High Density Lipoproteins : The Ones You Want
HDL particles are produced in your liver and intestines and contain more protein than fat. This makes them denser .
HDL has been crowned good cholesterol because it corrals all the cholesterol thats not being used by your body and brings it all back to your liver. There it will either be recycled or leave the body as waste.
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.
What Causes High Cholesterol
High amounts of carbs and sugar cause high LDL type-B pattern cholesterol – the bad kind!
When you combine carbs or sugar with fat, you increase insulin. So you never want to combine fats with sugar.
However, In fact, it can help you lose weight, reverse insulin resistance, improve HDL and type-A LDL, and decrease triglycerides!
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Is The Keto Diet Safe
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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-carbohydrate diet 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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Your Cholesterol Panel On The Keto Diet
When getting a cholesterol panel on keto there are a few points to consider:
How long have you been on the diet? It can take some time for your body to adapt to a ketogenic diet, and it will take time for your cholesterol panel to reflect these dietary changes.
During the first 2-3 months of losing large amounts of weight, which is common on keto, cholesterol can swing both up and down. Once weight loss stabilizes youll get a more accurate read on your levels .
What were your cholesterol levels prior to switching to a ketogenic diet? A single value at one point in time wont give you much information to compare with your keto levels. Serial labs will give you repeat values over time, and this is what you need to make meaningful conclusions
Do you have a genetic condition that may be related to increased cholesterol levels? These conditions include familial hypercholesterolemia, hypothyroidism, as well as chronic inflammation due to autoimmune conditions and lifestyle factors including stress, poor sleep, alcohol use, and smoking.
Predicting How Keto May Affect Your Cholesterol Levels
To have an idea if the keto diet may have a negative effect on your cholesterol, consider your starting triglyceride number. According to the Mayo Clinic, triglycerides are another type of lipid in your blood that your body uses for energy high triglyceride and LDL levels can lead to fatty deposits that gum up arteries, notes the American Heart Association. Normal levels are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter . About a quarter of the population has triglyceride levels above 150 mg/dL, which is the threshold to consider elevated triglycerides. This is a large percentage of the population, so its not uncommon, says Soffer.
If you have normal levels, keto is likely safe to try. For people with normal or perfect triglyceride levels, the impact from keto is minimal or none, says Soffer. If, on the other hand, you have insulin resistance,type 2 diabetes, and/or abdominal obesity, and your triglycerides are elevated it may seem like you should shy away from keto, but the opposite may be true, Soffer argues, explaining that the low-carb nature of keto has the potential to decrease insulin resistance and improve triglycerides.
Still, though, the aforementioned Nutrition & Metabolism study involved a mere 34 people so more research, particularly larger, longer-term studies, is needed before scientists can fully understand the true effects of keto on insulin resistance and triglycerides.
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Replace Saturated With Monounsaturated Fat
Keto is a high-fat diet. Because of this, going Keto entails eating more butter, animal fat, coconut oil, and other sources of saturated fat than most people otherwise would.
And as we covered earlier, higher intakes of saturated fat are well understood to raise cholesterol levels. Thats why Keto and high cholesterol often go hand in hand.
One way to mitigate high cholesterol on Keto? Replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats.
The best sources of monounsaturated fats are olives, avocados, and nuts. Instead of a fatty ribeye, you have a chicken and spinach salad drenched with olive oil. Instead of cooking with butter, you cook with avocado oil. You get the idea.
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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The Breakdown Are Your Levels Really High
Interpreting cholesterol numbers can be fairly complicated.
Most people are familiar with Total, HDL and LDL cholesterol.
People with high HDL have a low risk of heart disease, while people with high LDL have an increased risk.
But the true picture is much more complicated than good or bad the bad LDL actually has subtypes, primarily based on the size of the particles.
People who have mostly small LDL particles have a high risk of heart disease, while those with mostly large particles have a low risk .
However, science is now showing that the most important marker of all is the LDL particle number , which measures how many LDL particles are floating around in your bloodstream .
This number is different from LDL concentration , which measures how much cholesterol your LDL particles are carrying around. This is what is most commonly measured on standard blood tests.
It is important to get these things tested properly in order to know if you truly have anything to be concerned about.
If you can, have your doctor measure your LDL-p or ApoB, which is another way of measuring LDL particle number.
If your LDL cholesterol is high, but your LDL particle number is normal , then you probably have nothing to worry about .
On a low-carb diet, HDL tends to go up and triglycerides down, while Total and LDL cholesterol tend to stay the same. LDL particle size tends to increase and LDL particle number tends to go down. All good things .
Medical Conditions That Can Raise Cholesterol
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.
Make sure to rule out any medical or genetic condition that may be causing you to have high 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.
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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.
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 Is Hdl And Why Is It Good
HDL, or high density lipoprotein, is often called good cholesterol. However, it isnt actually a type of cholesterol. Its a lipid-carrying protein that transports cholesterol throughout the body.
The primary role of HDL is collecting excess cholesterol and transporting it to the liver where its recycled or destroyed. This prevents accumulation of cholesterol in the blood, which keeps cholesterol from building up in blood vessels and preventing heart disease.
HDL particles also have anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties. The combination of these beneficial properties is why HDL is associated with cardiovascular health.