What You Should Know
So here is a good quick synopsis of what you need to know about LDL, HDL, and Triglycerides:
- LDL serves as a transport molecule delivering nutrients, building materials, and energy to your cells
- LDL is prone to oxidation if in the blood stream for too long
- HDLs job is to sweep LDL from the blood stream to be recycled, ideally before it becomes oxidized
- Having balanced ratios of these helps to facilitate cellular function while minimizing oxidation
- Reducing Inflammation may be the most powerful way to mitigate heart disease risk
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.
What Should You Look For On An Nmr Lipoprofile Test
Begin by looking at the LDL particle concentration and size. Research suggests that particle size is the most important factor to consider when looking at cardiovascular health . A smaller LDL particle size is correlated to a higher risk of atherosclerosis. This means that you should be looking for larger particle sizes.
These more in-depth measurements will give you a better understanding of your cholesterol levels as compared to surface-level total levels.
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Ketogenic Diet In Diabetes
One small study had 11 women with type 2 diabetes follow a ketogenic diet for 90 days. After the 90 days, results revealed an increase in HDL cholesterol, a decrease in triglycerides, and no significant changes in LDL cholesterol among participants. Additionally, the study showed decreased body weight and blood pressure.
What Are The Different Types Of Cholesterol
It helps to understand the three main types of cholesterol or more specifically, lipoproteins that carry the lipids through your blood. The three types are HDL, LDL, and VLDL.
Since cholesterol doesnt dissolve in water, it cant travel through your blood on its own and needs to be transported through these lipoproteins particles derived from fat and protein.
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What Fats Are Good For A Keto Diet
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Low Density Lipoproteins : The Ones To Watch Out For
LDL particles deliver nutrients and energy to your cells. The only problem is that unlike HDL, LDL particles move at a snails pace and have a tendency to get stuck in your bloodstream. When this happens, the vulnerable LDL gets attacked by free radicals and start to oxidize, or break down.
Oxidized LDL is much easier to sneak inside your artery walls.
This then triggers your immune system to go into a full-on inflammatory response, which sends white blood cells to capture all the dangerous oxidized LDL running amok.
Whatever doesnt get wrangled by good HDL enters your arteries and starts the process of plaque buildup .
So does that mean the higher your LDL cholesterol levels, the higher your risks for cardiovascular disease?
A standard lipid blood test will show you how much cholesterol lives inside the LDL particle, or the concentration, but thats no longer the best marker for cholesterol health.
Scientists now know its not how much cholesterol you have, but your LDL particle number that makes the difference. This number measures how many LDL particles are floating in your bloodstream and how big they are.
Small LDL particles carry a greater risk factor for heart disease as they can easily penetrate the artery walls and lead to buildup. However, if you have mostly large LDL particles, your risks are pretty low because the chances of this happening are much slimmer.
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The Difference Between Dietary And Blood Cholesterol
Although it may sound like common sense that eating a high-fat low-carb diet filled with cholesterol-rich foods would raise blood cholesterol levels, thats not the way it actually works.
Your body expertly regulates your blood cholesterol by controlling how much cholesterol it makes. When you eat more cholesterol, your body makes less. When you eat less cholesterol, your body makes more.
Because of this regulating ability, studies show that foods high in dietary cholesterol have very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in most people . This is why for most people, high-cholesterol keto foods do not negatively impact your blood cholesterol levels.
A 2012 study in Nutrition compared a low-calorie diet to a low-carb, high-fat diet among 360 overweight and obese participants. After one year, participants on the keto diet saw their total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL decreased, while HDL rose. HDL is often referred to as good cholesterol.
How A Ketogenic Diet Effects Cholesterol
Research has shown time and time again that following a low-carb, high-fat diet improves cholesterol numbers and reduces your risk of heart disease in 4 main ways .
A Ketogenic Diet:
- Increases LDL particle size to the less oxidation-prone state
- It increases the amount of HDL available to recycle LDL from the blood before it has a chance to become oxidized
- It improves the LDL to HDL ratio
- Lowers triglycerides and improves triglyceride to HDL ratio
If you do not notice these beneficial changes in your cholesterol levels after following a well-formulated ketogenic diet for some time, you may want to consider other potential underlying causes.
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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.
High Cholesterol On A Ketogenic Diet
High cholesterol is a concern for many people as they begin following a ketogenic diet. The keto diet, or even just a higher-fat, low-carb diet, has now gained massive support as a modern-day healing strategy. In fact, our ideas about fats and cholesterol seem to have been almost completely reversed in recent years.
That being said, many people see their cholesterol go up after beginning more of a ketogenic lifestyle. Some people get concerned when this happens, so in this article, I am going to address the phenomena of high cholesterol on a ketogenic diet.
In general, cholesterol is traditionally misunderstood. I am going to show why high cholesterol is not inherently bad, and how to lookout for some real warning signs that you are in an inflammatory state. Knowing how cholesterol works in the body and how to interpret your cholesterol numbers will empower you to move forward on your ketogenic journey with confidence.
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What Happens To Your Cholesterol On A Ketogenic Diet
ââFor most people, a ketogenic diet leads to improvements in cholesterol, but there are sometimes transient rises in cholesterol levels during weight loss. During rapid weight loss, cholesterol that you had stored in your adipose tissue is mobilized, which will artificially raise serum LDL as long as the weight loss continues. To avoid being misled by this, the best time to check blood lipids is a couple of months after weight loss ceases. Total cholesterol includes HDL , which usually goes up 10-15% on a ketogenic diet. That said, some people have high calculated LDL cholesterol values even after weight loss stops. If this occurs, you should discuss further diagnostic tests with your doctor. Current research is looking at LDL cholesterol as a mix of different particle sizes, where the small ones are dangerous and the larger ones are not. With a well-formulated ketogenic diet, we see a shift away from the small dangerous LDL even when the total LDL goes up.
What Fruits And Vegetables Can You Have On The Keto Diet
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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.
Some Risks Of A Keto Diet
People with high cholesterol can experience headaches, weakness, muscle cramps, blood pressure fluctuation, constipation, and keto flu while following a ketogenic diet.
Keto flu is a collection of trivial, short-term symptoms that people experience when they start a keto diet. Some of these symptoms are vomiting, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and sleeplessness.
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Why Is Hdl Considered Good
HDL is considered good because it boasts protective, anti-inflammatory properties that regulate your immune system and protect against certain types of cancer in those with type 2 diabetes and those without.
Plus, researchers believe your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 4% for every 1 mg/dL drop in HDL cholesterol your body experiences. So that means keeping your HDL high is a serious priority.
Though all this makes HDL sound like a plus, its greatest accomplishment is clearing out LDL particles, or the bad cholesterol, from your bloodstream.
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