The Keto Diet and Concerns About High Cholesterol


The Ketogenic Diet is a low-carbohydrate food plan that is gaining in popularity. The diet has allowed thousands of people to lose weight, without the feeling of deprivation that accompanies many weight loss plans. Like other low carbohydrate diets, the diet restricts foods such as bread, potatoes and pasta. An unusual feature of the keto diet is its reliance on fats to trigger a metabolic state of “ketosis,” in which calories are burned efficiently. This emphasis on fats can lead to higher cholesterol levels. If you are concerned about your cholesterol level, you can make adjustments to the keto diet to provide better cholesterol control. 

Keto and Cholesterol

The foods on the keto diet have been found to increase HDL; the “good” cholesterol humans need for normal body function. However, some individuals may also experience a rise in LDL, the “bad” cholesterol component that can lead to heart disease. Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to having high LDL levels, which the keto diet can worsen. You may wish to talk to your doctor about taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol levels. But you can also make minor adjustments in the types of foods you consume on the diet, to help lower your cholesterol.

The Benefits of Olive Oil

Some of the oils recommended on the keto diet, such as butter and coconut oil, are high in saturated fats that contribute to higher cholesterol levels. Olive oil is a much healthier substitute for these oils. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that help to lower bad cholesterol. It is also rich in antioxidants that help you to resist disease. Research has found olive oil helps to reduce inflammation in the body. And it doesn’t contribute to weight gain. Because of its many benefits, health experts recommend using olive oil as a staple in food preparation.

Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You can also help to reduce your cholesterol while on the keto diet by including fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring and anchovies. These fish contain a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids that lower triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids can also fight joint pain and depression.

The Importance of Fiber

Because many fiber-rich foods, such as oat, whole grains and beans, are high in carbohydrate content, they are not permitted on the keto diet. But consuming fiber is critical to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. You can still take advantage of fiber’s cholesterol-lowering abilities by taking fiber supplements with every meal. In this way, you will get the advantages of a fiber-rich diet, without consuming carbohydrate-containing foods.

Finding the right diet for your needs can take some experimentation and time. You can adapt the keto diet to your specific needs, to ensure that your cholesterol levels stay within normal range. In this way, you will be ensuring heart health by both managing your weight and your cholesterol.