The Benefits of a Low-Carb Diet

by Gumer Liston February 3rd, 2010 | Diet, Heart Health
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If through the years you have tried different kinds of diets, you know that almost all of those diets center on lowering carbohydrate intake. There is a reason why in most diets the daily carbohydrate intake is lessened significantly. Carbohydrates are used by the body for energy. When the intake of carbohydrates is less than what is necessary, the body is forced to break down fat to use as energy. Of course, when fat is broken down and used for energy, you lose weight. This is a condition known as ketosis. But weight loss is not the only good thing that a low-carb diet can bring you; there are some studies that show how low-carb diets help lower blood pressure. A study conducted in 2007 showed that a low-carb diet is better than a low-fat diet in improving good cholesterol (HDL) and triglyceride levels.

In a recent study that included 146 obese adults with the average age of 52, it was found that a low-carb diet was more effective in lowering hypertension than the drug Orlistat. The 146 participants of the study were divided into two groups, one group was given a low-carb diet, the other group was given a low-fat diet and Orlistat. The participants in the low-carb diet were restricted to a carbohydrate intake of less than 20 grams per day. Those on Orlistat were given less than 30 percent of their calories from fat. After 48 weeks the participants in both groups experienced the same amount of weight loss, but those who had the low-carb diet were able to reduce or totally eliminate their blood pressure medication during the course of the study.

The study’s lead researcher, Dr. William S. Yancy, Jr., an associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center, said that they “expected the weight loss to be considerable with both therapies”, but they “were surprised to see blood pressure improve so much more with the low-carbohydrate diet than with Orlistat”. One of the effects of weight loss is lower blood pressure, but low-carb diets may have an additional blood pressure-lowering effect.

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