One of the most common questions I ask is whether the keto diet causes high cholesterol.
Because some people may be at increased risk of developing heart disease. But is this really true or is it just a rumour?
Cholesterol is an essential component of our bodies, and while there is strong evidence linking it to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, it is not clear if cholesterol still leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease for everyone.
You may have some questions if you’ve read about the keto diet, especially about eating a lot of fats if you have high cholesterol. Does it help you lose weight by eating heaps of cheese and avocados? Or will it be at the expense of your heart health?
To learn more about what cholesterol is? How your body uses it? Why low-carb diets and ketogenic diets can affect your cholesterol levels? and whether you need to worry if your cholesterol levels rise with these diets (keto or low-carb lifestyle).
* More common questions:
What Medical Conditions Can Raise Your Cholesterol?
A person with high cholesterol can follow the keto diet?
Here’s what we know so far about the connection between keto and high cholesterol.
Did you know?
In general, following a ketogenic diet is beneficial for heart health and improving lipid (the amount of fat in the blood).
Warning: Many of these experiments were short-term (less than a year), so we’re not quite prepared to make any health claims in the long term.
Always remember that it is best to speak with your doctor before making any major changes to your diet. To ensure that you choose the lifestyle that is right for you.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in the bloodstream and supplied by the liver. (Which means you don’t have to get it from outside sources like food)
It plays a major role in maintaining the proper functioning of your body. Like building tissues and cells, producing hormones, and absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (oh, hey, vitamin D!).
Cholesterol can also be found in many of the foods we eat – most often in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.
There is just a small amount of cholesterol in most fatty meats and whole-milk dairy products, while some shellfish and organ meats are high in cholesterol but low in fat.
After years of advice on how to get rid of egg yolks and eat only eggs, we’ve found that eating foods rich in cholesterol does not affect cholesterol levels (in the blood).
When you consume more cholesterol, your liver usually produces less, which causes cholesterol to stabilize in the blood.
How Can Cholesterol Easily Move In Your Body?
Cholesterol is absorbed from the digestive system or produced by the liver, and then distributed into the bloodstream, where cells can use it as needed.
It then returns to the liver to be processed and converted into bile acids or used for other purposes.
Be aware, that cholesterol does not travel around the bloodstream on its own. Where it is considered a water-repellant, it must be packed inside lipoproteins to move around the bloodstream.
Think of lipoproteins as the (boats) needed to transport cholesterol safely through the bloodstream. When we talk about the level of cholesterol in the blood, we mean the amount of cholesterol contained in the various lipoprotein particles.
* Cholesterol is transported in the body by two forms of lipoproteins:
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein), often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, it makes up much of the cholesterol in your body. Your risk of heart disease and stroke is increased by high levels of LDL cholesterol.
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol, absorbs cholesterol and then returned to the liver, then the liver expels it from the body. The risk of heart disease and stroke can be reduced to high levels of HDL cholesterol.
A person with high cholesterol can follow the keto diet?
If you have high cholesterol and want to try the keto diet, it is important to let your doctor know. (He or she) will monitor your blood lipids closely and help you decide if this diet is right for you.
Keto may naturally help you reduce cholesterol and get rid of fat, so it is the perfect solution if you are overweight.
Studies show that the ketogenic diet leads to weight loss, lower triglycerides, lowering LDL cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar.
This happens because keto has a beneficial effect on metabolic health, by stimulating weight loss and enhancing metabolic flexibility. (i.e. the body’s ability to switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat)
However, for best results, be sure to include plenty of healthy sources of fat in your daily plans such as olive oil, avocados, fish, nuts, and seeds. To improve the quality of your keto and high cholesterol.
Important advice: Choose unrefined oils when choosing cooking oils, and add plenty of low-carb vegetables to get enough fiber. (As fiber also reduces cholesterol levels)
What Are Normal Cholesterol Levels?
* May want to know
What your normal cholesterol level is? and how to calculate it? if you have just obtained your cholesterol test results. Your doctor will show you these results when you get the results of your cholesterol test and make recommendations about whether you need to take action.
* Hope this helps
Cholesterol is tested in units called millimoles per litre of blood or mmol / L.
- Total cholesterol: < 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L)
- LDL or (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: < 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L)
- HDL or (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: > 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) for males, > 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) for females
- Triglycerides: < 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L)
LDL levels greater than 160 mg/dL (4.1 mmol/L) are considered high, and levels greater than 190 mg/dL (4.9 mmol/L) (and above) are considered to be very high.
Many factors, such as genetic factors, hormonal changes and certain health conditions, can affect the level of cholesterol in the blood.
For example, people with untreated hypothyroidism often have high cholesterol levels.
How Does The Keto Diet Affect Cholesterol Levels?
Cholesterol increases slightly in the blood, in most individuals who follow a keto diet or a low-carb diet.
Some also experience a decrease in bad cholesterol after starting with low levels of carbohydrates. However, others have elevated levels of both LDL and HDL.
An increase in cholesterol can be linked to weight loss during keto or low-carb diet.
While within the first 2-3 months after losing significant amounts of weight, cholesterol levels frequently decrease, there may be a later increase in cholesterol that continues before weight stabilizes.
Cholesterol levels tend to come back down until weight loss stops.
Therefore, before determining cholesterol levels, it would make sense to wait until someone’s weight has stayed steady for a few months.
LDL cholesterol increases dramatically in response to low-carb diets, often by 200 per cent or more, whether you lose weight or not.
The liver increases the production of lipoprotein molecules while increasing the demand for energy intake. This is due to the lack of fat stores in the body and the decrease in glycogen stores. So that triglycerides (fats) can be transported to cells for use as fuel.
One possible hypothesis shows that eating saturated fat improves cholesterol absorption, while low insulin reduces LDL receptor activity.
Thus the decreased activity of the receptors reduces the amount of (LDL). That is removed from the bloodstream and excreted.
These agents, when combined, will increase the circulating LDL concentration significantly. “But according to our information on this topic so far, the lipid science community has not endorsed this theory or any other theory in this regard.”
The synthesis and absorption of cholesterol are complex processes that are affected by diet, genes, and other variables.
Is it safe to follow the keto diet with your high cholesterol?
Keto and high cholesterol may not be appropriate and safe for everyone.
So we will mention the most important medical conditions that can raise your cholesterol.
Some individuals are not good candidates for the keto diet. Due to the high level of cholesterol in the blood, as this can exacerbate some medical conditions, especially those with familial hypercholesterolemia (high levels of cholesterol inherited from your family), kidney disease and liver disease.
Some people may find that their body cannot absorb that much fat each day.
A ketogenic diet may not improve cardiovascular health in the long term, even for healthy people, as it can cause some harm.
Because it is full of saturated fats like red meat and whole milk, it is also low in fruits and vegetables.
5 Ways to lower your LDL on a keto or low-carb
Has your cholesterol level increased? On a low-carb diet, are you afraid to forgo this eating method and its potential benefits?
Below we will provide you with five strategies to lower your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels while maintaining a low-carb or keto lifestyle. In that order, consider giving it a try.
1. Eat Only When You Are Hungry
Only eat when you feel hungry and consider intermittent fasting regularly. This can lower cholesterol levels.
2. Should Avoid Bulletproof coffee
Bulletproof coffee means adding coffee butter, MCT oil or coconut butter to the coffee. When you are not hungry, stop drinking large amounts of fat at all. This alone can often normalize elevated cholesterol levels.
3. Eat Keto-Friendly Foods With LDL-Lowering
These low-carb plant foods can help to somewhat decrease cholesterol levels:
A review of ten studies showed that eating avocados daily regularly contribute to lowering the “bad cholesterol”.(LDL)
* Dark chocolate and Cocoa:
In addition to reducing LDL cholesterol, cocoa and dark chocolate may help prevent LDL from being oxidized or harmed. May want to choose chocolate containing at least 85 per cent cocoa to reduce excessive consumption of sugar.
* Green vegetables:
Dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables bind to bile acids which, instead of being reabsorbed in the gut, are excreted as waste, eventually leading to slightly lower blood cholesterol. May want to steam your greens instead of eating them raw, to optimize this effect.
* Nuts and seeds:
Nuts and seeds are high in monounsaturated fats and also rich in fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels. An analysis of a reliable study found that eating two servings of nuts a day reduces LDL cholesterol by an average of 7%.
4. Try to eat foods high in unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats
Fats such as olive oil, fatty fish and avocados contain foods that are higher in unsaturated fats. It may be sufficient to substitute sources of saturated fat with these foods to reduce LDL cholesterol.
Keep in mind that many of the daily approved unsaturated oils are highly processed. We suggest focusing, as with food, on less processed oils, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia oil.
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5. Can Eat More Carbohydrates
* Finally, if steps 1-4 aren’t enough
Consider whether, for health reasons, you continue to must air a strict keto diet.
If a more moderate low-carb diet (for example 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrates per day) may still be beneficial for you, it can also lower your cholesterol. Just remember to choose unprocessed carb sources (for example, not wheat flour or refined sugar).
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Overall, the information in this article demonstrates that limiting carbohydrates, as the ketogenic diet emphasizes, can be a healthy choice for you.
However, an abundant amount of research suggests that low-carb and high-fat ketogenic diets have both a positive and (possibly) negative effect. Especially when it comes to keto and high cholesterol.
But if you find that blood cholesterol levels are getting worse on a ketogenic diet, it may be beneficial to replace some of the saturated fats with foods high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats.