What Happens To Hdl Levels On A Keto Diet
Though eating fat doesnt affect blood cholesterol levels in a standard carb-heavy diet, when carbs are restricted and fat becomes the basis of your diet, HDL levels ultimately improve.
So on a keto diet eating fat does affect your cholesterol levels, just in the opposite way weve been told!
Supporting these observations, A 2017 review of human and animal studies found keto diets to be generally associated with reductions in total cholesterol, increases in HDL decreases in triglycerides, and reductions in LDL .
A 2020 high quality randomized control study of 34 older adults with obesity found that over 8 weeks participants on the keto diet lost three times the body fat compared with a group eating a low-fat diet. The keto group also had greater improvement in insulin sensitivity, triglyceride levels, and HDL cholesterol
A 2013 meta-analysis of 12 high quality studies involving more than 1200 participants investigating the impact of very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets vs. low fat diets, found that the average increase in HDL particles in the low carb group was double that of the low fat group .
Taken together these findings all affirm that differences in HDL are due to carbohydrate intake, not fat intake.
Two Myths Related To Low Carb Diets & Cholesterol
Myth 1: Foods high in cholesterol raise your blood cholesterol.
Your dietary intake of cholesterol determines the level of cholesterol in your blood, so cholesterol could muck up the works by clogging blood vessels. For this reason, we were all advised that consuming less dietary cholesterol would keep blood cholesterol under control. Reality: It is commonly accepted in the medical community that the majority of the cholesterol that ends up in your blood is produced in your liver only about 25 percent is absorbed from food1. This means that there is not a significant relationship between the amount of cholesterol a person consumes and their blood-cholesterol levels.The advice to avoid high-cholesterol foods has been moderated and with good reason. Visit our list of approved low carb foods for additional information and suggestions on what to eat. Egg yolks, for example, contain a lot of cholesterol, but they also are rich in important nutrients that may lower heart-disease risk, such as vitamins D and B12, riboflavin and folate. Shrimp and lobster, also notorious for high cholesterol contents, contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and are rich in selenium and vitamin B12. Consuming a diet made up of nutrient-dense, whole foods and maintaining a physically active lifestyle are the best things you can do to keep cholesterol levels in check.
How Does Keto Or Low
In some people who follow keto or low-carb diets, blood total cholesterol goes up little, if at all. Some even experience a drop in LDL cholesterol after starting low carb. However, others experience an increase in both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels.11 Or, there is an increase only in HDL cholesterol resulting in an improved LDL/HDL ratio.12
One meta-analysis of randomized trials reported that people eating a low-carb diet, on average, experience a reduction in both total LDL and small LDL particles, as well as an increase in the peak LDL size.13
A rise in cholesterol during keto or low-carb eating may be related to losing weight. Although cholesterol levels often drop during the first 2-3 months of losing large amounts of weight, there can be a later rise in cholesterol that persists until weight stabilizes. Once weight loss ceases, cholesterol levels tend to come back down.14
Therefore, it could make sense to wait until someones weight has been stable for a few months before assessing cholesterol levels.
For an estimated 5 to 25% of people whether weight loss occurs or not LDL cholesterol goes up significantly in response to very-low-carb diets, sometimes by 200% or more. Many of these folks seem to belong to a group that Dave Feldman at Cholesterol Code refers to as lean mass hyper-responders .15 These often healthy people are sometimes shocked to discover that their LDL cholesterol has soared above 200 mg/dL after going keto.
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Eating Cholesterol Doesnt Give You Cholesterol
The idea for years was that eating foods rich in saturated fat were detrimental to our health and responsible for clogging our arteries. This is not what’s been found in available scientific studies, however, and anecdotal data related to how eating a ketogenic diet affects one’s cholesterol and lipid profile. Let’s be clear, cholesterol does matter and is vital to optimal health. The types of cholesterols you consumesimilar to the case with the intake of quality as opposed to trans fatsalso contribute to the vitality of the mind and body.
Does Eating Cholesterol Clog Your Arteries
You can get cholesterol from eating animal foods like eggs, cheese, meat, and dairy but your body can also produce its own. An average 150 lb weighing male can synthesize 1000 mg of cholesterol a day. One single egg has 200 mg of cholesterol. The typical US dietary intake of cholesterol is about 307 mg. In that case, about 75% of your bodys cholesterol gets produced by the body internally and 25% gets ingested externally.
Most of the cholesterol you eat gets esterified and is poorly absorbed. In the short term, cholesterol levels will rise as fats are being distributed around. The body also reduces its own cholesterol synthesis when you consume it from food. Therefore, eating more cholesterol will not raise your cholesterol in the long run.
When you look at the mechanism of cholesterol transportation, then higher cholesterol in your blood also means that youre burning more fat for fuel as well.
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You Can Be In Control
With the above steps, you can take control by designing your own experiments to see how you can best alter your lab results. Just remember to focus on your entire health picture the goal should be lowering your LDL without losing any of your low-carb benefits. Work with your doctor to ensure safety and efficacy. And if you need a doctor more familiar with low carb, be sure to check out our low-carb doctors directory.
A point of contention in lipid research is that few if any trials focus on people following a whole-food, low-carb diet. Therefore, it is unknown if the conclusions from studies of people following a low-fat diet or standard Western diet are applicable to those on a low-carb diet.
Most experts in the field of lipidology assume the risk is the same, although some question this. In the absence of specific data, some may choose to be more conservative while others may be more permissive with elevated levels. & larrhk
Effect Of Saturated Fat
A review of low-fat diets versus low-carb, high-fat diets greater than 12 months long looked at the effects on cholesterol levels in overweight or obese people.
Researchers found that decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were significantly more noticeable in those following low-fat diets. In contrast, an increase in HDL cholesterol and a reduction in triglyceride levels were more apparent in high-fat-diet participants.
Whether cholesterol increases or decreases largely depends on how the very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet is followedparticularly with the types of fats consumed.
The study authors further found that in high-fat diets, decreased total cholesterol levels were associated with lower intake of saturated fat and higher polyunsaturated fat intake. In comparison, increased HDL cholesterol was related to a higher intake of monounsaturated fat.
Lower saturated fat intake was marginally related to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Additionally, increased triglyceride levels were associated with higher intakes of carbohydrates.
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The Truth About Keto And Cholesterol
Most of what is known about how cholesterol works has been based on the standard American diet,, which typically includes high levels of carbs.
As scientists continue to show that low-carbohydrate diets like keto can improve your health and lead to better total cholesterol numbers, there will be more research and results to discuss.
To lower your heart disease risk and boost your HDL and lower your LDL cholesterol, try adding healthy dietary fats like avocado and coconut oil and monounsaturated fat like olive oil to your diet ASAP.
These are keto-approved foods and excellent for your heart health no matter which diet you ultimately choose.
Understand The Difference Between Ldl
Most cholesterol blood tests measure LDL-C, the total amount of cholesterol carried in our LDL particles. However, LDL-P, or the total number of LDL particles in our blood, is an even better marker of cardiovascular risk.3 Some studies on low-carb diets have shown an increase in LDL-C with either no change or a decrease in LDL-P .4
How does this happen? Studies show that carbohydrate restriction can change small LDL particles into larger ones.5Therefore, there may be more overall cholesterol, but fewer LDL particles. In theory, this may not indicate a substantially increased cardiovascular risk and may not require corrective action. However, it is unclear if there is a threshold level beyond which this hypothesis may not hold.6
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You Want The Good Cholesterol
The problem with going on a low fat low cholesterol diet is that your body would still keep producing its own cholesterol. Arguably youd be making more of it because of not getting it from the diet.
In fact, a lot of people suffer from low levels of HDL cholesterol, which prevents their body from clearing out cholesterol from the blood. Most Americans dont have enough HDL to decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease. Crazy enough, low cholesterol levels are actually associated with increased mortality from stroke and heart disease.
Low Carbohydrate ketogenic diets with less than 50 g of carbs a day have been found to be better for long-term cardiovascular risk factor management compared to low-fat diets with less than 30% of calories coming from fat. They can also raise HDL 4x times as much as a low-fat diet.
Long-term ketogenic diets reduce body weight, decrease triglycerides, lower LDL and blood glucose, and increase HDL cholesterol without any side-effects.
Thats why you cant make the conclusion that well-formulated low carb high fat ketogenic diets are bad for you because youre trying to focus on cholesterol. In reality, the cause of heart disease isnt the cholesterol its the inflammation and high sugar diet combined with oxidized fats.
Cutting Through The Fat: What Are Lipids And Cholesterol
Before we can examine the research, we need to understand the roles fat, cholesterol, and carrier molecules called lipoproteins play in the body.
Fats, also known as lipids, are a diverse group of molecules with a non-polar characteristic that repels water. This means that you if you put a fat in water, they will not mix.
In the human body, fats are most commonly found in the bloodstream in one of two forms. The first is triglycerides, a fatty acid that stores energy for later use.
These long molecules can be broken down into other fatty acids and glycerol to create fuel for the body. Glycerol can further be broken down and converted into glucose. Elevated levels of triglycerides in your blood can increase your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, and other life-threatening diseases.
The other important class of lipids in the body is a waxy substance called cholesterol. These molecules have a variety of functions in your body such as building hormones including estrogen and testosterone, maintaining the integrity of cell membranes, and aiding in the absorption of vitamins.
Your body produces all the cholesterol you need in the liver and other cells throughout the body. Cholesterol is also obtained by consuming animal-based foods such as poultry, dairy, and red meat. Typically, 75% of the bodys cholesterol is produced endogenously while the other 25% is ingested from external sources.
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What Happens To Your Cholesterol On A Ketogenic Diet
ââFor most people, a ketogenic diet leads to improvements in cholesterol, but there are sometimes transient rises in cholesterol levels during weight loss. During rapid weight loss, cholesterol that you had stored in your adipose tissue is mobilized, which will artificially raise serum LDL as long as the weight loss continues. To avoid being misled by this, the best time to check blood lipids is a couple of months after weight loss ceases. Total cholesterol includes HDL , which usually goes up 10-15% on a ketogenic diet. That said, some people have high calculated LDL cholesterol values even after weight loss stops. If this occurs, you should discuss further diagnostic tests with your doctor. Current research is looking at LDL cholesterol as a mix of different particle sizes, where the small ones are dangerous and the larger ones are not. With a well-formulated ketogenic diet, we see a shift away from the small dangerous LDL even when the total LDL goes up.
Chronic Inflammation And Stress
Both Inflammation and stress elicit similar mechanisms one of which is an increase in cholesterol levels to bring the necessary nutrients to our tissues to help them heal and recover.
If you have chronic inflammation and/or stress, you may also have persisting high cholesterol levels which, in most cases, isnt doing anything but causing more problems. The preponderance of this chronic inflammation and stress is typically caused by a variety of lifestyle factors, from eating foods that trigger inflammation to sleeping poorly.
Fortunately, the keto diet has been found to decrease inflammation . However, if you still have high levels of inflammation after following the keto diet, then you may have to address other important variables like your stress levels, sleep quality, and food allergies/sensitivities before your cholesterol levels can rest at healthier levels.
One way to find out if the keto diet is helping quell your chronic inflammation is by seeing how your C-reactive protein levels change over time on your routine blood test. If CRP levels decrease after youve made your lifestyle and dietary changes, then you are on the right track. The ideal result is if your cholesterol levels are optimized along with that.
However, for those of you who see a drop in inflammation and a worsening of your cholesterol levels, you may have one of the two issues that we explored earlier.
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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.
The Food Plan Wesley Milks Md Adopted To Cut His Ldl Without Meds
As a cardiologist, patients often ask me for ways to lower their cholesterol without taking statins. They wonder how effective and viable alternatives can be and what strategies they can use to lower their cholesterol in other ways.
I often tell my patients at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center that diet is key. A focus on a plant-based diet, reducing saturated fat, and increasing fiber with vegetables and whole grains, has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels with or without the use of statins. Those levels can drop further by incorporating supplements like soluble fiber products or plant sterols and stanols.
So several months ago, when my own LDL cholesterol climbed above the optimal range , I decided to find out for myself.
I’m 34, and have few traditional risk factors for atherosclerotic disease, aside from a family history. But because LDL cholesterol levels are so tightly associated with heart disease risk, I wanted to take action and change the way I eat.
Major portions of my diet, growing up in Ohio, included the standard American fare of bacon, eggs, and toast for breakfast, a sandwich and chips at lunch, and then “meat and potatoes”-based dinners. I indulged in pork barbecue, complete with Southern-style fixings, during medical training in North Carolina. So, I feel equipped to commiserate with my patients by sharing my personal journey down a new path.
Predominantly Pescatarian: My Modified Mediterranean Diet
Less Red Meat
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The Basics: What Is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is essential for the life of all animals, including humans.2 Cholesterol is found in virtually every cell of your body and is necessary for many bodily functions, including:
- Cell integrity: As an integral part of every cell membrane in the body, cholesterol is required for maintaining cell structure and fluidity.
- Hormone synthesis: Cholesterol is needed to make steroid hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and other related hormones, such as vitamin D3.
- Creation of bile acids: Your liver converts cholesterol into bile acids, which help you absorb fats and the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Myelin formation: The myelin sheath that surrounds and protects nerve cells contains plenty of cholesterol.3
Your body makes most of the cholesterol that is found in your bloodstream. Its primarily produced in the liver.
Dietary cholesterol found in animal foods like eggs, shellfish, cheese, and organ meat makes up a smaller portion of your blood cholesterol pool.
Unlike fat, which contains nine calories per gram, cholesterol has no calories. Because its present in foods in very small amounts, its measured in milligrams instead of grams. Most fatty meats and whole-milk dairy products contain just a little cholesterol, whereas some shellfish and organ meats are high in cholesterol, yet low in fat.