Is a ketogenic diet safe for people with high cholesterol?

Recent studies show that low-carb diets such as keto are more effective at raising good (HDL) cholesterol than low-fat diets [1, 2]. However, there are also studies showing that keto can increase total cholesterol (HDL and LDL) [3]. On the other hand, low-carb, high-fat diets also decrease LDL particle concentration (LDL-P), increase the size of LDL cholesterol and decrease the amount of harmful VLDL cholesterol in the blood [2], all of which have a positive effect on cardiovascular fitness.

These differences in results and effect may be due to diet quality, study type, and metabolic differences between participants. But overall, keto exerts a positive effect on cardiovascular health more often than a negative one.

This means, that if you have high cholesterol, there is a strong possibility that carbohydrate restriction can be a healthy choice for you [4].

References:

  1. Bazzano LA, Hu T, Reynolds K, Yao L, Bunol C, Liu Y, Chen CS, Klag MJ, Whelton PK, He J. Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets . 2014 September 2 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4428290/
  2. Sharman MJ, Kraemer WJ, Love DM, Avery NG, Gomez AL, Scheett TP, Volek JS. A Ketogenic Diet Favorably Affects Serum Biomarkers for Cardiovascular Disease in Normal-Weight Men . 2002 July 1 - https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/132/7/1879/4687418
  3. Beuno NB, De Melo IS, De Oliveira SL, Da Rocha Ataide T. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials . 2013 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK138038/
  4. Kosinski C, Jornayvaz FR. Effects of Ketogenic Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Evidence from Animal and Human Studies . 2017 May 19 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452247/

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