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DJ Unwin, SD Tobin, SW Murray, C Delon and AJ Brady
Abstract
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.
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