This guide is our attempt at summarizing what is known. It is written for adults who are concerned about cholesterol and health, especially when eating a low-carb diet. Discuss any lifestyle changes with your doctor. Full disclaimer. For even more details and relevant research on connected topics, see our guides to healthy fats, vegetable oils and saturated fats. Also see our list of core scientific studies related to heart disease, cholesterol and saturated fats. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is essential for the life of all animals, including humans. Your body makes most of the cholesterol that is found in your bloodstream. Dietary cholesterol — found in animal foods like eggs, shellfish, cheese, and organ meat — makes up a smaller portion of your blood cholesterol pool. Unlike fat, which contains 9 calories per gram, cholesterol has no calories.
People who follow the ketogenic, or keto, diet eat high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein, and minimal amounts of carbohydrates. Some evidence suggests that following this diet can affect cholesterol levels. For this reason, the keto diet may not be appropriate for everyone. For example, healthcare professionals may advise that people with high cholesterol do not follow the keto diet. In this article, learn more about the keto diet and its effects on cholesterol. We also describe safety considerations. An older study in the Annals of Internal Medicine divided participants into a keto diet group and a low fat diet group. Throughout the study, people in both groups lost more fat mass than fat free mass. Their LDL cholesterol levels did not change, however. Those in the keto diet group lost more weight, had more significant reductions in triglyceride levels, and had higher HDL cholesterol levels. HDL levels tend to rise when people replace carbohydrates with saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is a ketogenic diet safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss. In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies the process is called ketosis.