How Much Sodium And Cholesterol Do You Consume On Keto
There are no specific guidelines for how much sodium and cholesterol should be consumed while following a ketogenic diet.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that healthy adults consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodiumequal to about 1 teaspoon of table saltper day. The dietary guidelines do not list specific limits on dietary cholesterol, as recent research has shown that dietary cholesterol doesnt have as much of an effect on blood cholesterol as once thought.
However, it is important to note that many foods high in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat and, in effect, may increase the risk of heart disease due to the saturated fat content. Two exceptions to this are eggs and shrimp. Because of this correlation, it might be wise to limit the amount of foods you take in that are high in both dietary cholesterol and saturated fat while following keto.
Why Eating Cholesterol Doesnt Raise Your Cholesterol
When people talk about cholesterol, theyre usually referring to your lipid profile, or the fat and fatty acids in your blood .
Cholesterol is responsible for everything from building hormones to strengthening cell membranes, transporting vitamins, and helping you absorb all the nutrients from food.
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Many people dont know your body can produce all the cholesterol it needs to function. The vast majority of your cholesterol is produced by your body, with a smaller percentage coming from your diet. Even then, most of the cholesterol in your food cant be used by your body, and it leaves your body as waste.
The Effect Of A Ketogenic Diet On Weight And Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
Because of the increasing popularity of the ketogenic diet, the US National Lipid Association Nutrition and Lifestyle Task Force recently reviewed the evidence and published a scientific statementi on the effect of these types of diets on body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors, including lipids. They concluded:-
Its also worth noting this diet has been associated with short term side effects such as gastrointestinal complaints including constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain which are often experienced in the first few weeks. Some individuals may experience symptoms described as the keto flu within 2 to 4 days of starting a keto diet, which may occur as the body adapts to using ketone bodies for fuel. It may last a few days to one week and include light-headedness, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty exercising, poor sleep and constipation.
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Size Matters With Ldl Particles
Identifying the LDL particle size gives a better risk analysis for atherosclerosis . This is because large particle LDL has not been shown to be associated with coronary artery disease, while small particle LDL has a very strong association with the development of coronary artery disease.
Why isnt LDL particle size being evaluated and discussed? The most logical answer is cost evaluation of different types of LDL can be quite expensive. The conventional thinking is that by lowering your total LDL, you should lower small-particle concentration and therefore decrease risk for coronary disease. However, patients with well-controlled lipid panels on statin therapy with serum-LDL concentrations of less than 70 continue to develop and experience a worsening of existing coronary artery disease.
To start, its important to know that 80 percent of the cholesterol in the normal human body is generated by the body and not influenced by the intake of food, including dietary fat. The remaining 20 percent may be influenced by dietary fat intake and the intake of other macronutrients, such as carbohydrates. The reason we make the distinction of a normal human body is because this may not apply to individuals diagnosed with congenital hypercholesterolemia .
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What Are Normal Cholesterol Levels
The recommended targets for cholesterol vary slightly among different countries and health agencies. The US National Institutes of Health website lists the following optimal cholesterol and triglyceride values for people at low risk for heart disease, measured after a fast of 9-12 hours:
- Total cholesterol:< 200 mg/dL
- LDL cholesterol:< 100 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol:> 40 mg/dL for men, > 50 mg/dL for women
- Triglycerides:< 150 mg/dL
LDL levels > 160 mg/dL are considered high, and levels 190 mg/dL and above are considered very high.
Many factors can affect your blood cholesterol, including genetics, hormonal changes, injury, and certain health conditions. For instance, people with untreated hypothyroidism often have elevated cholesterol.
A persons diet can also influence cholesterol levels sometimes significantly.9
Some would argue that since these cut-off points are based on epidemiologic studies, they likely do not apply the same to all individuals regardless of their baseline metabolic health and overall health. For instance, there are data that show people with low LDL levels can have heart attacks and people with high LDL can live long lives.10
The point is that LDL levels should be regarded as one of many variables for evaluating cardiovascular risk, using an individuals metabolic status and other risk factors to adjust that risk assessment up or down.
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Practical Application: How To Interpret The Cholesterol Levels On Your Blood Test Results
The beneficial effects that the ketogenic diet has on cholesterol levels are not guaranteed for everyone. This is why it is important to consult your doctor and get your blood tested to track the results of your dietary changes.
Most of your blood test results, however, may only cause more confusion. Your LDL-C, HDL-C, Total cholesterol, and triglycerides numbers are valuable, but they only provide small pieces to the puzzle of your cardiovascular health. Does this mean that you have to get an advanced cholesterol panel?
Although some doctors may suggest it if you have genetic factors that are actively contributing to your cardiovascular health, an advanced cholesterol panel isnt necessary for everyone. Instead, most people should look for a different blood marker that can be found from the results of a standard blood lipid panel the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. Why?
Dr. Chris Masterjohn postulates that this ratio is an accurate marker for the amount of time that LDL particles spend in the blood . This is an important thing to take note of because the LDL particles are more likely to become oxidized and cause atherosclerosis when they are in the blood for longer periods of time. This gives us a deeper explanation of why the authors of the 2003 meta-analysis looked at the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio rather than total cholesterol levels.
Key Takeaway: Total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio is the best predictor of cardiovascular disease risk on the basic blood lipid panel.
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 Nutrition compared 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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The Bottom Line About Cholesterol And The Keto Diet
Cholesterol is essential to key processes in your body.
Low-carb, high-fat diets such as the ketogenic diet, increase the concentrations of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol when compared against standard high-carb diets.
Carbohydrate restriction in healthy individuals leads to higher levels of HDL cholesterol.
Low-carb, high-fat diets generally decrease LDL particle concentration and increase the size of LDL cholesterol, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health.
Dangerous VLDL cholesterol concentrations in the blood decrease with a ketogenic diet.
Improvement in the total LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio has been demonstrated when dietary carbohydrates are replaced with fat.
When we weigh all the evidence, the benefits of low carb diets on our cholesterol levels greatly outweigh the negatives for most people.
However, some people may need to adjust their diets in order to meet optimal cholesterol levels. If you have a genetic predisposition, or a history of elevated cholesterol levels or heart issues, please undertake low carb diets with the supervision of your doctor.
What Is A Ketogenic Diet
This diet severely restricts carbohydrates, typically providing only 5-10% of calories , compared to the 50% currently recommended. It also includes moderate levels of protein with no restriction of fat .
The idea behind the ketogenic diet is to use fat as a fuel source rather than carbohydrates, which is the bodys preferred source of fuel. This process produces ketones. Ketosis occurs when these ketone bodies accumulate in the blood. Exact quantities of carbohydrates to induce ketosis will vary, as achieving ketosis is highly individualised.
Many types of ketogenic diets exist, but all ban carb-rich foods such as sweet sugary foods, breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes and other starchy vegetables and fruit juices. But also foods like beans and legumes, and most fruits. Most ketogenic diets allow foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, lard, butter, cream, and cheese, as well as sources of unsaturated fats, including nuts, seeds, avocados, plant oils, and oily fish.
As a result, a ketogenic diet can end up being high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and low in foods which we know are cardio-protective e.g. legumes, whole grains, fibre-rich starchy vegetables and most fruits.
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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 Last Consensus Upon Keto Diet Ok With High Cholesterol
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Is Keto A Good Choice If You Have Both High Cholesterol And High Blood Pressure
If you have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, its important to talk with your doctor before deciding to go on a ketogenic diet. Your doctor will take your specific circumstances into consideration, such as overall health, the medications you take, and other risk factors, before approving a keto diet.
With some studies showing keto may potentially improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels, it might be worth asking your healthcare professional about it.
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What Happens To Your Cholesterol When You Go On A Keto Diet
Even if youre at risk for cardiovascular disease, you still may be a candidate for the popular diet.
For every person who talks up the ketogenic diet, theres another warning about the ill effects on your heart. The worry is that following a very high-fat, moderate-protein, and very low-carbohydratediet will create a subsequent spike in cholesterol levels, which could, in turn, raise your risk for heart disease.
The worry is certainly valid. On the keto diet, each day youre eating up to 80 percent of your calories from fat and sticking with 20 to 50 grams of net carbs, a term used in popular diets, including keto and Atkins but one that is not officially recognized in the medical community. This all means youll be eating a lot of fat per day, and in the name of meeting that quota, that may include unhealthy choices such as butter, coconut oil, and animal fat, all sources of saturated fat, which has been linked to poor heart health, according to the American Heart Association .
But the effect of keto on heart health isnt as straightforward as it sounds. Indeed, the keto diet may not have as detrimental an effect on your cholesterol as some have thought.
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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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