Background: Weight loss reduces blood pressure, and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet has also been shown to lower blood pressure.
Objective: Our goal was to assess the effect on blood pressure of 2 weight-reduction diets: a low-fat diet (LF diet) and a moderate-sodium, high-potassium, high-calcium, low-fat DASH diet (WELL diet).
Design: After baseline measurements, 63 men were randomly assigned to either the WELL or the LF diet for 12 wk, and both diet groups undertook 0.5 h of moderate physical activity on most days of the week.
Results: Fifty-four men completed the study. Their mean (+/-SD) age was 47.9 +/- 9.3 y (WELL diet, n = 27; LF diet, n = 27), and their mean baseline home systolic and diastolic blood pressures were 129.4 +/- 11.3 and 80.6 +/- 8.6 mm Hg, respectively. Body weight decreased by 4.9 +/- 0.6 kg (+/-SEM) in the WELL group and by 4.6 +/- 0.6 kg in the LF group (P < 0.001 for both). There was a greater decrease in blood pressure in the WELL group than in the LF group [between-group difference (week 12 -baseline) in both SBP (5.5 +/- 1.9 mm Hg; P = 0.006) and DBP (4.4 +/- 1.2 mm Hg; P = 0.001)].
Conclusions: For a comparable 5-kg weight loss, a diet high in low-fat dairy products, vegetables, and fruit (the WELL diet) resulted in a greater decrease in blood pressure than did the LF diet. This dietary approach to achieving weight reduction may confer an additional benefit in reducing blood pressure in those who are overweight.