There is no magic cure for hypertension, but the Atkins diet and high blood pressure are being positively linked in a variety of recent studies. Even doctors who formerly were wary of the Atkins approach to weight loss are realizing that the low carb diet can dramatically improve blood pressure readings in overweight patients.
Any negative link between the Atkins diet and high blood pressure is largely because the majority of people who start the Atkins diet are obese or severely overweight. Carrying excess body weight forces the heart to overwork, elevating blood pressure. Once these individuals begin losing weight, however, their blood pressure can quickly drop to normal levels. Another benefit of the Atkins diet is the reduction of bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels and the increase in good cholesterol.
The most recent studies have shown that many obese people who have been on the Atkins diet for several weeks can actually go off the high blood pressure medications they've been taking for years. Don't, however, do this yourself; it's crucial that your doctor monitor your health if you are going to discontinue any prescribed medications.
Scientists used to fear that the low carb approach would lead to high blood pressure in most people because they were eating higher quantities of saturated fats. Studies have ruled out this link, however, because individuals following the Atkins diet properly aren't simply gorging themselves on fatty foods. Instead, Atkins stresses the need for a balanced diet of lean protein, fats, fiber and the proper nutritional supplements. The diet also stresses drinking plenty of fluids. Keeping well hydrated can also contribute to a reduction in blood pressure.
Lowering carbohydrate intake helps your body process insulin more efficiently. Since elevated insulin levels often trigger high blood pressure, reducing your carbs will help your body naturally lower your blood pressure.
One reason many doctors used to fear that the Atkins diet would result in higher blood pressure was because they didn’t really understand the Atkins approach. They assumed that the diet allowed dieters to eat unlimited amounts of protein and fats; this is definitely not what Robert Atkins advised. You are encouraged to eat lean proteins rather than fattier meats and to avoid any trans fats. Trans fats are the unhealthy fats found in foods such as hard margarine, butter, palm oil, coconut oil and vegetable shortening and the Atkins program stresses that healthy, Omega-3 fats should be consumed while Omega-6 fats are avoided.
If you stick to the proper dietary guidelines, you should see lower blood pressure within four to six weeks, or a bit longer if you're severely overweight. The myth of a link between the Atkins diet and high blood pressure will be effectively disproved when your lower weight and lower blood pressure tell the real story.