There have been much discussion how big the low carb diet cholesterol risk is and if it is something you need to be worried of when being on a low carb diet like the keto diet. In this article I will look at the different impacts that a low carb diet might have on your cholesterol levels.
Eating high amount of fat increases cholesterol
A general thing that people mention as the biggest reason that there is a low carb diet cholesterol risk is that when eating a lot of fat you will also raise your cholesterol levels which leads to a higher risk for heart problems or even a heart attack. As diets such as keto diet, LCHF diet and other low carb diets are diets where you have a high intake of fat people also often assume that these diets has a higher risk for cholesterol problems. What people usually forget that the fat consumed in these low carb diets is different from the fat that most people eat (fat that is in pizza, fries and other bad fat).
Science about low carb diet cholesterol
The first thing to look at is what science says about low carb diets and cholesterol. However as it usually is with science different reports from scientists show different conclusions. This means that many of the scientific studies done actually contradict each other and show different results.
The first study on the relationship between a low carb diet and cholesterol was done in 1981 and was monitoring the impact of a ketogenic diet and the cholesterol levels. This study is often what people use when showing that there is a big connection between a low carb diet and cholesterol.
The study was done by looking at two individuals and how a low carb diet affected their lipid and lipoprotein levels. The result showed that there was a rise of the total cholesterol. This study however was done a long time ago and was only looking at two individuals.
There are newer studies done also and mainly in 2004 there was one study that included 120 overweight individuals who already had high cholesterol levels. One group followed a low carb diet that contained less that 20g of carbohydrates per day while the other group followed a low fat diet which contained less than 30% fat.
The results from this study shows that the group that was eating according to a low carb diet had a bigger weight loss, they had better cholesterol levels and also more people in this group actually managed to follow their diet. Many people draw the conclusion that since the group that ate according to a low carb diet had better cholesterol levels since they lost more in weight. This might be true and needs to be studied further.
How to reduce the risk with low carb cholesterol
If you are still worried about the low carb diet cholesterol risks then there are some things you could do to lower the risks. You could start by only using a low carb diet in certain periods and after being on a low carb diet for a while you can go back to a more balanced diet for a while. This would reduce the risk of getting problems.
You should also ensure that the fat that you eat also is good fat. Hamburgers and bacon might not contain the best fat and to reduce the risk you could also reduce this kind of fat. Avocados, fish and animal fats are natural and might be better choices.
If you are really worried you could also go and check your cholesterol levels at a hospital at a regular interval. By doing this you could improve or change your diet according to the results.
However most of these improvements might not be necessary since there are so many people who are eating according to a low carb diet and there have been so few reports about that they have experienced any low carb diet cholesterol problems or other heart problems.