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J Nutr. 2004 Sep;134(9):2322-9.

Blood pressure response to dietary modifications in free-living individuals.

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  • 1Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia.


A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods has been shown to lower blood pressure (BP) when all foods are provided. We compared the effect on BP (measured at home) of 2 different self-selected diets: a low-sodium, high-potassium diet, rich in fruit and vegetables (LNAHK) and a high-calcium diet rich in low-fat dairy foods (HC) with a moderate-sodium, high-potassium, high-calcium DASH-type diet, high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods (OD). Subjects were randomly allocated to 2 test diets for 4 wk, the OD and either LNAHK or HC diet, each preceded by a 2 wk control diet (CD). The changes in BP between the preceding CD period and the test diet period (LNAHK or HC) were compared with the change between the CD and the OD periods. Of the 56 men and 38 women that completed the OD period, 43 completed the LNAHK diet period and 48 the HC diet period. The mean age was 55.6 +/- 9.9 (+/-SD) years. There was a fall in systolic pressure between and the CD and OD [-1.8 +/- 0.5 mm Hg (P < 0.001)]. Compared with OD, systolic and diastolic BPs fell during the LNAHK diet period [-3.5 +/- 1.0 (P < 0.001) and -1.9 +/- 0.7 (P < 0.05) mmHg, respectively] and increased during the HC diet period [+3.1 +/- 0.9 (P < 0.01) and +0.8 +/- 0.6 (P = 0.15) mm Hg, respectively]. A self-selected low-sodium, high-potassium diet resulted in a greater fall in BP than a multifaceted OD, confirming the beneficial effect of dietary intervention on BP in a community setting.

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