Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Role of catecholamines in hypotensive response to dieting.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 06 January 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:12
  1. R T Jung,
  2. P S Shetty,
  3. M Barrand,
  4. B A Callingham,
  5. W P James


    The effect of dieting on blood pressure and catecholamine metabolism was assessed in 11 normotensive obese women by providing first a weight-maintenance regimen high in carbohydrate and then a low-energy diet. All dietary constituents other than carbohydrate were maintained constant throughout the 18-day study. The low-carbohydrate diet led within 48 hours to a 41% fall in the urinary output of 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy mandelate and a significant fall in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Plasma noradrenaline concentrations also fell and the hypotensive effect of the diet continued despite a maintained total body sodium. Thus the fall in blood pressure appeared to be mediated by changes in catecholamine metabolism independent of sodium intake. This may explain both the usefulness of weight reduction in hypertensive patients and the fainting that occurs in some normotensive obese subjects taking slimming regimens low in carbohydrate.