Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

Low Carb = Lower Blood Pressure

The idea that carbs are the culprit for a host of illnesses is certainly taken root over the past 15 or 20 years. Unfortunately, many of the diseases associated with excessive calorie intake – high blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, and extra weight – haven’t disappeared either. Many of our habits are still unhealthy.

However, a recent study found that restricting carbohydrates really does matter. They found that for individuals with high blood sugar or type 2 diabetes a two year controlled diet of low carbs made a significant difference in their blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol balance.

The plus side to this study isn’t just in the results. It’s that it can be replicated and it is not expensive. Reducing carbs in the diet, especially refined grains and sugars, is within reach for almost everyone.


Unwin DJ, Tobin SD, Murray SW, Delon C, Brady AJ. Substantial and Sustained Improvements in Blood Pressure, Weight and Lipid Profiles from a Carbohydrate Restricted Diet: An Observational Study of Insulin Resistant Patients in Primary Care. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jul 26;16(15). pii: E2680. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16152680.

Hypertension is the second biggest known global risk factor for disease after poor diet; perhaps lifestyle interventions are underutilized? In a previous small pilot study, it was found that a low carbohydrate diet was associated with significant improvements in blood pressure, weight, 'deprescribing' of medications and lipid profiles. We were interested to investigate if these results would be replicated in a larger study based in 'real world' GP practice. 154 patients with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance were recruited into an observational cohort study in primary care. The effects of a low carbohydrate diet sustained for an average of two years (interquartile range 10-32 months) on cardiovascular risk factors were examined. Results demonstrate significant and substantial reductions in blood pressure (mean reduction of systolic BP 10.9 mmHg (interquartile range 0-22 mmHg) (p < 0.0001), mean reduction in diastolic BP 6.3 mmHg (interquartile range 0-12.8 mmHg) (p < 0.0001) and mean weight reduction of 9.5 Kg (interquartile range 5-13 Kg) (p < 0.0001) together with marked improvement in lipid profiles. This occurred despite a 20% reduction in anti-hypertensive medications. This novel and potentially highly effective dietary modification, done very cheaply alongside routine care, offers hope that should be tested in a large prospective trial.

Click this link for the complete article: Substantial and Sustained Improvements in Blood Pressure, Weight and Lipid Profiles from a Carbohydrate Restricted Diet: An Observational Study of Insulin Resistant Patients in Primary Care

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