A four-year trial assessed whether less severe hypertensives could discontinue antihypertensive drug therapy, using nutritional means to control blood pressure. Randomization was to three groups: group 1--discontinue drug therapy and reduce overweight, excess salt, and alcohol; group 2--discontinue drug therapy, with no nutritional program; or group 3--continue drug therapy, with no nutritional program. In groups 1 and 2 patients resumed drug therapy if pressure rose to hypertensive levels. Loss of at least 4.5 kg (10 + lb) was maintained by 30% of group 1, with a group mean loss of 1.8 kg (4 lb); sodium intake fell 36% and modest alcohol intake reduction was reported. At four years, 39% in group 1 remained normotensive without drug therapy, compared with 5% in group 2. Study findings demonstrated that nutritional therapy may substitute for drugs in a sizable proportion of hypertensives or, if drugs are still needed, can lessen some unwanted biochemical effects of drug treatment.