What happens to my cholesterol on a ketogenic diet?
Cholesterol and diet are intricately related. Although an increase in good cholesterol can be beneficial, too much bad cholesterol can lead to health issues. Therefore, it is important to understand how the ketogenic diet may affect your cholesterol and health.
What are the two types of cholesterol?
There are two types of cholesterol. The types of cholesterol are distinguished by the proteins that transport them. The first type, low-density lipoprotein, is commonly referred to as “the bad cholesterol.” This lipoprotein carries cholesterol to body tissues and the heart. If there is too much low-density lipoprotein, the cholesterol can form plaque in the arteries. Therefore, too much “bad cholesterol” is a key factor in heart disease.
The second type of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, is often referred to as the good cholesterol. This is because high-density lipoprotein carries cholesterol to the liver, where it is removed from our bodies. Too little high-density lipoprotein can also contribute to heart disease because the body needs high-density lipoprotein to dispose of excess cholesterol.
What happens if you have too much bad cholesterol?
When there is too much low-density lipoprotein in our bodies, it can get stuck in our arteries and blood vessels. Over time this can form plaque. When plaque is built up near or around the heart, oxygen and nutrients are restricted. This makes it harder for the heart to function and can eventually lead to chest pain and even heart attacks.
What foods are high in cholesterol?
Certain foods are high in cholesterol. If cholesterol is a health concern for you, it is important to understand which foods increase good cholesterol and which foods increase bad cholesterol. Saturated fat, which is found in fatty meats, poultry with skin, and whole milk product, contributes to bad cholesterol. Trans fat, which can be found in shortening and margarine, also contributes to bad cholesterol.
While small amounts of saturated fat and trans fat are okay, too much can lead to increased bad cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease. Cholesterol can also be found directly in certain foods, such as egg yolk, whole milk products, and certain meat products.
Can you have high cholesterol and still do keto?
Cholesterol and diet are related, which can make choosing a diet high in fat, such as the ketogenic diet, intimidating. Although keto is high in fat, it has a positive effect on cholesterol. Diets that are low in carbohydrates, such as the keto diet, contribute to increased high-density lipoprotein. This means that more of the bad cholesterol is being sent to the liver to be removed from the body, thus lowering bad cholesterol levels. In addition, foods that are particularly high in bad cholesterol can be avoided during the diet.
In conclusion, the ketogenic diet can be appropriate for individuals with high cholesterol. The diet encourages increased production of good cholesterol and intentional dietary decisions can be made to avoid foods particularly high in bad cholesterol.