You need to lose weight, and you need to lower your blood pressure? A new study shows that a low-carb diet may be the way to go.
The study, in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine, studied people on a low-carb diet like Atkins vs. people on a low-fat diet who also took the weight-loss drug orlistat, sold as Alli over the counter and Xenical in prescription form.
Both groups lost weight, but nearly twice as many people in the low-carb group dropped their blood pressure as well.
People who received weight-loss counseling lost even more.
"It's important to know you can try a diet instead of medication and get the same weight loss results with fewer costs and potentially fewer side effects," said Dr William Yancy from Duke University Medical Center, the lead author of the study.
"The findings send an important message to people with high blood pressure who are trying to lose weight,” he said.
From BBC News:
“The researchers, from Duke and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, say nearly half (47%) of those in the low-carbohydrate group were able to reduce or cut out their blood pressure medication, compared with around a fifth (21%) of those on orlistat plus a low-fat diet. The two strategies were equally effective at improving cholesterol and glucose levels, as well as waist size and weight loss.
The participants were offered regular group weight loss counselling throughout the study. Those who attended 15 or more sessions over the course of the year lost significantly more weight than the rest, shedding almost 15% of their body weight.”
The average age of the study participants was 52 and the average body-mass index was 39 (30 and over is considered obese).
Low-carb diets can be controversial because of their reliance on higher-fat foods such as meat and cheese. The Atkins diet, for instance, has been criticized for not meeting total nutritional needs, for not relying more on exercise and for possibly raising a person’s risk of heart disease from the fat consumed. However, participants on the diet lose weight quickly, which some nutritionists say may offset the downsides, especially as a short-term fix.