Cholesterol and Keto
Today I want to answer the question, “does a Ketogenic Diet lower cholesterol?”
Let’s start when I was a young lad in college.
As an exercise physiology major, I was required to take nutrition classes.
One of the things I remember most was the repeated emphasis on how bad fat was for you and how it leads to heart disease.
Eggs were the devil. Never eat the yoke!
Coconut oil is the unhealthiest food on the planet! And on and on.
And of course, we were all programmed (by our own government) to believe that fat in our food was giving us heart attacks! No wonder we avoided it like the plaque (and many still do).
Unfortunately, I spent the next 30 years following this advice and spreading it to others along the way, including thousands of impressionable 14-15 year old kids in health classes.
The “low fat is healthy” mantra has been accepted and applied for decades while low carb-high fat diets like Keto has been laughed at and ridiculed.
Well as Bob Dylan used to sing in his off key voice, “These times are a-changin.”
The Keto Diet has recently gained massive support for its healing and weight loss properties. The ideas on cholesterol and fat relating to heart disease have suddenly been reversed.
It turns out that not only is saturated fat not bad for your health, it is good!
Did you know that the Intuit (Eskimos) have the lowest rate of heart disease on the planet and eat a diet that is 75% saturated fat?
But what about cholesterol?
Cholesterol is one of the most misunderstood things in the universe. We have been programmed to believe it is evil and causes clogged arteries and heart disease.
The truth is it is not inherently bad and is produced in the body (liver) for a reason. It has many positive benefits including helping the body repair and reduce inflammation, and supporting the immune system.
There is no reason to freak out over lipid profiles. A high total cholesterol number doesn’t mean you are headed for a heart attack. In fact, 40% of people who have heart attacks have total cholesterol below 180! In addition, studies have shown that when total cholesterol is below 200, cognitive function is much more likely to be impaired in old age.
I really only pay attention to HDL (good cholesterol), LDL particle size, and triglycerides. And I recommend that you focus on those also.
Use the ratios and numbers found later in this article to get a true indication of your health.
If your triglycerides are high, it normally means two things: your body is suffering from inflammation and you are eating too many carbohydrates, especially of the simple variety (cookies, breads etc.).
If you HDL is low, you are not eating enough healthy fats. Try eating virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, real butter, etc.
So what about the question of a high fat-low carb diet like Keto raising or dropping the cholesterol numbers?
Yes, The Ketogenic Diet Lowers Cholesterol!
Research has demonstrated repeatedly that staying on a high-fat, low-carb diet improves your cholesterol numbers and lessens your chance of heart disease.
Some facts of utilizing The Keto Diet that have been proven include:
- Lower triglycerides
- LDL to HDL ratio improvement
- Increases LDL particle size
- Increases HDL
If you follow The Ketogenic Diet for an extended period of time, you will find success, often dramatic, in your cholesterol numbers.
If by chance, you see no difference or your numbers get worse, there is an underlying problem that you will need to investigate. Usually inflammation.
Some general numbers you should look for after utilizing Keto include:
|Total Cholesterol:||180-250 (300 is fine if the ratios are good! LDL:HDL and Tri:HDL)|
|LDL to HDL Ratio:||3-1 or less|
|Triglycerides to HDL Ratio:||2-1 or less (If this is true, it means your triglyceride particles are the big fluffy kind, not the small particles that do cause cardiovascular problems.)|
Give The Keto Diet A Try and experience many health benefits including dramatic weight loss, gout relief, mental clarity, improved energy levels and more!
You can read about my first experience with the Keto Diet!
- Migala, J., & RDN, K. K. (2020, November 19). What Happens To Your Cholesterol When You Go On a Keto Diet? | Everyday Health. EverydayHealth.com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/ketogenic-diet/what-happens-to-your-cholesterol-on-a-keto-diet/.