When weight reduction was found to decrease blood pressure in the overweight hypertensive patient, it was hailed as the causative factor. A growing number of recent studies indicate that this association may be secondary to a correlation between diet-associated metabolic change and the sympathetic nervous system. A select group such as overweight hypertensive patients may have a genetic predisposition for such a correlation. In overweight hypertensive patients, low-calorie diet and especially very-low- calorie diet, correlate with improved glucose metabolism, a decrease in plasma insulin concentration, and altered norepinephrine concentrations and thus sympathetic nervous system activity. Several of these studies also show a lack of effect of salt intake on blood pressure. Thus, it seems that metabolic changes caused by the decrease in caloric intake are responsible for the decrease in blood pressure. These must be investigated to understand the effect of the different diets on blood pressure. Very-low-calorie diets were found very useful in breaking the vicious circle of severe nonresponsive hypertension to medication.
- Low-calorie diet
- very-low-calorie diet