Keto and Cholesterol Levels: How the Popular Diet Can Affect Your Heart Health
The keto diet has become a popular way to lose weight and improve overall wellbeing. The diet is high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and moderate in protein. But what does it do to your cholesterol levels?
The good news is that research shows keto diets can help lower total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (good) cholesterol. This is due to the high-fat content of the diet, which helps to reduce triglycerides in the body. Additionally, keto can lead to a sudden surge in LDL and triglycerides when the diet is initiated, a surge that may be temporary.
Furthermore, studies have found that a ketogenic diet can help reduce triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and blood glucose, while increasing the level of HDL cholesterol. This is likely due to the carb restriction in the diet, which helps to reduce triglycerides. However, it is important to note that this effect is not seen in everyone, and some individuals may experience an increase in LDL cholesterol levels.
In particular, people with an already high risk of heart attack and stroke should monitor their cholesterol levels while on a keto diet. Studies have shown that the diet can result in elevated LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while reducing HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Additionally, some studies suggest that the keto diet can raise LDL cholesterol levels.
It is important to note that the effect of the keto diet on cholesterol levels varies from person to person. Depending on the individual, a low-carb keto diet may improve or worsen cholesterol numbers. In obese people and those with diabetes, keto has generally been found to improve heart health.
Overall, the keto diet can help lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, while increasing HDL cholesterol. While the diet can lead to a sudden surge in LDL and triglycerides, this surge may be temporary. However, it is important to monitor cholesterol levels while on the keto diet, particularly in individuals at high risk of heart attack and stroke.
What steps can you take to keep cholesterol low while following a ketogenic diet?
Eating foods that are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, such as avocados, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, may help lower LDL cholesterol. If incorporating these foods into your diet adds too many carbs, supplementing with 5 grams of psyllium husk twice a day might be beneficial for reducing LDL.
Is it safe for someone with high cholesterol to follow a ketogenic diet?
It is not recommended for someone with kidney disease, liver diseases, familial hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol inherited from family), or fat-induced lipemia to follow the keto diet, as it could potentially worsen these conditions.
What is the usual cholesterol level for people following a ketogenic diet?
The ideal level of total cholesterol should be below 200 mg/dl. Anything between 200 and 239 mg/dl is considered to be in a risky zone, and above 240 mg/dl is too high and needs to be reduced. For HDL cholesterol, a measurement higher than 60 mg/dl is recommended. Men should have an HDL cholesterol level of over 40 mg/dl and women should have an HDL cholesterol level of over 50 mg/dl.
Is a ketogenic diet beneficial for people who suffer from high cholesterol and hypertension?
Dropping even a reasonable amount of weight while on the keto diet can reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular issues, including obesity and hypertension. Additionally, research from 2017 found that following the keto diet leads to a decrease in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and an increase in HDL cholesterol, which helps protect against cardiac issues.
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