Rationale and design of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension trial (DASH). A multicenter controlled-feeding study of dietary patterns to lower blood pressure

Ann Epidemiol. 1995 Mar;5(2):108-18. doi: 10.1016/1047-2797(94)00055-x.


Epidemiologic studies have found that dietary patterns characterized by high intakes of certain minerals and fiber are associated with low blood pressure. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is a multicenter, randomized, controlled-feeding trial designed to test the effects on blood pressure of two such dietary patterns consumed for 8 weeks. The two experimental diets will be compared with each other and with a control dietary pattern that is relatively low in potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber, and has a fat and protein profile mirroring current consumption. The first experimental diet, arguably termed "ideal," is high in fruits, vegetables, whole cereal products, low-fat dairy products, fish, chicken, and lean meats designed to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol; moderately high in protein; and high in minerals and fiber. The second experimental diet tests the effect of fruits and vegetables alone. Its potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber content will be at the same high levels as the ideal dietary pattern, while its fat, protein, and calcium content will resemble that of the control dietary pattern. The study population will consist of 456 healthy men and women, aged 22 years or older, with systolic blood pressure less than 160 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure 80 to 95 mm Hg. African-American and other minority groups will comprise 67% of the population. Participants will eat one of the three dietary patterns. The DASH trial has unique features. First, dietary patterns rather than single nutrients are being tested. Second, all food for the experimental diets is provided to the participants using a standardized multicenter protocol. Because the dietary patterns are constructed with commonly consumed food items, the results, if positive, may be conveniently implemented in dietary recommendations to the general public.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blacks
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diet therapy*
  • Hypertension / ethnology
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Research Design*
  • Whites


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins