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Carb Restricted Diets Lower Blood Pressure

By Dr. Kristie

People who are overweight or obese and have large amounts of weight to lose sometimes turn to weight loss supplements such as orlistat to help take off the pounds. Unfortunately, many also have high blood pressure as a result of being obese. New research shows that people who are overweight and have high blood pressure may fare better using a low carb diet to take the weight off instead.

A new study shows that low carbohydrate diets help to decrease blood pressure more than using weight loss medications such as orlistat.

Low Carbohydrate Diets for Weight Loss: Blood Pressure Benefits?

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine compared a low carbohydrate diet for weight loss to the weight loss medication orlistat. One group took prescription orlistat and ate a low fat diet, while the other group ate a low carbohydrate diet for weight loss – without using any diet medications.

Which Worked Better for Controlling Blood Pressure?

Both groups lost weight, but the group who ate a low carbohydrate diet for weight loss experienced greater reductions in blood pressure than the group on a low fat diet and orlistat.

Are Low Carbohydrate Diets for Weight Loss Better if You Have High Blood Pressure?

Although this study suggests that it is, there’s some concern that low carbohydrate dieting could increase the risk of heart disease in some people. Studies have been mixed on this - with some showing an increased risk of heart disease and others suggesting that low carb diets are safe.

Some research shows that low carbohydrate diets increase stiffness in the arteries which could put a person a risk for heart problems - and few studies have looked at the long term effects of a low carbohydrate diet.

Some People May Benefit from Modified Carbohydrate Restriction

An Atkins-style carbohydrate restricted diet may not be safe or sustainable in the long term, but modifying the types of carbohydrates that one eats may have benefits – particularly for people who have hypertension, diabetes or insulin resistance. This would consist of replacing potatoes, white rice, pasta and white bread with lower glycemic alternatives such as:

  • fresh fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grain breads


Eliminating most processed and packaged foods that are high in high-glycemic carbohydrates is another good way to encourage healthy weight loss. Reducing intake of processed foods also lowers sodium intake which helps to decrease blood pressure levels.

These simple changes combined with a thirty minute a day exercise program is likely to lead to slow, but sustainable weight loss while lowering blood pressure levels – and it’s the safest option of all. 

About the Author

She is a Medical Doctor with a concentration in Family Practice. She also has an undergraduate degree in both Biology and Psychology and masters in Clinical Pathology.


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