Effects of Sodium Reduction and the DASH Diet in Relation to Baseline Blood Pressure

Stephen P. Juraschek, Edgar R. Miller, Connie M. Weaver, Lawrence J. Appel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background Both sodium reduction and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and reduced in saturated fat and cholesterol, lower blood pressure. The separate and combined effects of these dietary interventions by baseline blood pressure (BP) has not been reported. Objectives The authors compared the effects of low versus high sodium, DASH versus control, and both (low sodium-DASH vs. high sodium-control diets) on systolic blood pressure (SBP) by baseline BP. Methods In the DASH-Sodium (Dietary Patterns, Sodium Intake and Blood Pressure) trial, adults with pre- or stage 1 hypertension and not using antihypertensive medications, were randomized to either DASH or a control diet. On either diet, participants were fed each of 3 sodium levels (50, 100, and 150 mmol/day at 2,100 kcal) in random order over 4 weeks separated by 5-day breaks. Strata of baseline SBP were <130, 130 to 139, 140 to 149, and ≥150 mm Hg. Results Of 412 participants, 57% were women, and 57% were black; mean age was 48 years, and mean SBP/diastolic BP was 135/86 mm Hg. In the context of the control diet, reducing sodium (from high to low) was associated with mean SBP differences of −3.20, −8.56, −8.99, and −7.04 mm Hg across the respective baseline SBP strata listed (p for trend = 0.004). In the context of high sodium, consuming the DASH compared with the control diet was associated with mean SBP differences of −4.5, −4.3, −4.7, and −10.6 mm Hg, respectively (p for trend = 0.66). The combined effects of the low sodium-DASH diet versus the high sodium-control diet on SBP were −5.3, −7.5, −9.7, and −20.8 mm Hg, respectively (p for trend <0.001). Conclusions The combination of reduced sodium intake and the DASH diet lowered SBP throughout the range of pre- and stage 1 hypertension, with progressively greater reductions at higher levels of baseline SBP. SBP reductions in adults with the highest levels of SBP (≥150 mm Hg) were striking and reinforce the importance of both sodium reduction and the DASH diet in this high-risk group. Further research is needed to determine the effects of these interventions among adults with SBP ≥160 mm Hg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2841-2848
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 12 2017


  • DASH
  • blood pressure
  • diet
  • sodium
  • trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of Sodium Reduction and the DASH Diet in Relation to Baseline Blood Pressure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this