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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

Soy, Low-Fat Dairy May Reduce Blood Pressure

Study Shows Replacing Carbohydrates With Low-Fat Dairy and Soy May Improve Hypertension
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Impact of Soy and Low-Fat Dairy on Blood Pressure continued...

Each participant took all three supplements over the course of the study, and since the powders looked and tasted the same, neither they nor the investigators knew which one they were taking at any given time.

The supplements were formulated to allow the researchers to compare the effects on hypertension without changing other dietary influences on blood pressure, including sodium, potassium, and calcium.

Blood pressure readings were taken three times at each of two clinical visits before and after each eight-week treatment phase.

Substituting Soy, Milk Protein for Carbohydrates

While no change in diastolic pressure was seen, milk protein supplementation was associated with an average lowering of 2.3 points in systolic blood pressure, and soy supplementation was associated with a 2.0 point reduction, compared to carbohydrate supplementation.

The study, which was funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, appears in the Aug. 2 issue of Circulation.

Nutritionist and American Heart Association spokeswoman Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, MPH, tells WebMD that the study offers solid evidence that substituting soy or milk protein for carbohydrates can have a modest impact on blood pressure.

Johnson, who is a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and chair of the American Heart Association committee on nutrition, says one way to do this is to substitute soy milk or low-fat milk for sugar-sweetened beverages.

"We know that sugar-sweetened beverages are the No. 1 source of added sugars in the American diet, and several studies suggest that drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages can lower blood pressure," she says. "To me, this is just another nail in the coffin of these beverages."

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