Why Might Ldl Cholesterol Go Up On Keto
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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.
Does The Keto Diet Have Benefits For Cardiac Patients
I do not know of any high-quality dietary studies that consistently show ketosis is helpful in human hearts, says Dr. Tang. However, there have been some exciting new data that may point to potential benefits in subsets of heart failure patients. So, our group and others are actively studying this to see if there is any new dietary intervention opportunity for some patients.
Can the keto diet cause heart issues? Dr. Tang fears some people who have heart failure doing a ketogenic diet might have increased risks of:
- A spike in LDL cholesterol.
- Kidney failure.
In general, if you have heart failure, youre more likely to develop a blood sugar abnormality. And with keto dieters consuming high levels of fat and protein, its hard to determine when it turns from healthy to harmful.
Recommendations for heart patients on the keto diet
Its possible some patients might benefit from the keto diet, but some might get worse, says Dr. Tang.
Because of the potentially harmful effects of the keto diet on heart patients, Dr. Tang and other heart failure specialists advise taking a less-strict approach.
For heart patients, Dr. Tang recommend:
- Eating a balanced diet that contains complex carbohydrates, unsaturated fats and lean proteins.
- Controlling portions.
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Keto And Cholesterol: A Ketogenic Diets Connections With Cholesterol
About 32% of men and 13% of women in the US suffer from low levels of HDL cholesterol. Additionally, the majority of Americans do not have HDL cholesterol levels high enough to decrease the risk of cardiovascular illness.
As chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular illness increase in prevalence worldwide, scientists have evaluated methods to increase levels of HDL cholesterol. For many years, physicians have used drugs called statins to increase HDL .
Recently, scientists have looked at utilizing dietary interventions as cost-effective methods to optimize HDL cholesterol and prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases. Below we document three research studies examining low-carb and ketogenic diets effects on HDL.
How To Lower Cholesterol On Keto
One of the biggest concerns with low-carb diets of all kinds is cholesterol. Most research shows that these types of diets can result in elevated LDL cholesterol while reducing HDL cholesterol â and keto diets arenât an exception. If you already have high cholesterol, you may want to reconsider a keto diet. Better yet, you may want to try out a diet with foods to lower triglycerides.
For most healthy people with regular triglyceride levels, these changes are mostly considered modest and shouldnât have a significant detrimental impact on your health. However, to play it extra safe, consider consuming more unsaturated fat than saturated fat, especially if youâre concerned with improving your heart health. You may also want to increase your intake of non-starchy, fiber-rich foods that are low on the GI index.
The keto diet is not for everyone, and before you proceed with any significant diet changes, you should consult your doctor to make sure you can go about it safely. A good way to ensure your health on the keto diet is by monitoring your lipid and cholesterol levels regularly. Everlywell offers a convenient at-home lipid and cholesterol test. With a finger prick sample collection process, you can receive accurate test results that show your total cholesterol levels, HDL cholesterol levels, calculated LDL cholesterol levels, and triglyceride measurements. You can then review these results digitally and gain some useful insights from physicians.
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Reduce Your Saturated Fat Intake
If you would prefer to stay keto or have a genetic propensity toward high cholesterol, you may want to lower your saturated fat intake. Many healthy foods are high in unsaturated fats, including avocados, raw nuts and seeds, fish, seafood, and healthy oils like avocado or olive oil.
By focusing on those foods and reducing saturated fat sources, such as butter, coconut oil, and animal and dairy fats, you may find that it positively influences your cholesterol profile .
Heart Risk Factors Improved
During the first six months of the study, the low-fat dieters had greater reductions in LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, but the differences did not persist over time.
The study is not the first to suggest that low-carb weight loss programs like the Atkins diet are safe and may be slightly better than low-fat diets for reducing risk factors for heart disease.
But it is one of the longest to show this, says lead researcher Gary D. Foster, PhD, of Temple Universityâs Center for Obesity Research and Education.
Roughly three-fifths of the low-carb dieters and two-thirds of the low-fat dieters stayed on the respective diets for two years.
The study appears in the September issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
âFor many years there have been concerns that the low-carbohydrate approach to weight loss was bad for the heart,â he says. âThis study would suggest those concerns are largely unfounded.â
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What Types Of Cholesterol Does Keto Allegedly Affect
The keto diet has been shown to affect both LDL and HDL cholesterol, but studies have been small and short-term with varying results.
Its kind of a toss-up, but science seems to agree that eating nutrient-dense foods while on the keto diet wont negatively affect your cholesterol levels or heart health.
Does Ketogenic Diet Affect Cholesterol
The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat, adequate-protein diet, which is primarily used to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children.
This diet forces patients body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. The purpose of this diet is to extract more calories from protein and fat. Consuming less carbohydrate in diet can decrease the triglycerides as one takes less amount of calories than the normal intake. It is easy to cut back most on the carbohydrates that are consumed daily, like sugar, soda, and white bread, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. Long term effects havent been studied as yet it is unknown if it works in the long term, and whether it’s safe or not.
The body has 2 types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to and from the body cells in the blood. One is LDL- low-density lipoprotein which may makes arterial narrowing worse and HDL- High-density lipoprotein which promotes the protection of the body against narrowing blood vessels. They are cholesterol transporters.
Higher the consumption of fats, more are the chances of an increase in Low Density Lipoprotein which results to high cholesterol level. The American Heart Assocation states that for Cardiovascular Diseases the percentage of total fats shouldnt be more than 30% of the total calories if one consumes more than the recommended allowances it is harmful to the body.
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What Is Hdl Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is frequently known as the good cholesterol. In addition to transporting cholesterol around the body, HDL collects cholesterol that is not being used by cells and brings them back to the liver to be recycled or destroyed.
Additionally, HDL cholesterol may have anti-inflammatory effects. A recent research study published by De Nardo et al shows that HDL may be responsible in reducing inflammatory activity by regulating immune system cells called macrophages. Furthermore, epidemiological studies have noted an inverse association between levels of HDL and certain forms of cancer.
More research needs to be performed to investigate the source of these relationships as well as the molecular mechanisms through which HDL operates. However, there is a general consensus among clinicians and scientists that HDL-cholesterol is healthy for the body and that higher levels of HDL-C are healthy for the body. In fact, one study observed that, with every 1 mg/dL reduction in HDL cholesterol, diabetes risk increased by 4%.
Myths About Fat And Cholesterol
Below are some of the myths when it comes to the ketogenic diet and lipid profiles. Were used to hearing many of these due to bad or old science and we all know the internet is rampant with poor information.
Myth: Cholesterol is bad.
A huge misconception about diets that are low-carb and high in animal protein and fat is that theyre bad for your cholesterol. The thought is that eating foods that contain saturated fat and dietary cholesterol lead to elevated blood cholesterol levels, which is bad for health.
This couldnt be further from the truth. Cholesterol is good! In fact, its necessary for living. Its important for the creation of hormones, vitamins, and other vital substances. Its crucial for the function of every cell wall in the body.
And we now know that not only does a low-carb/high-fat diet bring better weight loss results, its not harmful to heart health as once believed.
Browse our curated collection of fan-favorites and discover your new favorite snack or supplement.
Myth: Low-carb diets raise cholesterol and cause heart disease.
Again, this is the most common rumor about cholesterol regarding a ketogenic or low-carb dietthat the intake of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol will cause heart disease.
Healthy saturated fats are actually necessary part of a healthy diet. See these healthy ketogenic diet foods.
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The Truth About The Ketogenic Diet And Lipids
Lets look at some of the most important facts about the ketogenic diet and its relation to ones lipid profile:
Lipid Profile Changes on the Ketogenic Diet
The facts show that a well-planned low-carb diet can actually lead to a better cholesterol profile, not a harmful one.
In obese patients, a ketogenic diet has been shown to significantly :
If you hear anyone talk about elevated cholesterol from a low-carb diet, thats likely due to an increase in HDL cholesterol, which is actually beneficial and means a LOWER risk of heart disease because it increases HDL to LDL cholesterol ratio.
Plus, a whole foods, ketogenic diet eliminates sugar-creating foods that can cause inflammation and damage to the arteries. Since your body has less glucose available to make cholesterol, total cholesterol levels will drop.
You can also expect a drop in triglyceride levels, as eating carbohydrates spikes your triglyceride levels so, a great decrease in carbs means lower triglyceride readings.
Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet With Phytoextracts
An Italian study in 2019 looked at 106 overweight or obese people who ate a diet known as the ketogenic Mediterranean diet with phytoextracts and took a daily multivitamin supplement over six weeks. Subjects were allowed to consume unlimited calories in a diet made up of green vegetables, olive oil, fish, meat, and other high-quality proteins, along with specific food supplements and herbal extracts.
The results showed a significant decrease in body mass index , total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose levels. There was also a significant increase in HDL cholesterol levels.
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Keto May Harm People With A Genetic Mutation That Affects Ldl Regulation
Where things get possibly dangerous is if youre one of the people who has an inherited genetic mutation that affects the way LDL particles are regulated. If these individuals follow a keto diet, their LDL levels can skyrocket, says Soffer. This result doesnt happen often enough to skew overall results in population studies, but what matters most is the effect the diet has on your individual health. Its a long-recognized phenomenon that hasnt been published well, he says, adding that the genetics that drive this response arent completely understood.
You may not be aware that you have a preexisting genetic mutation, also called familial hypercholesterolemia . In fact, as the AHA notes, for people with FH, only 10 percent know they have it. Being aware of your family history, including members who have had a heart attack at a young age, is important and can help point your provider in the right direction. In some instances, research shows that a low-carb diet may actually be beneficial for those with FH who also have insulin resistance, suggests an analysis published in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine in July 2015. This is not something to tease out on your own. Instead, its just another reason why you should talk to your doctor about a dietary change, particularly if you have other health conditions, like high cholesterol.
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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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.
How To Follow Keto In A Heart
One of the draws of a keto diet is the idea that you can eat any and all fat that you want. Thats not a healthy mindset to step into. I recommend patients choose cardioprotective fats, like nuts, nut butter, seeds, avocado, and extra virgin oils, such as olive oil, says Ryskamp. Similarly, avoid foods that are high in saturated fat as your primary fat sources.
Its not just fats that are important, but maximizing the small amount of carbohydrates youre allowed. Getting enough fiber can be a challenge, and youll want to make sure youre eating plenty of low GI-index veggies . Ultimately, the benefits come from replacing foods, like processed carbs, that experts believe are detrimental to overall wellness, with those that are heart-healthy, like unsaturated fats, she says.
Its been repeated over and over: If youre drastically changing your diet which includes going keto you need to talk to your doctor first and make sure its safe for you and your individual health concerns. You also want to get your lipids checked before and during keto, so your doctor can watch for a cholesterol spike and determine if this is a healthy diet for you.
One of the biggest concerns, says Soffer, is that once you come off keto, you continue eating a high-saturated-fat diet in combination with a typical Standard American Diet . Because keto is highly restrictive, most people dont stay on it for the long haul, so watch your diet and plan appropriately when you go off the diet.