Keto diet and cholesterol, is it a problem or can you eat according to a keto diet without fearing for heart problems. There are many different dangers of keto diet and cholesterol levels mentioned in the news and also many of you have probably also heard it from your friends. But are these real dangers or is it just propaganda.
High amount of fat in keto diet and impact on cholesterol
A thing that often is mentioned is that by eating a high amount of fat you will get a high cholesterol and risks of heart problems. As the keto diet is high on fat people also usually draw the conclusion that you will have high cholesterol when using the keto diet. But people who eat according to the keto diet also eat a different type of fat than what is usually thought of when mentioning a high cholesterol (pizza, fries, etc).
Keto diet and Cholesterol
There are many studies about how the low carbohydrate diets such as the keto diet impacts your cholesterol. There are however studies that show that a low carbohydrate diet will be dangerous but also other studies that show no such thing.
The first study was published in 1974 and was looking at 12 people who was following a low carbohydrate diet such as the keto diet. The 12 people followed the diet between 3 and 17 days, with and average of 7 days. In all people in the study there was increased levels of cholesterol and the conclusion was that all people increased their risks for heart problems.
The second study that was published about keto diet and cholesterol actually showed that by eating according to a low carbohydrate diet you actually got higher cholesterol levels. The study was focusing on studying two normal individuals and how the keto diet impacted the cholesterol levels. The result from the study indicated that there was a rise in the cholesterol levels. The HDL Cholesterol (which is the good cholesterol) levels remained the same while the LDL Cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels increased during the study.
Keto diet Cholesterol levels improved
There are however also studies that show a positive effect of a keto diet and cholesterol levels. In a study from 2004 the scientists compared a low fat, low cholesterol diet with a normal keto diet. The study looked at 120 overweight individuals who already had a high cholesterol level. The study result showed that the people who were eating according to the keto diet lost more weight than people eating according to a low fat diet. The keto diet group also decreased their cholesterol levels more than the group eating according to the low fat diet. What also was interesting in this study was that the HDL cholesterol levels increased for the people who ate according to the keto diet and the LDL cholesterol did not increase.
In another study performed in 2006 it was studied how a keto diet impacts people who have a high cholesterol level. In this study a total of 66 people participated and they were eating according to a keto diet for a total of 56 weeks. This study showed that the HDL cholesterol levels increased in all people and also the LDL cholesterol decreased. Other positive side effect were that the triglycerides and blood glucose levels also decreased.
So the different studies show a totally different result which can be confusing. However take these things into consideration. The two studies that showed a negative result were both very short studies while the two studies that showed a positive result were both longer studies. There is usually no quick fix and to get a noticeable improvement you need to stick with your keto diet for a longer time.
It can also be discussed since the positive studies were conducted for a longer time and it is the weight loss these people did that showed the improved results, not the fact that they were eating according to a keto diet.
In the end it is up to yourself to decide if you believe the negative or the positive studies about keto diet and cholesterol. Just remember that there are millions of people out there on a low carbohydrate diet and if there were serious health problems connected with this kind of diet would you not have heard more about it?