Keto Diet and High Cholesterol

Can a Keto Diet affect High Cholesterol: All you need to know

People who follow the ketogenic diet consume high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein and minimal amounts of carbohydrates. Some evidence suggests there is a good relation between Keto Diet and High Cholesterol and that following this diet may affect cholesterol levels positively.


Specifically, the daily amounts of the keto diet for fats, proteins and carbohydrates areas follows:


Fat: 55–60% of total macronutrients of the day
Protein: 30–35%
Carbohydrates: 5–10%


Some studies suggest that the keto diet may reduce the levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, but raise levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol. For this reason, the keto diet may not be appropriate for everyone.


For this reason, health professionals may recommend that people with high cholesterol do not follow the keto diet.


In this article you will get to learn in-depth about the keto diet and its effects on cholesterol. We will also describe what needs to be considered in terms of security.


How much cholesterol can you consume per day?


While there is no specific limit on the amount of cholesterol that people should have per day, many organizations have guidelines on fatty foods that contain cholesterol.

Experts used to believe that eating high cholesterol foods would lead to heart disease and other health conditions. However, more recent findings suggest that the link between cholesterol levels and food is more complex.

Read on for more information on the amount of cholesterol a person should eat each day.


Keto Diet and High Cholesterol
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People should try to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats whenever possible. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), people should follow the recommendations for cholesterol and fat consumption found in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.


Recommendations include


  • Make sure saturated fats provide less than 10% of total calories per day
  • Avoid all trans fats
  • Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats whenever possible.


Keto Diet and High Cholesterol


Symptoms of high cholesterol


Having high cholesterol usually does not cause symptoms, but it can slowly block an artery and cause a heart attack or stroke. Life-threatening events are often the first physical symptom of clogged arteries.


People should make sure they check their cholesterol levels regularly, even if they don’t have any symptoms.


A doctor will usually order blood tests every 4 to 6 years. A blood test is the only way to know if a person’s cholesterol levels are high.


People with other risk factors for heart disease may need to have their cholesterol checked more frequently. These risk factors include:


  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of heart disease or high blood cholesterol
  • Previously having high cholesterol
  • What causes high cholesterol?


So, Cholesterol is Good or Bad?


Well….Cholesterol is both good and bad. At normal levels, it is an essential component for our body. However, if blood levels increase too much, it becomes a silent danger that puts people at risk of heart attack.


Cholesterol is present in all cells of the body and has important natural functions when it comes to digesting food, producing hormones and generating vitamin D.


The body produces it on its own, but people also consume it from outside sources through daily food intake. It has a waxy and fatty appearance.


Keto diet and High Cholesterol
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High cholesterol creates a significant risk factor for coronary heart disease and a major cause of heart attacks.


A buildup of cholesterol is part of the process that narrows the arteries, called atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, plaques form and cause blood flow restriction.


Reduction of dietary fat intake helps control cholesterol levels. In particular, it is useful to limit the foods they contain:


  • Cholesterol: It is present in foods of animal origin, meat and cheese.
  • Saturated fats: This is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, fried foods and processed foods.
  • Trans fats: This is found in some fried and processed foods.


Excess weight or obesity can also lead to higher levels of LDL in the blood. Genetic factors can contribute to high cholesterol. People with inherited familial hypercholesterolemia disease have very high levels of LDL.


Also read: Best Keto Diet Pills for Weight Loss in 2020


Other conditions that can lead to high cholesterol levels include:


  • Diabetes
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Pregnancy and other conditions that increase female hormone levels
  • Hypoactive thyroid gland
  • Medicines that increase LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol, such as progestins, anabolic steroids and corticosteroids


Levels and Ranges


In adults, total cholesterol levels below 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL) are considered healthy.


A reading between 200 and 239 mg / dL is high limit. A reading of 240 mg / dL and higher is considered high.


LDL cholesterol levels are considered good if less than 100 mg / dL.


100–129 mg / dL is acceptable for people without health problems, but it can be a concern for anyone with heart disease or risk factors for heart disease.
130-159 mg / dL is high limit.
160-189 mg / dL is high.
190 mg / dL or more is considered to be very high.


HDL levels must be kept higher. The optimal reading for HDL levels is 60 mg / dL or more.


A reading of less than 40 mg / dL may be an important risk factor for heart disease.
A reading of 41 mg / dL at 59 mg / dL is at the low limit.


A low carb diet like Keto can help you balance your cholesterol


A high LDL reading is not necessarily bad if your particles are large and you have an incredible HDL pool to eliminate all LDL when it is not being used. HDL prevents the accumulation of LDL so that it does not have clogged arteries, which means an increase in cholesterol since HDL particles can be positive.


This is the bad news: 32% of men and 13% of women have low levels of HDL, so they may not be able to combat the effects of LDL.


So, What’s the solution for Keto Diet and High Cholesterol


A low carb diet like keto – yes, even with a high fat intake. Sylvan Lee Weinberg, former president of the American College of Cardiology, said medical organizations can no longer defend a low-fat and high-carb diet because:


“It could well have played an undesired role in the current epidemics of obesity, lipid abnormalities, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndromes”.


Clearly, it’s time for something different. Limiting the intake of fats and cholesterol in the diet does not work. Compared to low-fat diets, low-carb diets that increase ketone levels have proven effective in increasing HDL and at the same time allowing weight loss.


What Research says about Keto diet and High Cholesterol?


Researches invariably continue to show that a low carb diet can do following:


  • Increase the size of LDL particles so that they are less prone to oxidation
  • Increase HDL to deal with LDL before it oxidizes
  • Improve your LDL to HDL ratio
  • Reduces triglycerides and improves the ratio of triglycerides to HDL


When participants in a study increased their fat content, they experienced an average 20.6% increase in their HDL cholesterol levels, almost four times more than those in the low fat group.


Another meta-analysis highlighted that low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets produce significant weight loss, an increase in HDL and lower levels of LDL over the course of a year.


And during a clinical trial of 40 adults with high triglyceride levels, a low carb and high fat diet resulted in a 51% decrease in triglycerides and a 13% increase in HDL.


Long term trial Outcomes


While it is worth getting excited about these results, how about starting a low carb diet if you are overweight, obese or already have high cholesterol levels?


Again, research shows that low carb diets do not harm your health. In one study, obese participants lost 10 pounds after a low carb diet and saw no negative changes in their overall total cholesterol.


A long-term trial made overweight participants keto for 24 weeks. The researchers were glad to see lower triglycerides, decreased body weight and body mass index, and better glucose and LDL levels.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is the ketogenic diet safe for high cholesterol?


There seems to be a small subset of people experiencing high cholesterol levels on a low carb diet, especially a ketogenic diet or a very high fat version of paleo. This includes increasing of Total and LDL cholesterol. Personally, I have had a great result in just 2 months of Keto dieting. Please see my comparative cholesterol levels above for proof.


Q: What is the best diet for high cholesterol?


I have found consumed following 8 foods as a part of my diet to lower cholesterol (the results have been significant):


1.) Legumes
2.) Avocados Avocados are an exceptionally rich fruit in nutrients. …
3.) Nuts – Especially almonds and walnuts. Nuts are another food exceptionally rich in nutrients. …
4.) Fatty fish
5.) Whole grains: especially oats and barley
6.) Fruits and berries
7.) Dark chocolate and cocoa
8.) Garlic


Q: Is a keto diet bad for your heart?


Losing even a moderate amount of weight in the keto diet can help lower cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and, according to a 2017 study, result in lower and “bad” LDL cholesterol and a higher HDL cholesterol, which helps protect against heart disease.


Q: How fast can you reduce your cholesterol levels?


For most people, levels drop dramatically in three weeks. What is encouraging to know is that many people do not need to rely on prescription medications, and their possible side effects, to lower their cholesterol. My Dietician advised me just dietary changes and asked me to defer consumption of medicines for at least 2 months.


She did 2 LIPID tests to see if the diet was actually doing what it was supposed to do. In 2nd test, results have come out positive and as expected, so I am continuing with the diet without medication. Though, she has asked me to induce supplements for overall health benefits.


Q: What is the fastest way to reduce LDL cholesterol?


As per my experience and what I have reaffirmed from across the internet, you should adopt at least following 3 things to reduce Cholesterol fast:


  • Fill yourself with fiber: Foods such as oatmeal, apples, prunes and beans are rich in soluble fiber, which prevents your body from absorbing cholesterol
  • Become fishy: Try to eat it two or four times a week
  • Olive oil should be your only choice other than Coconut oil


Q: Does avocado cause high cholesterol?


High fat does not always mean more cholesterol. Saturated and trans fats, found mainly in processed and fast foods, can raise bad cholesterol. But not all fats are saturated. The types of unsaturated fats that are found in avocados, are considered healthy. Avocados have no cholesterol at all which makes it a really good keto friendly food.


Q: Can I do Keto with high blood pressure?


The idea of being on any keto diet is to consume low carb and high fat. Keto-etarian is a way of putting the body in ketosis without exposing it to foods that cause high blood pressure.


And, on the other hand, feeding it with foods that can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and other ailments that threaten the heart. So, it is automatically a good choice for people suffering with High Blood pressure.

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