH research that shows improved results with lower levels of refined, starchy foods. And it also incorporates newer research for weight loss that shows how to maintain muscle, keep blood sugar on a more even keel, and improve health.

All this works without counting calories and without being overly rigid on measuring portion sizes. The new plan actually becomes more intuitive. You fill your plate with lots of low-calorie veggies. You include plenty of protein to quench hunger, longer. You get your sweets from fresh fruit. You have 3 meals and 2 – 3 snacks everyday. You don’t go hungry. And yes, those cravings disappear.

How do we know this? This plan was developed with my patients in my private practice, and perfected with my patients at a US Naval Hospital. Active duty military people need to meet weight standards and they need to be physically fit. This plan helped them meet their goals. And just this fall, we invited people to join a group to be early adopters of the plan from the new book. And they loved it! They saw so many benefits for health, weight loss, and long-term healthier eating.

Now this plan is available to everyone. And you can join our online support group on Facebook and join our Twitter chat at #dashweightloss on December 30 at 2:00 pm EST. See you there!

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

July 17, 2012

The most effective diet for healthy weight loss just got better! THE DASH DIET WEIGHT LOSS SOLUTION turbocharges the DASH diet, ranked as the “Best Overall Diet” by US News & World Reports in 2011 and 2012, with proven NIH research on DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) to create a program guaranteed to speed weight loss and boost metabolism.The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

Based on long-overlooked DASH research and developed into a weight loss plan by the foremost DASH dietitian and leading nutrition expert, Marla Heller, MS, RD, this effective and easy weight loss program includes menu plans, recipes, shopping lists, and more. Readers will enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, lean meats/fish/poultry, nuts/beans/seeds, heart healthy fats, and limited amounts of whole grains. The result: faster metabolism, lower body fat, improved strength and cardiovascular fitness-plus the diet can lower cholesterol and blood pressure without medication, and without counting calories!

As effective as the original DASH is for heart health, this plan is just as effective for weight loss.

This diet plan will be especially important for people with metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, or diabetes. It will reduce your body’s demand for insulin, and reduce the tendency to deposit fat in your midsection. Yes, that’s right – this plan will reduce your waist size, which is an important indicator of health risks.

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution will be released on December 18, 2012. It is now available for preorder at discounted pricing at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you order now, you will automatically be given the lowest pricing up until the date of delivery, and your credit card won’t be charged until the book is sent.


Every few weeks we will show you a photo of one of the recipes in the new book.

July 17: First we have the orange and baby romaine salad. This recipe uses blood oranges, which are beautiful. And the flavors in the dressing are so unexpected – and great!

orange and baby romaine salad

90% of Stroke Risk Factors Under Your Control

June 24, 2010

The top 10 leading causes of strokes are under your control.

1. Get your blood pressure under control. The DASH diet, weight loss, exercise, and medication (if needed) have all be shown to work. The DASH Diet Action Plan shows you how to implement the diet, exercise, and weight loss to maximize the lifestyle changes to improved blood pressure.

2. Stop smoking.

3. Lose the excess belly fat. (DASH diet helps here.)

4. Eat more fruits and vegetables. (Key to the DASH diet).

5. Exercise. (It’s in the plan.)

6. Your diet should contain more of the good fat than the bad fat (Solid fats are the bad ones. They include the saturated fats in full-fat dairy and meats. Trans fats, which are found mostly in processed foods and baked goods.)

7. Keep diabetes under control or prevent it if you have a family history. The DASH diet has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which may reduce or delay your risk of developing diabetes. The DASH diet can also be safely consumed by people with diabetes, while keeping to the low side on refined foods, especially starchy foods. The DASH Diet Action Plan has tips for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes (insulin resistance), and metabolic syndrome (often an early indicator that the likelihood of your developing diabetes is increasing.) A healthy diet, such as the DASH diet, along with weight loss, exercise and medication, as needed, all help to avoid risk of complications, such as stroke, for people with diabetes.

8. Limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day for women, 2 for men. And don’t try to make up for it by having 3 – 4 on a weekend.

9. Learn how to deal with stress in your life. We may not be able to eliminate it, but we can control our response to stressors.

10. Follow your cardiologist’s advice if you already have a heart disorder.

The DASH Diet Action Plan specifically targets the first 8 of these modifiable risk factors.

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