DASH Diet VS Mediterranean Diet – Which Is Better?

DASH Diet vs Mediterranean Diet

Let's talk about the differences between DASH Diet VS Mediterranean Diet.

Obviously, there are many variables to take into account when choosing a diet.

However, the most important question stays the same – which is better?

This time around, let's take a look at these two diets and answer all of your questions.

Note: This article is based on my own research on DASH Diet & Mediterranean Diet.

DASH Diet VS Mediterranean Diet (In A Nutshell)

DASH and Mediterranean Diet are both viable options if you're trying to lose weight.

But you might be wondering – which one is most suitable for you?

Here's an overview of what this article looks into:

  1. DASH Diet is mainly good if you suffer from hypertension.
  2. If you're focusing on weight loss, Mediterranean Diet is the one.
  3. Mediterranean Diet is also less expensive and more versatile.
  4. DASH Diet might be safer in some cases.

As you can see, Mediterranean Diet is superior to DASH Diet.

Overall, it's much easier to sustain.

Plus, it not as restrictive as the DASH Diet.

Besides – neither of these two diets require you to count calories.

However, you have to pay attention to the portion size, obviously.

Still, the Mediterranean Diet is the more sustainable one.

Even so, you should be aware that it won't lead to fast weight loss.

Regardless, it's much healthier that way.

Just make sure to mind the portion size. After all, this is the reason it's so important.

As for DASH Diet, the only reason you should consider it is if you're looking to lower your blood pressure.

Plus, it's not really designed for weight loss anyway.

So you would be disappointed if you went into it with such expectations.

Unless you are dealing with hypertension, DASH Diet is not worth it.

Overall – between these two dietary regimens, the Mediterranean Diet is the better option.



#1 – Results – WINNER: Mediterranean Diet

First of all, let's look at how these two diets plan to help you lose weight.

After all, that's the main event of this article, right?

Additionally, we are also going to be analyzing other perks that these two dietary regimens may bring.

Don't worry – we will take them one by one, to make it easier.

1. DASH Diet

If you want a full overview of the DASH Diet, feel free to check out its guidelines.

Just to remind you of the benefits that this diet claims to bring you:

  • lowers blood pressure [1]
  • reduces the risk of heart disease
  • improves cholesterol levels
  • prevents diabetes [2]
  • helps with weight management
  • lowers the risk of cancer

As you can see, DASH Diet is not exactly tailored towards weight loss.

While losing weight could be a by-product of this diet, it does not serve as its intended purpose.

After all, the name of this dietary regimen gives it away that it's mainly supposed to treat other concerns.

If you didn't know, DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

That's right – its purpose is to lower blood pressure, not necessarily to help one lose weight.

If shedding extra pounds is your main interest, I'm not sure DASH Diet is the way to go.

2. Mediterranean Diet

While this diet is also not specifically tailored toward weight loss…

It has a much higher chance of giving such results.

But let's see the more general advantages first:

  • reduces risk of heart disease
  • helps with weight loss [3]
  • prevents the risk of stroke
  • prevents/manages Type 2 Diabetes
  • reduces arthritis pain
  • protects against certain cancers
  • lowers cholesterol

Now – don't imagine that it's the top diet for losing weight out there.

Compared to Keto (which is actually quite popular), its results are generally slower.

But that's only because it's more of a general health diet – not specifically a weight loss one.

After all, it's not random that the Mediterranean diet is known as one of the healthiest dietary regimens out there.

Not to mention that it also confers more flexibility than the DASH Diet.

On top of that, you don't have to worry about counting calories.

Overall, it's a much more liberating experience, which also explains why it may be more sustainable.


In truth, neither of the two diets have weight loss as their main target.

However, if that's your intended goal, you're better off going for the Mediterranean diet.

That's purely because its likelihood of leading to weight loss is slightly higher than the alternative.

Not to mention that it's also the less cumbersome diet between the two.



#2 – Safety – WINNER: DASH Diet

Much like any diet out there, DASH Diet and Mediterranean Diet come with their own risks.

As it happens, restricting the food you are consuming may sometimes lead to unfavorable outcomes.

But let's look at this aspect in more detail.

If you want to know which of the two diets is the safer one, keep reading.

1. DASH Diet

Being rather unconventional and focusing on limiting the amount of salt intake makes this a tricky one.

While limiting sodium intake is not a bad idea if you know yourself to often go overboard…

Consuming too little salt can also come with its own risks [4].

More specifically, blood pressure can be decreased by a significant margin.

On top of that, the nervous system, heart, and digestive system could all be impacted negatively.

Keeping this in mind, it would be a good idea to watch just how much sodium you are cutting from your diet.

Other than that, you might experience some gas & bloating at the very beginning of DASH Diet.

This is mainly caused by the high content of fiber that you are ingesting.

As a reminder, DASH Diet is focused on fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

When you are first transitioning into this sort of diet, your body may take a little to adjust.

2. Mediterranean Diet

Moving on to the Mediterranean diet, this one also has a few things you should watch out for.

Let's go over them together:

  • may fall short on some nutrients
  • allergic reactions
  • inflammation
  • weight gain

However, most of these can be prevented.

So long as you don't have an intolerance to nuts, legumes, and grains, you should be fine.

Moreover, try to control the amount of fats that you consume – otherwise you might end up gaining weight.

Other than that, there's nothing particularly serious that you should be wary of.

Generally speaking, the Mediterranean diet is one of the safer options out there.


As you can see, neither of the two diets are particularly dangerous.

In fact, the risks they pose are rather insignificant, if I may say.

If you are judging by the number of potential downsides alone, DASH Diet wins.

However, I would say that you shouldn't have much to worry about regardless of your pick.



#3 – Ease of Use – WINNER: Mediterranean Diet

Without a doubt, it's essential that the diet you follow is easy to adhere to, right?

Let's see – can you eat out while on either of these two diets?

How easy is it to get the food you're allowed to have on these regimens?

Let's look into these aspects, along with some other details.

1. DASH Diet

Aside from regulating the amount of sodium you consume on a daily basis…

DASH Diet also has a few restrictions as to what you should and should not eat.

Again, if you want all the details, make sure to check out the article that focuses solely on this diet.

But let's summarize its guidelines very briefly:

  • whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are very welcome
  • dairy products should be low in fat
  • red meat is only allowed 1-2 per week
  • nuts, seeds, and legumes are encouraged
  • vegetable oils are recommended over any other type of oil
  • candy and added sugars should be close to zero

In addition, you should also try to restrict the following foods as much as you possibly can:

  • full-fat dairy
  • fatty meats
  • sugar-sweetened beverages
  • sweets
  • salt

As you can see, while the guidelines are not overly specific…

You have to give up on what are arguably the most enjoyable parts of one's diet.

Not to mention that these foods are often the cause of cravings in numerous people.

This is especially true when it comes to salt – many people have a hard time restricting sodium intake [5].

But the good part about this diet is that it doesn't completely restrict red meat.

If you're familiar with diets in general, you probably know that a lot of them do that.

To sum up – while you can definitely eat out and find food that is part of the DASH Diet plan…

It's likely going to take a significant amount of self control.

2. Mediterranean Diet

Alternatively, let's now look at what you're supposed to be eating on the Mediterranean diet.

You might find that the two diets share lots of similarities.

However, I assure you that there are also a couple of differences.

Let's see what you are allowed to eat:

  • fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are allowed
  • make sure to include healthy fats (avocado, nuts, sardines, salmon)
  • fish should be eaten at least twice a week
  • red meat is limited to a few times per month
  • eggs, poultry, and dairy are allowed (in moderation)
  • water should be the main drink

Much like the DASH Diet, this one also asks you to limit some foods:

  • processed meats
  • sugar-sweetened beverages
  • processed foods
  • added sugar

As you can see, however, the restrictions made by the Mediterranean diet are much more lax.

This makes this diet much more manageable than the other alternative.

Therefore, I would say you could abide by its guidelines and have a much easier time.


To conclude, if you are looking for the option that poses less of a challenge…

The answer is definitely the Mediterranean Diet.

While it also has some restrictions, it doesn't have nearly as many as the DASH Diet.

Not to mention that being on the Mediterranean Diet means you are merely limiting certain foods…

Meaning that you can still indulge every once in a while.



#4 – Versatility – WINNER: Mediterranean Diet

You might be asking yourself – how accessible are each of these diets?

Well, that's what this section is all about.

Without further ado, let's see what kind of people can follow these diets.

While reading, think about how much of the information applies to you.

1. DASH Diet

In terms of how versatile the DASH Diet is, you have to remember that it's a specialized regimen.

This is to say that it is mainly for people who suffer from high blood pressure.

That being said, if this is not a health concern of yours, it's likely not worth committing to this diet.

In fact, you should know that DASH Diet has the ability of lowering blood pressure in all people [6].

So if you don't want that, you're better off looking for another diet.

Trust me, there are better options out there if you are not dealing with hypertension.

Plus, if your body happens to deplete nutrients and vitamins fairly quickly…

A diet as strict as DASH might be rather unsuitable.

Keep in mind that you have to give up quite a few types of foods, after all.

I would only recommend following the DASH Diet if you are interested in its main purpose.

That would be regulating blood pressure.

2. Mediterranean Diet

I'm sure you know that the Mediterranean Diet has a reputation of being one of the safest out there.

That should give you an idea of how versatile it is.

In short, mostly anyone should be able to give this diet a go with no risks involved [7]:

  • healthy people
  • also suitable for hypertension or heard disease
  • people looking to lose weight through a sustainable diet

As you can see, while the Mediterranean Diet also caters to people with heart disease…

It's not the main focus of this regimen.

Of course, there are also some things you should be wary of.

For instance, if you're allergic to nuts or are gluten intolerant…

Then you should adjust this diet accordingly.

Other than that, there is not much you should fear when going into this diet.

If anything, you should pay attention to your portion size.

This diet does not give strict guidelines when it comes to that, so just be sure that you don't overeat.


Between the two, the Mediterranean Diet is much more versatile.

After all, it is said that most people can commit to it with no worries.

So it's safe to say this is the winner of this section.



#5 – Cost – WINNER: Mediterranean Diet

Last but not least, let us look at which diet is easier on the wallet.

When it comes to this, the differences between the two diets are not extreme.

Still, it's worth taking this into account.

1. DASH Diet

This diet has more restrictions than the other one.

You might think that this makes it more affordable, but is that really the case?

  • high-quality meat is more expensive
  • unprocessed foods in general are pricier

So although your eating options are more limited…

What you are allowed to eat may cost a little more.

Of course, this diet is also very reliant on veggies and fruits, which are not expensive.

All in all, it evens out.

It's definitely not the most expensive diet to upkeep.

However, it is an aspect worth keeping in mind.

But let's see how the Mediterranean Diet fares, shall we?

2. Mediterranean Diet

Although this one offers more freedom, there are also a couple foods that might be costly.

Now – why is that?

Well, the main reason would be the fact that the Mediterranean Diet assumes that you eat fish quite frequently.

Usually, fish meat tends to run a little more expensive than other types of meat.

Of course, that also depends on which fish in particular you are looking to buy…

Luckily, however, you won't have to spend money on red meats!

Mediterranean Diet doesn't encourage you to eat them anyway.

Other than that, lots of plant-based foods to eat.

You know those are quite affordable, I'm sure.

Overall, Mediterranean Diet is more forgiving in terms of finances.

That's mainly because you won't have to deal with meat that often (save for fish, perhaps).


In truth, neither diet is particularly extravagant in terms of pricing.

I would actually say that this aspect does not show too many differences, actually.

Still, the Mediterranean Diet comes out on top by a slight bit.

This truly adds to how popular it is, right?



Final Conclusion

All in all, I recommend the Mediterranean Diet over the DASH Diet.

  • leads to more sustainable weight loss and is easier to follow
  • more versatile and less expensive to stick to
  • DASH Diet could potentially be safer in some cases

In the end, definitely choose the diet that best suits your current situation.

For example, if hypertension is something you're dealing with, DASH Diet might prove more useful.

However, if that's not the case for you, then you might prefer the freedom of the Mediterranean Diet.

Unless you are allergic to nuts or have a gluten intolerance.

But even so, you could just eliminate those foods from the diet.

However, if you are planning on adhering to a diet for long-term…

Then you should seek medical advice first, just to make sure that what you're planning to change won't impact you in a negative way.

Once you have that figured out, you should be good to go.


1 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/-10889801/

2 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/-21058045/

3 – https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/-nutritionsource/mediterranean-diet/

4 – https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/-nutritionsource/salt-and-sodium/

5 – https://www.sciencedirect.com/-science/article/pii/

6 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/-25149893/

7 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/-pmc/articles/-PMC4339461/

Written by 

Sara is passionate about health, beauty and cosmetics. She likes to do research and to find new information about various medical topics. You can connect with her via Linkedin.

Last updated: May 11, 2023

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