Low glycemic index diet found to lower health threats from high blood pressure

A new review of a dozen randomised controlled trials has found that a lower glycemic index (GI) diet proves effective for reducing blood pressure and, by extension, reducing heart disease risks.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the features of the metabolic syndrome and a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a common long-term complication of type 2 diabetes.

Damage to nerves and blood vessels can arise from high blood sugars, and heart complications develop much more quickly if blood pressure is high. This is because tissues in the heart are especially vulnerable to increases in blood pressure.

We know from previous research that a lower-carbohydrate diet, which generally is considered a lower-GI diet, is associated with measurable decreases in blood pressure.

In this new research review, comprised of a total of 14 six-week long trials and involving 1097 healthy participants, researchers found similar results.

Thirteen of those trials reported that a reduction in glycemic index by 10 units decreased both systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DPB) by 1.1 and 1.3 mm Hg, respectively.

In addition to that, nine trials found that a reduction in glycemic load of 28 units reduced overall SBP and DBP by 2.0 and 1.4 mm Hg, respectively.

Taken together, these results tend to indicate that lower-GI and GL diet may benefit high blood pressure, likely because they help reduce blood sugar.

It is thought that when the body produces too much insulin and leptin in response to a higher-carb, high-GI diet, it causes blood pressure to increase. Another factor is the effects of glycation on lipoproteins leading to atherosclerosis and therefore narrowed blood vessels.

Yet, one of the first recommendations to lower blood sugar is to cut back on salt. There might be far more to maintaining a healthy blood pressure than eating a low-salt diet, which is a strategy that works for some people and fails for others.

In that sense, this review may implicitly suggest that it is time for guidelines aimed at controlling hypertension to shift focus away from salt and focus greater attention to the likely more consequential reduction in sugar.

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, going on a low-carb, lower-GI diet may go a long way toward controlling your levels. You can find out more by joining our Low Carb Program.


Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body:

  • Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or
  • Being unable to produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time may damage the organs of the body.

From this, it can be understood that for someone with diabetes something that is food for ordinary people can become a sort of metabolic poison.

This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid sources of dietary sugar.

The good news is for very many people with type 2 diabetes this is all they have to do to stay well. If you can keep your blood sugar lower by avoiding dietary sugar, likely you will never need long-term medication.

Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, type 2 diabetes is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide.

How serious is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition that often requires the use of anti-diabetic medication, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However, the development of type 2 diabetes and its side effects (complications) can be prevented if detected and treated at an early stage.

In recent years, it has become apparent that many people with type 2 diabetes are able to reverse diabetes through methods including low-carb diets, very-low-calorie diets and exercise.

For guidance on healthy eating to improve blood glucose levels and weight and to fight back against insulin resistance, join the Low Carb Program.

Following pre-diabetes or metabolic disorder, type 2 diabetes can potentially be avoided through diet and exercise.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the hormone insulin is not used effectively by the cells in your body. Insulin is needed for cells to take in glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and convert it into energy.

Ineffective use of insulin results in the body becoming resistant to insulin – also known as insulin resistance, which in turn causes blood sugar levels to rise (hyperglycemia).

In advanced stages, type 2 diabetes may cause damage to insulin producing cells in…