What To Eat If Your Cholesterol Is Rising On The Keto Diet
If the standard keto diet is impairing your cholesterol levels, there are several adjustments you can make to improve heart health without giving up on keto living.
The most effective change is to replace most of your saturated fat intake with minimally-processed sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This simple shift will decrease your consumption of foods that can impair cholesterol levels while emphasizing fats that tend to have a positive effect.
The easiest way to reduce your saturated fat intake is by limiting these foods:
- Coconut oil
- Fatty cuts of red meat
- Dark chocolate
Eat the following keto-friendly foods instead:
- Protein sources lower in saturated fat fish, seafood, poultry, and eggs
- Fats/oils high in monounsaturated fats extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and duck fat for cooking and dressings
- Nuts and seeds macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pecans, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are the lowest carb options
- High-fat fruits avocados and olives
- Full-fat cheese*
- MCT oil* for a fat and ketone boost
*Though these are high in saturated fat, studies have shown that they dont increase LDL levels.
Essentially, this is a variation of a ketogenic Mediterranean diet that emphasizes cholesterol-optimizing foods. To learn more about this approach and follow a simple keto meal plan, read through our guide to Mediterranean keto.
The Difference Between Dietary And Blood Cholesterol
Although it may sound like common sense that eating a high-fat low-carb diet filled with cholesterol-rich foods would raise blood cholesterol levels, thats not the way it actually works.
Your body expertly regulates your blood cholesterol by controlling how much cholesterol it makes. When you eat more cholesterol, your body makes less. When you eat less cholesterol, your body makes more.
Because of this regulating ability, studies show that foods high in dietary cholesterol have very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in most people . This is why for most people, high-cholesterol keto foods do not negatively impact your blood cholesterol levels.
A 2012 study in Nutritioncompared a low-calorie diet to a low-carb, high-fat diet among 360 overweight and obese participants. After one year, participants on the keto diet saw their total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL decreased, while HDL rose. HDL is often referred to as good cholesterol.
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Ketogenic Diets Impact On V
Provided the research showing an increase in LDL levels in human subjects after a low-carbohydrate diet, what does the research say about extreme carbohydrate restriction on V-LDL and LDL particle count?
In a 2006 study, researchers assessed the effects of carbohydrate restriction on LDL cholesterol in a group of 29 men for a 12 week weight-loss intervention. The subjects ages ranged from 20-69 years their BMIs ranged from 25 kg/m2 to 30 kg/m2.
Their intervention diets consisted of 10% of energy from carbohydrates, 65% of energy from fat, and 25% of energy from protein. Assuming a 2000 kilocalorie diet, this translates to approximately 50 grams of carbohydrates daily.
After the 12 weeks intervention, researchers noted that the concentration of LDL particles decreased by 9.6% from 1180 nmol/L 1180 to 1066 nmol/L. As previously mentioned, lower levels of LDL particles are beneficial to cardiovascular fitness. Additionally, the particle size of LDL increased by an average of 5.2% from 20.75 mm to 21.27 mm.
Researchers also observed that the size of VLDL particle size did not change in either of the groups. However, they noted that the total number of VLDL particles decreased by 19% from 76.2 nmol/L to 61.7 nmol/L. More specifically, large VLDL particles reduced by 40.2% from 3.33 nmol/L to 1.74 nmol/L, medium VLDL particles decreased by 4.8% from 46.2 nmol/L to 44 nmol/L.
From this, we can conclude that a low-carb, ketogenic diet helps you optimize your LDL cholesterol.
How Keto May Change Your Ldl Cholesterol
The impact of high-fat, very low-carb eating on your LDL isnt as clear. Again, as the AHA says, LDL is the type of cholesterol thats linked to atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. It may go up, go down, or stay relatively the same. Hypothetically speaking, if you have a normal triglyceride level and are doing keto to lose weight, LDL may remain stable, says Soffer. Similarly, if you have high triglycerides to start and that number decreases on keto, your LDL may still stay put.
The bottom line is that keto alone may not contribute to the cholesterol spike that some people report when starting the diet. Yet if you start eating more saturated fat because youre on keto, then your LDL will likely rise. An increase in saturated fat intake has been shown over and over again to increase LDL, he says.
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How Long Should You Stay On Keto For Long
There is not enough evidence to definitively conclude if keto is or is not safe and healthy for long-term dieting . However, based on the current research literature and anecdotes from keto dieters, the keto diet seems to be safe and healthy for extended periods of time under these conditions:
- The person is able to achieve a healthy weight and body composition on the diet.
- The person is healthy while following the diet, as indicated by relevant lab tests and their overall sense of happiness and well-being.
- The person can maintain their keto lifestyle without it diminishing their quality of life.
These three conditions serve as helpful indicators for how safe and healthy keto dieting is for you. When all three are met, keep doing what you are doing .
However, if you find that the keto diet is difficult to stay with for the long-term , you can also use it as a short-term tool to help you lose some extra weight and/or improve various health conditions.
For example, many keto dieters dont actually stay on keto all year long. Instead, they will follow a strict keto diet for a couple of months or so, transitioning back and forth between ketosis and lower carb consumption throughout the year.
No matter what dietary approach you choose to use, make sure it allows you to maintain your health, well-being, and results. If your diet isnt doing these things for you, try making adjustments until it does.
High Cholesterol On A Ketogenic Diet
High cholesterol is a concern for many people as they begin following a ketogenic diet. The keto diet, or even just a higher-fat, low-carb diet, has now gained massive support as a modern-day healing strategy. In fact, our ideas about fats and cholesterol seem to have been almost completely reversed in recent years.
That being said, many people see their cholesterol go up after beginning more of a ketogenic lifestyle. Some people get concerned when this happens, so in this article, I am going to address the phenomena of high cholesterol on a ketogenic diet.
In general, cholesterol is traditionally misunderstood. I am going to show why high cholesterol is not inherently bad, and how to lookout for some real warning signs that you are in an inflammatory state. Knowing how cholesterol works in the body and how to interpret your cholesterol numbers will empower you to move forward on your ketogenic journey with confidence.
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My Cholesterol Is Very High Should I Come Off Lchf Diet
I started the LCHF diet in September, thanks to your website. Ive lost almost 14 pounds so Im very happy with that, but I had my bloods done last week and my cholesterol has come back very high, at 10, and apparently my bad cholesterol was high as well. It was around 5 previously. I was on a statin and after watching some videos and reading up on them, I came off my statin about two months ago. My doctor wants me to go on a statin and a low-fat diet but I feel great on LCHF. Is there any advice you could give me?
Whether you need a statin or not is something we cant tell you we cant and we should not, offer personalized medical advice here.
In general, stopping taking statins appears to result in a significant increase in cholesterol on its own.
Cholesterol levels can rise quite a bit for a minority of people who try keto. However, the cholesterol profile usually improves, e.g. the good cholesterol usually goes up the most, this is connected to a lowered risk by itself. For more on the topic see this guide.
Myths Vs Reality: Lowering Cholesterol With A Low Carb Diet
Despite all the research to the contrary, Atkins® low carb diet can be an effective solution to lowering cholesterol. Five hundred years ago, individuals believed the opposite as Atkins allows dieters to consume saturated fats. This mindset belongs to a generation that grew up with the message that eating eggs, meat, and shellfish raises your cholesterol. People were convinced that margarine is a better dietary choice than butter.
We have provided the number two common myths that contribute to why many do not believe Atkins can be a solution for reducing cholesterol. It takes time to change such a mindset, but it happens. Lets take a look at the top two myths related to cholesterol that fuel the misconception that Atkins is unhealthy.
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The Bottom Line On Trying The Keto Diet To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol or triglycerides, speak with your medical team first before embarking on a keto diet. If you get the green light, continue to seek their help. There are a lot of popular books out on how to follow a keto diet, but I think patients need additional support and guidance and ongoing conversations about if its working for you, says Ryskamp. Its a tool that someone can use to improve their health, but it may not be the right tool for them, or the right tool the way theyre doing it, she says.
Keto Diet And Cholesterol: Does It Help Or Hurt
Given the fact that the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet one which emphasizes foods like coconut oil, butter and meat this leaves many people wondering: Is the keto diet bad for your heart? Despite what you might think, the keto diet has actually been associated with improvements in cardiovascular health.
Is the keto diet safe for someone with high cholesterol? Because keto is rich in fats, including saturated fat and cholesterol found naturally in animal-derived foods like eggs and meat, many people will experience an increase in cholesterol after beginning the keto diet. However, studies suggest the connection between the keto diet and cholesterol is actually positive.
Recently, weve come to understand that higher cholesterol isnt always a bad thing, and rather that experiencing chronic inflammation as well as elevated triglycerides, due to causes like an overall poor diet, insulin resistance and unhealthy lifestyle, is likely a much bigger threat.
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How To Know If Your Keto Diet Is Working For You
Although the research and success stories for the keto diet are promising, they do not apply to everyone. Just because someone thinks the keto diet is the best diet for them doesnt mean it will be ideal for you.
This is why we recommend tracking your results to see if your dietary changes are healthy and effective for you. When you are on the keto diet, we recommend monitoring these four variables:
Reasons For High Cholesterol On A Ketogenic Diet
Now that you understand a little more about how these cholesterol numbers relate, there a few other scenarios you should become familiar with. Abnormally high or low cholesterol levels are typically an indication of metabolic adaptations or deeper issues going on.
There are several reasons for this such as pre existing insulin resistance, rapid weight loss, an increase in HDL, thyroid conversion and chronic inflammation. Hopefully this information will allow you to discern what it is going on in your body a little better.
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Keto Diet And High Cholesterol: When Your Doctor Wants You On Low
Keto Diet and High Cholesterol: The link between saturated fat and cholesterol is outdated, and the use of statin drugs to solve high cholesterol problems does not line up with the latest science. Today we explore the history of this old paradigm, what you need to know about cholesterol and diet, and how to successfully use keto to help fight cholesterol problems.
The Importance Of Ongoing Monitoring
People who follow the keto diet should consult their doctors to arrange .
If a doctor notices that LDL cholesterol levels are rising, the diet may no longer be appropriate.
People with high levels of fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, in their blood have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
People with high cholesterol should adopt a lifestyle that reduces these levels. This is because high cholesterol is associated with cardiovascular disease.
The keto diet emphasizes high amounts of fat, but not all fats have equal value. For example, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the 20152020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans .
Saturated fats occur in foods such as cookies, cakes, and other snacks. Coconut oil, butter, and ghee contain high levels of saturated fats, whereas extra virgin olive oil and margarine are higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Fish such as salmon, tuna, and cod can be an excellent source of protein, and they contain unsaturated fat, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which can be beneficial for the body.
People with high cholesterol who follow the keto diet can snack on certain nuts and seeds that are generally low in carbs and rich in fiber and protein. Chia seeds have a higher content of polyunsaturated fats.
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Fat Protein And Carb Intake: How Much Of Each Macronutrient Should You Eat
Although calorie consumption is one of the most critical variables that determine whether you lose or gain weight, you must also take note of how much fat and protein you eat if you want to decrease your body fat % and maintain as much muscle mass as possible.
Lets take a quick look at the importance of each macronutrient and how to find your ideal intake for each one:
Butter Bacon And Fat: The Truth About Keto And Cholesterol
How can eating a diet rich in butter, red meat, cheese, eggs, and bacon not raise your cholesterol levels? Thats like saying eating a whole pint of ice cream wont raise your blood sugar levels, right? Far from it. As it turns out, the keto and cholesterol combo could be a good thing.
You see, a low-carb diet like keto will change your lipid profile but maybe not in the way you expect.
When you know exactly how cholesterol works in your body, you may see keto in a whole new light. Youll also probably need to rethink everything you thought you knew about cholesterol.
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What Is The Relationship Between Keto And Cholesterol
In short, a well-formulated ketogenic diet will likely increase your cholesterol. The reason for this is that keto emphasizes a large amount of saturated fat in the diet, and high levels of saturated fat will increase cholesterol. Now, because of Ancel Keys, weve be taught that high cholesterol is a problem. However, putting it bluntly, Ancel Keys was wrong. In this meta-analysis of 21 well-formulated studies the conclusion was that there is absolutely no relationship between high levels of cholesterol and heart disease or cardiovascular disease.
In fact, in this study, keto was shown to favorably affect biomarkers such as cholesterol, as they relate to heart disease.
So keto will increase your cholesterol , but increased cholesterol has no scientific causal relationship to any sort of heart disease or cardiovascular disease. In fact, studies like the one above show that keto has BENEFICIAL impact.
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