Descriptive characteristics of the dietary patterns used in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Trial. DASH Collaborative Research Group

J Am Diet Assoc. 1999 Aug;99(8 Suppl):S19-27. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8223(99)00412-5.


The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension trial was a randomized, multicenter, controlled feeding study to compare the effect on blood pressure of 3 dietary patterns: control, fruits and vegetables, and combination diets. The patterns differed in selected nutrients hypothesized to alter blood pressure. This article examines the food-group structure and nutrient composition of the study diets and reports participant nutrient consumption during intervention. Participants consumed the control dietary pattern during a 3-week run-in period. They were then randomized either to continue on the control diet or to change to the fruits and vegetables or the combination diet for 8 weeks. Sodium intake and body weight were constant during the entire feeding period. Analysis of variance models compared the nutrient content of the 3 diets. Targeting a few nutrients thought to influence blood pressure resulted in diets that were profoundly different in their food-group and nutrient composition. The control and fruits and vegetables diets contained more oils, table fats, salad dressings, and red meats and were higher in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol than was the combination diet. The fruits and vegetables and combination diets contained relatively more servings of fruits, juices, vegetables, and nuts/seeds, and were higher in magnesium, potassium, and fiber than was the control diet. Both the fruits and vegetables and combination diets were low in sweets and sugar-containing drinks. The combination diet contained a greater variety of fruits, and its high calcium content was obtained by increasing low-fat dairy products. In addition, the distinct food grouping pattern across the 3 diets resulted in substantial differences in the levels of vitamins A, C, E, folate, B-6, and zinc.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diet therapy*
  • Male
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*