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Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 in Hypertension | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study looked at the effect of introducing pork into the diet of patients with pre-hypertension (elevated blood pressure). The authors concluded that including pork as the main source of dietary protein instead of fish or chicken had no negative effect on blood pressure levels.

Some background

Pre-hypertension is often managed by making lifestyle changes to such as increasing physical activity and weight reduction. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets encourage consumption of poultry and fish as the main source of protein as opposed to red meats in order to reduce the intake of saturated fats (fats that can build up in blood vessels) and sodium.

The introduction of certain cuts of lean red meat into the diet, that are within the recommended levels of saturated fats, could provide patients with more dietary options.

Methods & findings

The current study examined the effect of adding pork into the diet of individuals with elevated blood pressure following a DASH diet.

19 patients with an average systolic blood pressure (pressure when the heart is contracting) of 130 mm Hg and average diastolic blood pressure (pressure when the heart is between beats) of 85 mmHg were included in this study. Blood pressure (BP) and blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study and after each stage of dieting.

The patients were split into two groups. Group 1 was assigned a DASH diet with pork as the main protein (DASH-P) for 6 weeks. Group 2 was assigned a DASH diet with chicken or poultry (DASH-CF) as the main protein for 6 weeks. After 4 weeks of not following either diet, group 1 switched to the DASH-CF diet and group 2 switched to the DASH-P diet.

Reductions in blood pressure were similar between both diets. The DASH-CF diet resulted in a decrease in BP from 129/84 mmHg to 123/78 mmHg. The DASH-P diet resulted in a decrease in BP from 130/84 mmHg to 122/79 mmHg.

Blood sample analysis also showed total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) were lowered after the DASH-P diet but not the DASH-CF diet. 

The bottom line

This study concluded that inclusion of lean pork instead of chicken or fish had no negative effects on blood pressure levels in patients with pre-hypertension. 

The fine print

This study was carried out on a very small group of patients. These outcomes rely on patients adhering to the recommended diets.

What’s next?

Consult with your physician for advice on how to improve your diet for management of hypertension.

Published By :

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Date :

Jun 10, 2015

Original Title :

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet retains effectiveness to reduce blood pressure when lean pork is substituted for chicken and fish as the predominant source of protein.

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