Keeping to a low carb eating plan may have health benefits that go far beyond just weight loss. New research indicates that a low-carbohydrate diet was highly effective at helping overweight and obese people lose weight, but individuals that followed the low-carb diet also experienced a good drop in their hypertension.
Diet to reduce blood pressure
If people have elevated blood pressure levels and a weight problem, a low-carbohydrate diet could be a more sensible choice than a weight loss medication."
Researchers say reports have already shown the fact that two weight loss methods are effective a promoting weight loss, but it's the first time the health effects of each have been compared head to head. "It's important to know you can attempt a eating plan as an alternative to medication and get the same weight loss results with fewer costs and potentially fewer unwanted side effects," Yancy says.
Low-Carb diet to reduce blood pressure
During the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 146 overweight or obese adults were randomly split into two groups. Many of the participants also had chronic health problems, such as elevated blood pressure or diabetes.
The first group was advised to usea low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet composing of less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, and the second group received the weight loss drug orlistat three times a day, plus counseling in following a low-fat diet (less than 30% of daily calories from fat) at group meetings over 48 weeks.
The results showed weight loss was similar in the two groups. The low-carb diet group lost an average of 9.5% of their body-weight and the orlistat group lost an average of 8.5%. Both weight loss methods were also not significantly different at improving cholesterol and glucose levels. But when researchers looked at changes in blood pressure, they found up to 50 % of people who followed the low-carbohydrate group had their blood pressure medication decreased or discontinued during the study, compared to only 21% of those in the orlistat group.
Overall, systolic (the top number in a blood pressure reading) dropped on average 5.9 points among the low-carb diet group, compared with an increase of 1.5 points in the orlistat group. Researchers say weight-loss itself typically creates a healthy reduction in blood pressure, but it appears that a low-carbohydrate diet has an additional blood pressure-lowering effect that merits further study.