If you need to lose weight and also have hypertension, Atkins is more successful at reducing blood pressure than certain weight-loss drugs, according to a new study. In the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers at Duke University compared the drug Orlistat, marketed as Alli by GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant, with following the Atkins Diet. (Orlistat stops the body from absorbing fat).
High blood pressure, known as hypertension, can be dangerous because it increases the risk of suffering a heart attack. Many obese and overweight people are advised to lose weight to help lower their blood pressure but rarely are they told the best way to do so. Physicians often advise drugs instead of effective lifestyle changes such as following the Atkins Diet.
The study involved 146 patients who were divided into two groups, one following the Induction phase of the Atkins Diet, and the others taking 120 mgs of Orlistat 3x's daily. (Note; the over the counter version Alli is only 60 mg per capsule). The researchers found that only 21 percent of those taking the weight-loss drug saw a significant reduction in their blood pressure. In contrast, 47 percent of those following the Atkins Diet experienced significant reduction in their blood pressure.
According to the lead author of the study, Dr. William Yancy, who also led the blood pressure research, “If people have high blood pressure and a weight problem, a low-carbohydrate diet might be a better option than a weight-loss medication.” He added, “It’s important to know you can try a diet instead of medication and get the same weight-loss results with fewer costs and potentially fewer side effects.”
Side effects of Orlistat can include diarrhea, leakage, and nausea. Those taking the drug were also encouraged to eat a low-fat diet. Orlistat is available only by prescription. Alli is sold over the counter at pharmacies.
The results of this study shows once again that making lifestyle changes, without the expense and side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, which may or may not be effective, are often a better options for a variety of health issues.