Ketogenic Diet lowers Blood Pressure: Fat for Fuel!!

Low Carb – High Fat Diets

It wasn’t that long ago that low-carb diets were being targeted by medical professionals as unhealthy and detrimental to people’s health. The high fat intake in these diets was thought to be at the root of increased cholesterol and subsequent heart disease.

However, in the last 15 years or so, due to a significant number of studies, the medical field has started to change its tune.

Now it seems that low carb diets are seen to be amongst the most effective in dealing with a number of health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight loss and circulatory and other metabolic diseases.


The Ketogenic Diet – what exactly is it?

According to Dr Joseph Mercola, a highly respected Osteo-pathic physician and Alternative Health Advocate, the Ketogenic Diet is

“An eating plan that’s low in sugar and net carbs (carbs without fiber), moderate in protein and high in healthy fats.

A ketogenic diet helps you reach nutritional ketosis where your body burns fat for its primary fuel instead of cell-damaging carbs.”

The body is designed to use fats more efficiently than carbohydrates with the result that by eating more healthy fats, less protein and carbs you will kick start the body’s metabolism to burn more fat and ketones. Ketones are substances which naturally occur in the body and are created in the liver. These are then the substances which are purposed to be turned into and used as energy.

Additionally, this ketogenic process will also stimulate the mitochondria (the fuel producing elements of each cell) to produce optimal amounts of energy. This is certainly very beneficial to the body as a whole, and especially to the high energy-driven organs like the brain, heart and muscles.

for more info click here


How does this help Blood Pressure?

An interesting side effect of implementing a low-carb diet was found in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  The study group consisted of 146 obese adults, many of whom suffered from high blood pressure.BP monitor

Although the study was looking at the effects upon weight loss of a low carb (ketogenic) diet versus a weight loss medication – Orlistat, the researchers also discovered that many of the adults on the low carb diet experienced a healthy drop in their BPs.

In fact, they found that “nearly half of those who followed the low-carbohydrate group had their blood pressure medication decreased or discontinued during the study

A ketogenic diet also benefits the body in a number of other ways which can then contribute to a lowering of blood pressure.  These include:

  • reducing blood sugar levels.  Carbs tend to elevate both blood sugar and insulin levels which can be a problem for those who are insulin resistant. Therefore eliminating carbs directly benefits both blood sugar and insulin levels.  The kidneys are then able to eliminate fluids more efficiently which in turn helps regulate blood pressure levels.
  • helping reduce the effects of Metabollic Syndrome.  Low-carb diets can effectively reverse all five* major symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome, a serious condition known to predispose people to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes (type 2).
  1. *Abdominal obesity
  2. *Elevated blood pressure
  3. *Elevated fasting blood sugar levels
  4. *High triglycerides
  5. *Low HDL levels

Fat for Fuel – by Dr J. Mercola


A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy

This recently published book presents a new way of looking at  the root cause of diseases.  Dr. Mercola in his ground-breaking book Fat for Fuel comments that most diseases develop because of a “defective metabolic processes”.

… and he goes on to describe how:

“A ketogenic diet, very low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats, is the way to optimize the biochemical pathways that suppress disease and support healing.”

The book takes a close look at how the body works on the molecular level, and the kind of fuel it should be burning to achieve optimal health and energy output.  It also includes detailed guidelines for how to start a ketogenic diet plan.

The book also contains over a DOZEN references to the beneficial effects on blood pressure of a low-carb (ketogenic) diet!




In Conclusion

Whilst a ketogenic diet is probably most effective for those people who are looking  to lose weight, are suffering with type 2 Diabetes or dealing with other metabolic issues, the overall health benefits make this a diet worth considering.   And as an added bonus, you may be pleasantly surprised how it can help keep your blood pressure levels in check too!

If you have had success using the ketogenic diet to help keep you BP under control, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.  Here’s to healthy eating and your very good health!!

14 Comments

  1. Karen

    I just started a ketogenic diet 6 days ago. I take Losartan for high blood pressure. My blood pressure has gone from around 126/80 to 111/75 in this short period. I have also lost 4.4 pounds in 6 days.

    Reply
    1. Nick (Post author)

      Hi Karen,
      Wow that’s excellent!! I hope you will have continued success on the ketogenic diet so that in due course you may be able to come off your BP medication altogether. Thank you so much for sharing this feedback – it is always so inspiring for others to read about someone, such as yourself, having success with a more natural approach to managing blood pressure. Congratulations!! 🙂

      Reply
      1. julie

        my husband’s blood pressure is high 162 over 75 he has been on the low carb diet for three weeks now and lost 3 kilo’s he thought his blood pressure would go lot lower by now? my question is why isn’t going down? he is also going to bed wee hours of morning only getting few hours sleep can this effect it? Also not walking as much either can this effect with it? and doesn’t drink enough water…. can you give me some advice?

        Reply
        1. Nick (Post author)

          Hello Julie,
          The first thing I noticed from your question is that your husband’s systolic reading is high, yet his diastolic reading is normal. Bearing in mind I am not a medial professional, I would like to note that, if this is typical of his BP readings, then it appears to me that he has a condition called Isolated Systolic Hypertension. Obviously I am not privy to all of your husband’s circumstances, but it is worth pointing out that there are several factors which can increase the risk of developing this kind of BP condition, such as: increased age, being overweight, smoking, having diabetes and, believe or not, being a male (Caucasian or Afro American).

          Anyhow, the fact that your husband is losing weight on the low carb diet is positive, and with continued weight loss blood pressure readings should start to improve. I would definitely make sure that the diet included lots of the nitrate rich green leafy vegetables – spinach, Swiss chard, kale, arugula lettuce, beet leafs and also beets, as well as fruits, especially dark skinned berries – blueberry, blackcurrant, blackberry, strawberries. I have a recipe for a Beet Smoothie which I use and which has had good results lowering my BP.

          I think increasing sleeping hours would also be important – ideally minimum of 6 hours each night. I use a melatonin supplement to help me sleep and it really does make a difference. Check out my blog on this HERE.. It is essential that he keep well hydrated with filtered water, and if he can tolerate the taste, try adding 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to an 8 oz glass of water once or better twice a day. Can add lemon juice to help with the taste or a little honey. This has been shown to help both weight loss and blood pressure. Click HERE for more.

          Routine exercise is also so important. My BP readings are usually so much better after I have been active. Nitric Oxide which is produced during exercise is a great vasodilator (widens blood vessels so blood can flow more smoothly). A good brisk 30 minute walk is really worth adding to your daily regime, but failing that keeping active and on the move on a regular basis is what really matters.

          I hope some of the things I have touched on in my response will be of use. There are other options such as supplements, stress management, use of holistic treatments, but I think I have probably given you enough to mull over. Please feel free to contact me again if you need further advice.

          Reply
  2. Karl Bork

    I’m on week four. I’v lost 12 pounds and don’t need my amlodipine any moren

    Reply
    1. Nick (Post author)

      Hi Karl,
      That is just excellent news, especially that you are now free of your prescription medication!! I wonder how your Doctor reacted to that – hopefully in a supportive way!! Anyhow, thanks for sharing your success story. When I started this blog I felt sure that the natural solutions out there could and would help people lower their BP, and you obviously have found the right approach for your particular situation. Hopefully, this will serve as encouragement and inspiration for others to continue looking for the solution that is right for them, too! Many Congratulations!!

      Reply
  3. Becky

    I started a Ketogenic Diet 6 days ago and have lost 4 lbs but my blood pressure seems to have gone up. It’s been high off & on for years but I started riding my bike (outside) several miles a day & lost 20 lbs & it seemed to be helping my BP. But since starting the keto diet it’s been high every day. It was 162/100 This morning. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Nick (Post author)

      Hi Becky,
      Your situation with a BP which has gone up further after having started the Ketogenic Diet is surprising since typically this diet helps not only with weight loss but also with managing blood pressure.
      However, low or no carb diets actually stimulate the production of catecholamines which are basically adrenal hormones and which can cause vasoconstriction leading to higher blood pressure. Essentially the change to the ketogenic diet causes the body stress as it adjusts, but this should back off in a couple of weeks as you become keto-adapted. However, this could well be accounting for the rise in your blood pressure right now as you are in the early stages of this process.
      Another possibility is that the diuretic nature of ketosis, which leads to the elimination of the body’s electrolytes, can affect the balance of sodium, potassium and magnesium in your system. So you may need to add some sort of supplementation, especially magnesium which will help the muscles relax.
      I hope you will see a reversal of your elevated BP as you continue your journey with the Ketogenic Diet. But if for some reason you don’t, then I would like to suggest the option of switching to the DASH diet instead, which has also shown great success in helping people lose weight and manage their BP.

      Reply
  4. Mary

    I too have experienced high blood pressure while on the keto diet for a couple of weeks. While doing research to discover why this may have happened, I realized that I needed to pay more attention to exactly how much of the high potassium foods I could eat on the keto diet. Getting 4700mg of potassium as recommended on the popular doctor recommended DASH diet is almost impossible to do any as I don’t usually manage to follow it completely. Some foods that are ok on keto are: 1 cup Yogurt has 573. Boneless pork chop has 514. 1 cup cooked broccoli has 458. 1/2 avocado has 436. & 1/2 cooked spinach has 420. None of these have high carb. It may take a little more diligence to make sure you get enough potassium. Magnesium is also important as mentioned above.

    Reply
    1. Nick (Post author)

      Thank you for contributing this very useful information based on your personal experiences to the discussion, Mary.

      Reply
  5. Alan

    Been on Keto plan for 44 days and I’m down 33 pounds. I stalled for about three days and didn’t lose anything. I then began the intermittent fasting plan (8 hour period where I eat then fast for 16 hours). It kick started weight loss again. Heading in to get blood drawn to see if I can get off cholesterol meds reduced or taken off them completely. On BP meds currently so hope I can drop those also.

    Reply
    1. Nick (Post author)

      Hi Alan,
      Your progress on the Keto diet sounds really encouraging! 👍 Congratulations on your success to date, and I do hope that this will also be reflected in your Cholesterol and BP readings so you can start to reduce your meds in the near future. Good luck to you!

      Reply
  6. Deanne

    My husband and I are 78 and 67 respectively.. we have been on Keto for several months I have lost 18 kg and he has lost 12 kg.. we love the way of eating.. feeling good.. My husband is type 2 diabetic ( never any meds) and his fasting blood glucose was never under 12… now it has dropped to 6.4 so we thrilled with taht so far.. but high HIGH blood pressure is a worry.. mine has dropped from 176/90 to 118/68 but not his he is still high sometimes 186/98 .. we cannot understand why his blood pressure will not go down after over 4 months on Keto?

    Reply
    1. Nick (Post author)

      From most of the literature I have seen the ketogenic diet typically has beneficial effects, including for someone who has T2 diabetes, in terms of not only blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, but also weight loss and cardiovascular health AND blood pressure. Why your husband’s BP is still not going down is a good question!

      You may want to look at whether your husband is drinking enough fluids and filtered water. One thing about this diet is that the diuretic (dehydrating) nature of ketosis causes the excretion of three of the body’s primary electrolytes, that is sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If an imbalance develops then this will affect blood pressure adversely. For example a magnesium deficiency might be present.

      So it would be a good idea to have these electrolyte levels checked out by his Doctor – and also kidney function, just in case of an issue there.
      I must admit that this is disappointing because your husband’s other levels have improved so well…and I do hope that you can get this sorted out.

      One beverage I recommend for BP is to drink Hibiscus Tea up to three times a day. It seems to work for me, so it might be worth a try!!

      Reply

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