Keto Takes the Lead: MHERO Trial Reveals Superior Outcomes over DASH

May 26, 2023

Exciting findings have emerged from the MHERO trial: The trial aimed to compare the effectiveness of a VLC (Very Low Carbohydrate, also known as ketogenic) diet and a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet in addressing hypertension, prediabetes, or type 2 diabetes, as well as overweight or obesity in adults.


The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a well-known eating plan designed to help lower blood pressure and promote overall heart health. It is recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) as the best dietary approach for lowering blood pressure. It emphasizes consuming foods that are low in sodium and saturated fats while being rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products.


In many ways, the DASH diet is the opposite of a VLC (ketogenic) diet, which aims to normalize insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity by emphasizing nutrient-dense foods that are low in sugar and starch, high in natural fats, and adequate in protein. And this is what makes the MHERO trial so interesting: the head-to-head of two very different dietary approaches.


In total, 94 participants were randomly assigned to either the VLC or DASH diet groups. Over a period of 4 months, these individuals actively engaged in an online program that provided them with text messages, cookbooks, coaching, and self-monitoring tools.


The results were striking.

The MHERO trial revealed that the VLC diet exhibited significantly greater improvements in blood pressure, glycemic control, and weight management compared to the DASH diet.


  • VLC resulted in a remarkable decrease in blood pressure (SBP): −9.77 mm Hg versus -5.18 mm Hg for DASH.
  • HbA1C levels also showed a greater reduction: −0.35% for VLC versus −0.14% for DASH.
  • Additionally, VLC led to substantial weight reduction: −19.14 lb / -8.68 kg compared to −10.34 lb / 4.69 kg for DASH.

Of particular importance, the VLC diet led to a higher reduction in medication use among participants.

  • Out of 32 VLC participants using blood pressure medication, 12 were able to discontinue or decrease it, compared to 4 out of 42 on DASH.
  • Similarly, out of 9 VLC participants using blood glucose medication, 5 were able to discontinue or decrease it, while none of the 16 DASH participants achieved this outcome!

These findings highlight the potential benefits of the VLC/ketogenic diet in managing high-risk conditions and reducing reliance on medications. While the MHERO trial sets a strong foundation, larger-scale studies are needed to confirm these results. Nonetheless, these outcomes provide valuable insights for health research.

Click HERE for more information on this study.


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