Can Keto Diet Cause Elevated Cholesterol Levels?

Where for most people, a keto diet or a low carb diet results in improved cholesterol levels, there are sometimes, when a temporary rise in the same occurs during weight loss. The typical effect of such a diet on cholesterol is of a slight elevation, largely due to the risen good (HDL) cholesterol. Most importantly, this implies a lower risk of heart ailments.

Let’s take a look at what cholesterol is, how low-carb and keto diets affect blood cholesterol levels, and how to bring down the increased levels of the same.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a lustrous element that is essential to the lives of all animals, including us humans. A human body produces cholesterol in every cell, and uses it for many important bodily functions, including these:

  • Maintaining cell structure and fluidity.
  • Synthesizing hormones like estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and vitamin D3.
  • Creation of bile acids
  • Myelin formation

Most of the cholesterol that is manufactured in the human body is principally produced by the liver. Unlike fat, which contains 9 calories per gram, cholesterol is free of calories on the other hand. Because of its presence in foods in extremely small quantities, it’s measured in milligrams instead of grams.

Keto Diet and Blood Cholesterol Levels

In most people, who follow keto or low-carb diets, blood cholesterol increases very slightly, if at all. Some even experience a slump in LDL cholesterol as well. However, many others undergo an increase in both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels.

It is likely for cholesterol to rise during keto or low carb eating as a result of rapid weight loss that the body undergoes. This has been a known research for decades now.

Cholesterol synthesis and its intake are intricate procedures that stand influenced by nutrition, genes, and other factors. Therefore, it isn’t really unexpected that a lot of low-carb dieters undergo significant changes in their blood cholesterol levels. Also, rise in LDL cholesterol in some dieters is due to high saturated fat intake and/or producing a lot of ketones, which can be used for the process.

How to Control High Cholesterol Levels?

If you get a non-healthy lipid profile on a low-carb diet there are a few things to consider, in the following order:

Say No to Bulletproof Coffee (Butter, Coconut Fat or MCT Oil in Coffee):

Don’t drink too much of fat in case you’re not hungry. This can often normalize cholesterol levels.

Only Eat When Hungry:

Consider adding intermittent fasting in order to consistently reduce cholesterol levels.

Consider Using More Unsaturated Fats:

Fats like olive oil, fatty fish and avocados can be categorized as unsaturated. Consuming these will lower your cholesterol.

Finally, If Step 1-3 Is Not Enough:

Consider whether you really need to be on a strict keto diet for health reasons. If a more moderate or liberal diet can still work for you, it will also likely lower your cholesterol.

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