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Is Keto Bad For Cholesterol

Real Causes Of Heart Disease

Keto and Cholesterol

When 1800s keto founding-father William Banting spoke of heart disease, he explained that we need to look at the cause of heart disease as a combination of factors, not simply chalk it up to on system failure.

From this perspective, looking at cholesterol as good and bad is too reductive and could stifle other, valuable, more nuanced hypotheses.

Key things to look for when considering dangers to heart health include abnormal carbohydrate metabolism , the concentration of LDL-cholesterol in the bloodstream and inflammation .

Can You Please Tell Me How Many Snacks We Can Have On The Keto Diet

Can you please tell me how many snacks we can take on the keto diet? And, if we are eating snacks, what is the suggested amount of nuts? Can we take them no more than once a day?



If youre aiming to lose weight, no snacks may be the best option. If you feel you need snacks, you may be better off eating more at your regular meals. But occasionally, a snack may be a decent choice, find our recommendations here.


  • Women’s questions introduction 01:36 In this video series, you can find expert views on some of your top questions about low-carb and women’s health.
  • Is low carb bad for gut bacteria? 02:14 Can a low-carb diet be potentially harmful to your gut microbiome?
  • Is saturated fat bad? 07:29 Low carb is great. But could the saturated fat clog your arteries and kill you? Top low-carb doctors answer this question.

How Does Cholesterol Work

Cholesterol is found in all cells of the body. It is not an inert substance like most fats. Cholesterol is essential for bodily function. People who do not have enough cholesterol may have a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.

There are two kinds of lipoprotein that help transport cholesterol around the body.

  • HDL
  • LDL

HDL and LDL molecules are important because they transport cholesterol and other fats in the blood. They also play a role in heart disease, stroke, and other conditions.

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If Youre Keto Your Lipids May Be Misleading

In science and medicine, your conclusions are only as good as your tests.

You dont need to be a researcher or doctor to understand this concept. Take the simple example of body weight. If I tell you only that someone weighs 207 lbs and ask you to tell me about the mystery persons health, what would you say? You could make a guess based on population averages, but it would be a pretty poor guess. If I forced you to guess, youd probably comment that this person is overweight or obese and may recommend that s/he try to lose a few pounds. But, of course, your guess and advice are handicapped by your lack of relevant information. Is this person tall? Muscular? Pregnant? This last would be unlikely, as the person I had in mind was Usain Bolt.

Lets alter the scenario such that I tell you the person wasnt 207 lbs, but rather had a cholesterol of 450 mg/dL . Similarly, if I forced you or a doctor to tell me about the mystery persons health, you could make a guess based on population averages and would probably comment that this person is at high risk for heart disease.

This was precisely the scenario in a new report entitled, A Standard Lipid Panel is Insufficient for the Care of a Patient on a High-Fat, Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet, published in Frontiers in Medicine. This report shows how, just like by only knowing Usain Bolts weight you could misdiagnose him as overweight, standard lipid panels can lead to misdiagnoses and harmful medical recommendations.


What Specific Foods Should I Eat On Keto To Also Maintain Good Cholesterol

The Best is Keto Diet Safe for High Cholesterol

Consuming mostly unsaturated fats, compared to saturated fats, while on a keto diet may improve cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol levels. Unsaturated fats are found in foods such as:

  • Plant oils like olive, avocado, sunflower, corn, and canola oils
  • Avocados
  • Fatty fish, including salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel
  • Nuts and nut butters, including peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, and walnuts
  • Seeds, such as flax, sesame, sunflower, and chia

The keto diet is also typically lower in fiber, so maximizing the small number of carbohydrates allowed while following keto can benefit not only cholesterol levels but also gut health. Choosing non-starchy fruits and vegetables like avocados, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach can help.

Additionally, many people cannot follow the keto diet in the long term, so having a clear and defined plan for how to transition off the keto diet is important to help retain any positive health benefits acquired.

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Health Conditions That Raise Cholesterol

Your liver and intestines are made up of two organs in your body that produce cholesterol. Much of the cholesterol is regulated by bile salts. In different processes containing bile, excess cholesterol is eliminated. This means that cholesterol is released from bile, with bile-dependent cholesterol levels. Your gut has channels that are considered receptors of bile acids .

A disorder called hypercholesterolemia may occur. This is because the bloodstream contains a surplus of cholesterol. This involves hypercholesterolemia in the familythis means that it is inherited. A high-fat diet can cause hypercholesterolemia. This condition can also be caused by hypothyroidism, kidney damage, and bile dysfunction.

What induces a bile dysfunction? The major cause is liver damage. The bile deficit can be caused by fatty liver, liver infection, liver fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Anything that lowers the activity of the liver limits the production of bile. Bile deficiency can result in intestinal damage. Many diseases and medicines like antibiotics will lead to poor intestinal health. In exchange, the cholesterol rises. Taking cleansed salts and probiotics may lead to raising the bile overall.

Consult Your Doctor Before Starting A Keto Diet

Regardless of their health status, all patients should consult their doctor before going on the keto diet.

The reason: to rule out any existing concerns or ailments that could make the approach harmful to their heart or the rest of their body.

A small subset of people appears to experience increased cholesterol levels on a low-carb diet, so a family history of heart disease should be discussed.

Also Check: Is White Rice High In Cholesterol

Is Keto Bad For Cholesterol

Weve all heard the story. Maybe weve even been the protagonist.

Person goes full keto. They lose a bunch of weight, normalize their pre-diabetic glucose numbers, resolve their high blood pressure readings, have more energy, feel great, and have nothing but high praise for the new way of eating.

Except for one thing, everything seems perfect: their cholesterol is sky-high. It throws a wrench into the whole operation, installs a raincloud over the procession, spoils their confidence.

Could I be killing myself?

Are my health improvements just a mirage?

In other words, are the apparent benefits of keto merely superficial if your cholesterol skyrockets?

The evidence is pretty clear that for the majority of adults who go keto, their cholesterol numbers improve.

In obese adults with type 2 diabetes, a ketogenic diet improved blood lipids and boosted fat loss compared to a low-calorie diet.

In lean, healthy adults without any weight to lose , total cholesterol went up from 159 to 208 mg/dL and triglycerides fell from 107 to 79 mg/dL. A lipophobic doc might freak out at the rise in TC, but given that the triglycerides dropped, I bet the change reflects a rise in HDL and an overall positive, at worst-neutral effect.

But you arent everyone. You arent the average of a population. And, given the number of readers I have and the number of people trying a ketogenic diet, there are bound to be some people whose lipid profiles go in the other direction.

Keto And Cholesterol: How The Ketogenic Diet Affects Your Heart Health

Cardiologist (Dr. Nadir Ali) Explains LDL Bad Cholesterol Spike With Keto | Dr.Berg

Everyone knows that keto favorites like bacon and butter are bad for your cholesterol and heart health, right?

According to the American Heart Association, the key to improving cholesterol levels involves swapping out your fatty foods for heart-healthy foods like oatmeal, fiber-based cereal, whole-grain toast, and orange juice. This is the biggest argument against the ketogenic diet, but it is a topic commonly misunderstood and backed by unscientific and bias data.

In order to understand your cholesterol levels, how they affect heart health, and where the ketogenic diet fits into it all, lets break down the facts about cholesterol piece-by-piece.

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Remove Bulletproof Coffee From Your Diet

Bulletproof coffee is very trendy in the low-carb and paleo communities.

It involves adding 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil and 2 tablespoons of butter into your morning cup of coffee.

I havent tried it myself, but many people claim that it tastes delicious, gives them energy and kills their appetite.

Well Ive written a lot about coffee, saturated fat, butter and coconut oil. I love all of them and think they are very healthy.

However, even though normal amounts of something are good for you, it doesnt mean that massive amounts are better.

All the studies showing that saturated fat is harmless used normal amounts that is, amounts that the average person consumes.

There is no way to know what happens if you start adding massive amounts of saturated fat to your diet, especially if youre eating it instead of other more nutritious foods. This certainly isnt something that humans evolved doing.

Ive also heard reports from low-carb friendly docs (Drs Spencer Nadolsky and Karl Nadolsky. They had low-carb patients with massively increased cholesterol whose levels normalized when they stopped drinking bulletproof coffee.

If you drink bulletproof coffee and have cholesterol problems, then the first thing you should do is try removing this from your diet.

Bottom Line:

Try removing bulletproof coffee from your diet. This alone may be sufficient to solve your problem.

Carbohydrate Moderation Increases Hdl In Healthy Non

The majority of studies assessing the effects of carbohydrate restriction on HDL have been conducted on primarily Caucasian, obese subjects.

In 2006, researchers sought to investigate the relationship between carbohydrate intake and HDL cholesterol in a healthy, diverse population. Scientists examined data from Canadians of South Asian, Chinese, European, and Aboriginal origin from two cross-sectional studies conducted in the late 90s.

They included participants who were 35-75 years of age and who were not born in Canada but had lived there for at least 5 years. Subjects who suffered from moderate to severe medical conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, and active cancer were not included. Subjects of all different weights and BMIs were included as long as they were considered healthy.

Scientists then randomly selected 619 subjects who met these inclusion criteria and examined their carbohydrate intake and levels of HDL cholesterol.

After adjusting for demographic factors such as age, sex, and ethnicity and lifestyle factors such as smoking, researchers noted that subjects in the lowest third of carbohydrate consumption had significantly higher levels of HDL cholesterol than subjects in the highest third of carbohydrate consumption.

Fewer servings of sugary drinks were also associated with higher levels of HDL. Because of their findings, the researchers attributed differences in HDL concentration to carbohydrate intake.

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Medical Conditions That Can Raise Cholesterol

Ketogenic Diet And Cholesterol Levels: Is It Good Or Bad ...

Its also important to rule out medical conditions that can cause elevated cholesterol. These really dont have anything to do with the diet itself.

One example of that is reduced thyroid function. When thyroid function is lower than optimal, Total and LDL cholesterol can go up .

Another thing to consider is weight loss in some individuals, losing weight can temporarily increase LDL cholesterol.

If your levels go up at a time when you are losing weight rapidly, you may want to wait for a few months and then measure them again when your weight stabilizes.

Its also important to rule out a genetic condition like Familial Hypercholesterolemia, which afflicts about 1 in 500 people and is characterized by very high cholesterol levels and a high risk of heart disease.

Of course, there are many subtle genetic differences between us that can determine our responses to different diets, such as different versions of a gene called ApoE .

Now that all of that is out of the way, lets take a look at some actionable steps that you can take to bring those cholesterol levels down.

Bottom Line:

Make sure to rule out any medical or genetic condition that may be causing you to have high cholesterol.

Read Also: Cholesterol In Tuna Fish

What Do You Eat

Because the keto diet has such a high fat requirement, followers must eat fat at each meal. In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 75 grams of protein. However, the exact ratio depends on your particular needs.

Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet like nuts , seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. But saturated fats from oils , lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.

Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn’t typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork, and bacon.

What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits in small portions. Vegetables are restricted to leafy greens , cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.

What Kind Of Relationship Should You Have With Food

An individuals goal should instead be embracing a lifestyle change instead of a diet, which is more sustainable over a long period of time, expresses Dr. Dougherty. A well-balanced diet, which is high in vegetables and lean meats and low in processed foods, in addition to portion control and daily physical activity has more evidence for success, she adds.

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Why Cholesterol Is Important

The body needs cholesterol to function properly. It is a type of fat or lipid and it helps keep cells and nerves healthy.

The main reason that cholesterol is good for you is that it helps your body process some types of fat. It also helps make hormones, which are necessary for the body to grow and stay healthy.

Additionally, cholesterol may help protect your heart from disease by keeping blood cells from becoming sticky or clumping together.

What Ldl Cholesterol Levels Are Normal


In terms of normal LDL levels, cholesterols suggested targets vary among various countries and health authorities slightly. The level of Cholesterol measured after 9-12 hours of fasting :

· Total cholesterol of < 200 mg/dL in men and women.

LDL values of < 150 mg/dL > 160 mg/dL are considered high and 190 mg/dL and higher are considered to be extremely high. Many causes, including hormones, hormone changes, illness, and certain health problems, can impact blood cholesterol. Persons with uncontrolled hypothyroidism, for example, also have increased cholesterol. The diet of a person can also, often dramatically, affect cholesterol levels.

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What Is The Least Amount Of Fat I Can Eat While On Keto

My blood sugars are not going down, although my oral monitor often has me at 0.1 . Typically 20-25 carbs, 120 g fat and 80 g protein. I am 71 years, old take no medications, moderately active, tried IF but dont think you can get all the macros I need in one meal. I would like to know the LEAST amount of fat I can consume and be healthy. I am a retired RN and all that fat makes me nervous. The only processed food I eat is keto bars. No sugar, flour or grains since October 4th. I want my blood sugars below 95 .


Hi Richelle!

If you have excess body fat stores, you dont necessarily need fat energy from food, as long as you can live off your fat stores.

However, you do need some essential fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6. Its also wise to eat some fat every day to avoid getting gall stones.

Finally, eating too little fat might result in hunger and fatigue. But again, you dont necessarily NEED much.


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