This one's easy. You control hypertension if you control your weight, and controlling your weight is easy.
LIAR!! There wouldn't be a multi-billion-dollar weight-control industry and millions of miserable fat people if it was easy to control your weight!
OK, so "easy" is a relative term, and anything is easier if you are motivated. If you haven't already read our other Men's Health Tips (MHT) pages on high blood pressure, including:
|The MHT page||What the page is about|
|About Blood Pressure||How blood pressure works in your body|
|Measure Your Blood Pressure||How a blood-pressure measuring kit works and how to use it to measure your own BP and that of family members|
|Prevalence of High Blood Pressure||How likely is it that you or a member of your family has damaging high blood pressure?|
|Find Your Blood Pressure Numbers||Some general ways to learn what your numbers are|
|Relieve Hypertension / Reduce High Blood Pressure||A non-pharmaceutical way to help lower the BP while you work on eliminating the cause|
|Control Weight/Control Hypertension (this page)||Straightforward, relatively easy ways to get your weight down and thereby control your BP|
then read them and get motivated to control hypertension. If your weight is too high, that's the major reason your blood pressure is too high as well. Fix it.
If your blood type is "O", then we'll bet that you can lose all the weight you need to lose, over a period of months by eating lotsa meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and green veggies, and nothing with refined sugar, flour or starch in it.
There. Now either you can ask us to explain, or you can make negative noises. Making negative bitching noises will drown out the good sense and sharp advice you need to hear, so you can control hypertension... which was the goal, right?
Robert C. Atkins (of the famous Atkins low-carb diet) was right. Low-carb eating is the key to losing weight, keeping your muscles (or growing bigger ones), and keeping your cholesterol and triglyceride numbers in the ideal range.
Atkins was also wrong. Low-carb eating is a miserable experience and you can't maintain it for any length of time, and it'll screw up your triglycerides and give you a heart attack.
It's both. He was right for some people, and wrong for other people.
People - the whole entire human race - have a lot in common, but they also have a lot of differences, and some of those differences encompass some pretty big groups. Like, groups trying to control their weight (and control hypertension) by eating the way some other group should eat, and so failing miserably.
Meat will kill you
The bodies of roughly half the population work in ways that make low-carb eating not-for-you. But those same people can eat lots of pasta and rice and tofu, and all kinds of fruit and other stuff, and lose weight and keep it off, and feel good doing it.
If you fall into that category, then the vegans love you, and all those horror stories you've heard about how "red meat will kill you" are true. Besides, Lambchop was not a meal - Lambchop was Sheri Lewis' pet (puppet) sheep... and a bit of a smart-ass with somebody's hand up her backside, but we digress.
Meat will save you
The bodies of roughly half the population work in ways that make low-carb eating the ideal way to go, with meat or fish (or both) at every meal, lots of luxuriously high-fat cheeses and cream sauces, green and leafy veggies (salads mostly), green and/or leafy cooked veggies slathered in lots of real butter, nuts, etc.
If you fall into that category, then the vegans hate you, and all those horror stories you've been told about "red meat will kill you" are misguided, misinformed drivel, or flat-out lyin' bull-shit. Meat and saturated fat are good for you. And the sock-puppet reference to wrap up this paragraph is probably Triumph the Insult Dog (the hand up his butt was one that he ate...).
It kinda does. Though we can interbreed, y'know. (No, no, not the sock-puppets, the two types of humans, the carnivores and the herbivores. C'mon...Lambchop and Triumph... just... just don't go there, ok?)
Well tell you, and you have.
... so you know where we're coming from
We'll get to how this helps you to control hypertension. It just doesn't make any sense that North American populations should have churned out so many diabetics and hypertensives and heart-attack victims in the past century, when it wasn't like that before, and it still isn't like that in many other "advanced" countries. Much of the reason that you have the problem(s) now is due to trends in industry and government over the past century or so. Bear with us for a bit of necessary background.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, while America and Canada were becoming the bread-basket of the world, and food was becoming an industrial commodity, it made sense to process food so that it would last while it was shipped, stored, bought and brought home. The prairies became the biggest farming regions, and you know what grows best on the prairies. Grain.
There was more cereal being grown than anything else, so it only made sense that cereals were where people put the most effort at industrialization and innovation. There've also been substantial subsidies over the years, skewing what gets produced, when it gets produced, where, why and how it gets produced.
In the central east and north, chemical companies like Monsanto found that they could make chemical soups that got the greatest yields out of corn/maize, while also trapping farmers into a cycle where that was almost all they could grow, year after year.
Feed it to the people - feed it to the people food
Corn was an extremely versatile crop that could be processed for oil and starches, the two basic feed-stocks that industrial "food" makers use for endless sorts of extrusions - it all started with Corn Flakes. :-)
When corn and grain weren't being processed into ten thousand "different" sorts of sweetened pap for humans, they were being fed to cattle. Cattle, of course had two uses: meat and dairy.
All these trends - aided and abetted by the burgeoning marketing and advertising industries - led to a massive change in the diets of Americans, Canadians, and eventually much of the developed world.
And naturally, we were told that it was all good for us; remember the grain-industry and dairy-industry sponsored, government-blessed Food Pyramid? That's how the food industry taught our parents and grand-parents that what they produced was what was good for us - all of us.
We've seen the results. Americans and Canadians led the world in increasing our waist-lines. Other countries followed.
Is this where we get to how to control hypertension?
Patience. We're getting to it.
Eventually, some people began to see that obesity trend as a problem, and it was announced that we should all become slimmer... while still eating everything that the agri-businesses were shoving at us. Stores that already carried a bewildering variety of permutations on wheat, corn (maize) and potatoes, began to carry an even greater variety of the same things as "lite" versions appeared (oh, and let's not forget the puffed-rice "treats" that were ubiquitous during the 1980s... Mmmm-mm yum... ri-i-i-ight... yummy as cardboard...).
The weight-loss industry was just a branch of agribusiness anyway, and what they knew was cereal and dairy and the industrial modification of those ingredients.
Early on, somebody had the bright idea that people got fat because they ate too much.
It sorta did make sense.
What didn't make so much sense was how resistant people were to eating less. And it was important because all those fat people were developing diabetes and hypertension and bad knees and fallen arches, and crumbling hip-joints. For humanitarian and economic reasons, if not public health reasons, it was important to stem diabetes and control hypertension in the population. They were killing people and costing the economy billions.
So somebody else had the bright idea that if we ate the same amount but it had fewer calories in it, we'd all get slim again. And the macro-nutrient (those are protein, fat, and carbohydrate) that had the highest calorie density was fat... so fat must be bad. And the macro-nutrient that had the lowest calorie density was carbohydrate, so carbs must be the ideal thing to substitute for fat. Right?
Alright, everybody! You're on a low-fat diet. All you manufacturers, start producing low-fat foods.
And they did. And people kept getting fat. In fact more people were getting more fat. Even though there were all these airy, "lite", low-fat things available to eat, people kept insisting on being fat.
And they were dying of it, or getting sick in ways that increased costs on the health systems.
Well, even doctors and bureaucrats and politicians aren't totally stupid. It was obvious that low-fat, high-carb eating was working for some people. SOME people could lose weight that way. Hell, SOME people could even keep weight off by eating that way.
But so many people couldn't and didn't, and they kept getting fatter and sicker. And there was even more need to slow down diabetes and control hypertension.
Along came Dr. Robert C. Atkins with his novel idea (in the 1970s and eighties) that the conventional thinking was all wrong and people should really be avoiding carbohydrates (all the cereals that agri-business loved to push, plus anything potato and fried), and we should be eating animal products instead. Meat, fish, cheese, butter.
He knew he was right, and he had studies to prove it.
The low-fat crowd knew Atkins was full of crap (dangerous crap), and they were right, and they had the studies to prove it.
After almost two decades of unfair war between the camps (unfair because agri-business favored the side that promoted their most processed, most lucrative products), along came Dr. Peter D'Adamo.
You're both right SOME of the time, or for SOME of the people
D'Adamo, continuing and expanding the work of his father James, basically ignored the other diet faddists and determined that people were genetically built to eat in one of three basic ways, and that those ideal eating regimes corresponded with the ways our immune systems dealt with outside material coming into our bodies (material like germs, but also like... yes... food)."Eat Right 4 Your Type" in a nutshell
The different ways of dealing with foreign material happened to correspond with the major blood-type groups A, B, and O.
To make a long story shorter (he wrote several books), type "O" thrived on a largely carnivorous hunter diet that favored animal-source food, nuts and berries, and certain non-starchy plants (veggies). Those folks were good alone and in small groups like tribes and clans.
Type "A" thrived on farmed volume-grown veggies like grains and beans and a little bit of domesticated meat. They did well in larger numbers, packed together - city dwellers with lots of company.
"B" was the wandering crowd, nomads who hunted and gathered, but also traded with the cities for some food, and maintained wandering herds from which they'd get milk (as well as leather, textiles and other things). Cheese and fermented products were staples in their diets - stuff that could be made and carried over distances without going bad. Milk doesn't last very long without refrigeration, but hard cheese does.
Type "AB" is a very small percentage of the population and has dietary needs and tastes very similar to "A", so in coarse and over-simplified portrayal like this, we can just lump the "AB" people in with the "A" people. Have some cereal.
Humans, being humans, any of the groups could eat what any of the other groups ate, but we tend to just survive when we eat other-people food and we tend to really thrive when we eat the kinds of food to which our natures are best suited.
Yep. D'Adamo's ideas are certainly supported by a lot of research - but then so were the ideas of the low-fat people and the low-carb people. Just as the previous crews had been both right and wrong, D'Adamo probably doesn't have the whole picture either. But a major benefit of his work is that it explains WHY the other two major "this is the way to eat" camps were right for some big parts of the population but wrong for other big groups.
Because they had their religious fervor up, and their blinders on, the low-fat group and the low-carb group looked at evidence that:
and they decided that those observations meant their (respective) regimes were "the one true way" to eat and be healthy and happy... and anybody who wasn't successful at it was just doing it wrong or cheating.What does that tell us?
One important thing to realize, then, is:
The simple answer to that is: "One that works for you."
Yes, yes, but you're looking for actual guidance.
Well, you could do worse than to read any of Peter D'Adamo's earlier books. (We think he's gotten a wee bit flaky with his more recent excursions, but that doesn't negate the value of his earlier work.) They're reasonably well-written and accessible. And if you're cheap and can put up with a little bit of inconvenience, get the "Eat Right 4 Your Type" and "Live Right 4 Your Type" books from the library.
Is this infallible, then?
Of course not. That would be too easy, and why would you need us?
Elsewhere on this site, we chat briefly about the bell curve, that handy-dandy depiction of the "normal distribution", whereby if you plot any given population against a given trait (in this case, blood type or perhaps "type of diet on which you'll thrive", then the resulting curve looks like the silhouette of a bell (or a pig in a python) ... it starts out skinny, with just a few people having the least amount of (or affinity for) the trait, rises to a big bulge with most of the population having a middle-ish amount of (or affinity for) the trait, and then tapers off to people who have the absolute most amount of (or affinity for) that trait.
In other words, given (say) a large group of people with blood type "O", some of them will be at the high end and be real full-on carnivores who see salad and say "That's not food! That's what food eats!". Some type "O" people will be fine with only occasional meat on their plate, and lots of veggies and fruit. The vast majority will fall into the middle area, where they'll enjoy - and do best - with a substantial portion of their diet being animal protein (meat, fish and fowl), but with a fair bit of veggies, fruit, nuts, dairy... In other words, a fairly balanced diet favoring meat.
In the same way, people of type "A" will include some few who actually like a fair bit of meat, and don't love their veggies, a few who never ever touch meat and eat only plants, and a huge middle population (of "A" folks) who eat a fairly balanced diet that includes meat but favors veggies and fruits and grains.
Type "B" people will tend to have the most "catholic" tastes, but with the majority favoring lots of dairy, yogurt, kefir, but a wide-ranging balance of veggies, fruit, meat-and-seafood, etc.
The low-fat trend was around long enough that there's lots of well-researched info about how to do it. About 20 million recipes, and thousands of low-fat convenience foods, etc.
The low-carb trend has been around for less time, but it's still been decades, and there's lots been written and discussed on how to do it properly.
So, all you have to do is decide which one is for you.
How hard can that be?
For most people, not too hard. If you are strongly one way or the other (you enjoy being vegan, or you are a happy, committed carnivore), then follow that path with some conviction and it'll work for you.
If you are somewhere in the middle and a little unsure, then read up on D'Adamo's work for some help in deciding. Learn your blood type. Your doctor can tell you. You find out when you donate blood. You can get a kit and test yourself.
The general rule is to find out what your body's preferred path to good eatin' and good health is, and cleave to it. Don't try to follow the other guy's (or your girl-friend's) way - that's probably why you are overweight and sloppy right now.
Blessed is the man who's wife is:
Absolutely. Wheat and corn.
What about them?
Everybody? Or just the meat eaters?
What ever for?
Well, one thing that D'Adamo found and that a lot of other people (and their research) seem to agree with is this: no matter which basic type of eating is best for you, almost nobody actually thrives on processed wheat and corn.
If you need a higher-carb diet, get your flour from Spelt or Amaranth or kamut or some other grain that's not modern wheat.
Modern wheat is modern wheat because:
Unfortunately, the changes that made wheat into a high-yield crop suitable to grow in enormous quantities on vast factory farms also changed its makeup in ways that are not good for most people, compared to other grains.
For many people, elements of the makeup of wheat, in particular are behind gut problems, inflammation and deterioration in joints, excessively acid muscle tissue, and assorted other reactions that cause our lives to be less than they could be.
Switch to a less common, but very similar ancestor grain like Spelt, and (for most people) those problems go away while they still get all the benefits of a wheat-like grain (spelt makes fine bread and other baked goods - you'd never know they weren't made from "regular" wheat).
Of course, the wheat industry won't agree with that, and they'll throw all sorts of history and food scientists at you to convince you of their position - much the way the tobacco industry does. OK, that was a little bit of dirty pool there. It's more recent that people have begun to understand the problems with the most popular varieties of wheat, so it's not like there's an industry of callous, cold-hearted conniving bastards who are knowingly selling poisonous cancer-sticks and telling you there's no problem.
Most wheat farmers still think they're doing a good thing, and wheat does have tremendous food value. Fills a LOT of tummies all over the world. Cheap, too.Then, there's corn (maize)
If you must eat corn, eat it from the cob, not processed. Corn sugars seem to screw up everybody. But they're much, much worse for people (type O and type B) who should be minimizing their carb-ish consumption anyway.
Corn, unlike wheat, doesn't cause inflammation and joint damage and gut problems in most people. Instead, corn - especially refined, processed corn starch and sugars (corn syrup anyone? "corn solids"?) is really bad for your sugar metabolism.
Processed corn sugars in the vast majority of processed foods are the reason that so many of us are fat and diabetic (or heading for diabetes).
Like wheat, corn is used throughout the agri-business repertoire because it is easy to grow, and it's been re-designed to be easy to process and to have the maximum quantities of the easy-to-process components.
Ancestors of modern wheat had fewer and smaller kernels per stalk, but those kernels were also full of a variety of good things. Modern wheat kernels are skewed toward some protein and they bulge-at-the-seams with maximum starch.
The ancestral corn (maize for you Brits, Aussies, New Zealanders) favored by the North American Indians (sorry, Native People... sorry, First Nations People... sorry, what are you called this week?) was smaller and tougher and not nearly as sweet, but it had far greater (and better-rounded) food value.
The corn that made the Mexican people a tough, hardy, resilient bunch is a far cry from the sweet, starchy, bloated stuff that has turned Mexico into a nation of diabetics, right up there with Americans and Canadians.
It turns out that the particular sugar molecules that are derived from corn are insidious in making us want more-of-same - carbohydrate addiction would be a tiny, tiny fraction as widespread if it were not for modern corn and it's sugars added to almost every processed food in the world. Monsanto's great success... and a sub-division of theirs will sell you drugs to help deal with your hypoglycemia or diabetes.
Reminds us of a cartoon in Playboy magazine 30 years ago:It was a vending kiosk in Central Park. One side of the kiosk sold bags of bread-crumbs and seed under a sign "Feed the pigeons".The other side of the kiosk sold meat-on-a-stick under a sign that said "Fresh Squab".
(Squab is young pigeon...)
So, eat for your type/general constitution, avoid processed food, particularly if it contains wheat or corn.
Do that, and you'll do fine. Your weight will slowly but steadily trend toward the ideal, your cravings, headaches, mental fog, and general crankiness will disappear, you'll become more likable and effective, and your sex-life will improve. You'll be more flexible and you'll hurt less, particularly when you get out of bed, or the day after a workout or bout of gardening.
For the large majority of you, that's no slightest exaggeration at all. The real blessing is that if you just do the bit of research to confirm which regime is the right one, and then commit to just a few days of eating that way, the very thing you are doing makes it easier to continue. That is, somebody who is a natural carnivore, for example, will find that two or three days of strict low-carb eating is enough to banish your carb cravings - you'll be indifferent to desserts, potato chips, pasta.
Well, nobody can ignore the aroma of fresh-baked bread, but c'mon... stay out of bakeries - you have no business being there if you are supposed to be eating low-carb. And do not whine to us that your profession is Pastry Chef. Just don't.
If you are a corner case, somebody who's way out on the wrong edge of your group's bell curve, you have our sympathy. It'll be much tougher and more obscure to sort out your problems.
There's no way in hell that your writer here could have lost 25 pounds in a few months and be on his way to losing the remaining extra 25-or-so if he, as a confirmed carnivore, was trying to follow Weight-Watchers or (shudder) vegetarian eating style. He'd be bleeding at the eyeballs each day, feeling hungry, angry, debilitated -- all the things that real vegetarians are not.
But instead, he's been eating in a pretty-much Atkins style (with a week off around his wife's birthday - must have cake when it's your wife's birthday), and it's been great. He has no cravings, he's alert, he sleeps better and awakes refreshed, his muscles are improving with basically no exercise, he's more flexible, his stamina is improving. The only downside has been that the food bill is a little higher. Rib steak. MMmmm. Inch-and-a-quarter Costco/Kirkland lamb-chops. MMMMMMmmm. Salmon. mmm Scallops... big, honkin', sweet, tender, flavorful sea scallops... MMMMMMMMMMMMMM! Bacon-wrapped.... And the many salads taste so much better than salad ever used to taste... Everything tastes better, and with less salt. It's like when smokers quit and their tastebuds come back from the dead, except this writer never smoked........ at least not tobacco..... ahem.
When he gets where he's going, he'll be able to add more fruit back into the daily consumption. That'll be nice.
When you stop having bread, and potatoes, and rice, and pasta, along with all the desserts and chips and candy, it takes just three or four days and you no longer miss the desserts. You can walk past the free muffins, danish and bagels at the office and not even blink. It's amazing.
There's an equivalent for the guy who is built to consume more fruit and veggies. Except for the eating more meat part, the herbivore guy's approach to cleaning up his diet and wiping out his cravings is strangely similar to what the carnivore did: get rid of the wheat, corn and processed stuff. Eat raw or freshly cooked food. No baked goodies, no packaged snacks. Within a few days, you'll be as amazed as the meat-eating guy a couple of paragraphs back.
Just, the two of you, DON'T try to adopt the other guy's proper way of eating... and don't let anybody try to pressure you into an eating style that's not right for you.
All the nasty effects that the busybodies predict become true only when you mix the wrong stuff for the way your particular innards work.
Red meat in quantity IS bad for herbivore guy. It WILL clog your arteries and pollute your system. You should be eating small portions of chicken and maybe fish, almost as a condiment among big servings of veggies.
But red meat is fine for me. It's GOOD for me... as long as I'm not consuming grains and processed crap along with it. The juicy hamburger is a problem for me only when it comes with that hamburger bun. Leave out the bun, and all that "grease" is not an issue. It's the refined carbs in the bread and the ketchup that make that lovely saturated fat into something that can kill my heart.
Never more than in the matter of what you put into your face is it so important to "be true to yourself".
Go forth and eat like the kind of man that you are, not the kind of man that somebody else tells you you should be.
Eat the way you were meant to be, and thrive.
Spock said it best: Live long, and prosper!
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