Diet to deal with health problems
Health professionals have long debated the best dietary practices for people with serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, particularly those associated with obesity.
A recent study has provided new insights into this topic.
The Study: Low-Carb vs. DASH Diet
In a study of 94 adults with these health conditions, researchers looked at two different diets — a very low-carbohydrate (VLC) or ketogenic diet and a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
They wanted to know which diet was more beneficial.
They also considered the impact of additional support activities. These activities included mindful eating, positive emotion regulation, social support, and cookery education.
The result: a clear winner
The results of the study were significant. On average, the VLC diet resulted in better health outcomes than the DASH diet.
- A larger drop in systolic blood pressure (the highest number on a blood pressure reading)—it dropped about 9.8 mmHg on the VLC diet compared to a 5.2 mmHg reduction on the DASH diet.
- Better control of blood sugar levels, shown by greater decreases in glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) – a measure of average blood sugar over three months.
- More weight loss – those on the VLC diet lost about 19 pounds, while those on the DASH diet lost about 10 pounds.
Interestingly, adding additional support activities did not have a significant impact on the results.
The context: A significant health problem
These findings are important because many US adults live with these health conditions. Approximately 47% of US adults have high blood pressure, and about the same number have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
In addition, about 42% are obese. All of these conditions can lead to serious health problems such as stroke, kidney failure, heart attack and early death.
While lifestyle changes, including diet, are often the first line of treatment, there is much debate about the best approach to nutrition.
The Verdict: The Potential Benefits of the VLC Diet
This study suggests that a very low-carbohydrate diet may be more beneficial for adults who are overweight or obese and have high blood pressure, prediabetes, or type 2 diabetes.
Compared to the DASH diet, the VLC diet resulted in greater improvements in blood pressure, glycemic control, and weight loss over a four-month period.
The study, published in The Annals of Family Medicine, adds to the growing body of research on how to manage these common health conditions through dietary changes.
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The study was published In The Annals of Family Medicine.
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