Fasting May Offer Blood Pressure Benefits During Weight Loss

A new study has shown that starting a diet with a period of fasting may have health benefits. However, before starting any diet, especially one with a fast, it’s crucial to talk to a doctor. While the results of this study were exciting and could lead to changes in how we treat diets in the future, they were part of research conducted by doctors.

The study looked at people with metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure for three months as they followed DASH to see how it helped blood pressure. As one would expect, the highly respected and proven healthy eating style did aid people’s blood pressure. Half the group started the study by fasting for five days. It was an intense fast without any solid food. They saw results in weight loss and healthy blood pressure much more quickly than the other group. The results continued throughout the study and beyond the three months that they were monitored.

The study was small; it was 71 people in total. And, again, it was monitored closely; we wouldn’t advocate anyone taking such a dramatic step themselves without reviewing the research with their doctor. While intermittent fasting is seen as being safe for most people, this is a much more intense, serious process that could be potentially dangerous.

The researchers looked at people’s microbiomes during the study. They found that the bacteria that is linked to lower blood pressure in the fasting people grew and reproduced very quickly and continued to do so even after they had finished fasting. The fast seemed to kickstart their gut health.

Often, starting on a high-fiber and low-fat diet doesn’t deliver immediate results. That can be disheartening when you are trying to make healthy changes. “Those who have this problem often feel that it is not worth the effort and go back to their old habits,” said Dr. Sofia Forslund, one of the researchers who led the study. “Fasting acts as a catalyst for protective microorganisms in the gut. Health clearly improves very quickly.”

As fasting can deliver such fast results, it can be helpful as a tool to help people who have had problems in the past and have given up on diets too quickly. When you see the results rapidly, you are more likely to stick to your new healthy habits and continue to make improvements to your health.

We cannot stress how important it is to speak to your doctor before undergoing any sort of serious fast. This isn’t like only eating in an eight-hour window of the day; this was a carefully watched process. If you are concerned about your blood pressure and think that this study sounds like something you are interested in learning more about, it might be worth discussing it more with your doctor. You can find out if there is a program you could participate in or if there is something that could be safe for you to try. There is no harm in asking, although there might be harm in “trying this at home.”

Banner image: Hush Naidoo via Unsplash
May 19, 2021

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