MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’re trying to lose weight and build a healthier body, which diet really works?

This week the US News & World Report ranked the best choices according to health experts.

And the same diet – one you may not have heard of — came out on top for the third year in a row.

You’ve heard it: you learned in kindergarten everything you need to know in life.

So, eat your fruits and veggies. Health experts couldn’t help but to rank the diet built on this premise.

The dash diet, stands for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension.”

Put simply, its aim is to prevent or lower high blood pressure.

The key ingredient? Salt.

“Salt makes us hang on to water, and so then our blood volumes expanded and our blood pressure goes up,” said Dr. Thomas Kottke, cardiologist with HealthPartners.

He says the hand-in-hand benefit to lowering salt intake is weight loss.

“The dash diet is lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, a couple of servings of skim or low fat milk a day,” he said. “And then, one or maybe two servings of meat a day, preferring fish.”

You can think of “dash” as a nearly vegetarian diet, with the exception of four to six ounces of meat or fish a day — and you want to stay away from red meats, which are high in fat.

Since the diet doesn’t restrict entire food groups, Kottke says it’s great for keeping the weight off once and for all.

“I follow it because I want to be the guy with the stethoscope on rather than the one laying on the table in the operating room,” Kottke said.

Instead of salt, use more herbs and spices.

The TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change) Diet finished in second place in the survey. Finishing third was the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Mediterranean and Weight Watchers.

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