The Keto Diet usually produces positive effects on blood health. That includes lower blood pressure and blood sugar. However, sometimes there are negative effects of keto diet cholesterol or even a high-fat Paleo diet. This might be surprising since low-carb diets usually provide several health benefits that lower the risk of heart disease. However, like other situations, there are some exceptions. For example, if you have certain health conditions, they might cause unusual results when you go on a low-carb diet like Keto or Atkins. In many cases, it’s just a matter of making some tweaks to your diet to get the best results from low-carbohydrate diets.
In past decades health experts and scientists focused on the importance of lowering total cholesterol. However, in recent years there’s been a shift to focus on a better ratio of good/HDL to bad/LDL cholesterol. For example, in past decades we often heard that eggs were unhealthy because they were high-cholesterol. That’s actually true but it’s an outstanding source of good cholesterol. As long as you don’t have high cholesterol you shouldn’t have problems consuming a few eggs per day. If you have that condition you could swap out the egg yolks until your cholesterol levels are under control.
Keto’s Blood-Related Health Benefits
The Ketogenic diet focuses on low carbs and high fats. It swaps out carbohydrates for higher fats and protein. Fat is about 70% of total calories and protein is about 20%. Studies show this can provide several health benefits related to blood health.
Many blood-related conditions are linked to heart health. Studies show that a low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet can provide better heart health. This is done through different factors related to levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol.
Studies show that low-carb diets can help your triglyceride (blood fat) levels to drop. High levels of these molecules increase your risk of heart disease. This is something you’ll definitely want to avoid. A high-sugar diet and a sedentary lifestyle (sitting too much) can cause your triglyceride levels to spike.
Another blood-related issue you’ll likely experience on a low-carb diet is higher levels of good cholesterol. It’s important to have a better ratio of good/bad cholesterol. This, in turn, can lower your risk of getting heart disease.
It might be surprising but eating healthy fat is actually one way to boost your good cholesterol levels. Studies show that it’s more effective than eating diets that are low/moderate in good fats.
Another possible benefit of a low-carb diet is lower blood pressure. This is mostly due to consuming a diet that’s lower in sugars whether it’s from natural or artificial sources.
Studies show that a low-carb diet might help to reduce blood pressure. That, in turn, can help to lower the risk of type-2 diabetes and increase lifespan.
A low-carb diet might also help to lower insulin and blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels spike too much it can result in something called “insulin resistance.” If the process continues it can result in prediabetes or diabetes. So, it’s important to watch your blood sugar.
Keto Diet: Cholesterol Effects
In most cases, low-carb diets can help to lower your levels of total and bad cholesterol. This is from reducing your intake of carbohydrates/sugars and picking good fats versus bad fats. The body needs a certain amount of good cholesterol, while too much bad cholesterol can cause several health issues.
What if a low-carb diet is causing high cholesterol? This is where it gets a little tricky. Even among “good” and “bad” cholesterol, there are subgroups of these two main categories.
For example, if most of your LDL/bad cholesterol molecules are small you have a high chance of getting heart disease. However, you have large molecules. That’s one thing.
Recent studies also show that the number of LDL molecules is also important. In fact, this seems to be even more important than the molecules’ sizes. So, it’s critical to reduce your blood levels of bad cholesterol to boost your health.
What’s the big deal? Most blood tests just test the amount of cholesterol in your LDL cholesterol molecules. In other words, they’re testing how much bad cholesterol is in the molecules instead of how many of those molecules you have. There’s a difference.
In most cases, a low-carb diet causes good cholesterol to up and blood fat to go down. On the other hand, total/bad cholesterol usually stays about the same. The size/number of bad cholesterol molecules usually decreases. These are all positive results.
Keep in mind that nothing in life is 100%. There are times when you could have some negative results on a low-carb diet in terms of good/bad cholesterol.
There’s also an X-factor. Sometimes conditions like fast weight-loss or thyroid issues can cause high levels of bad cholesterol. For example, if you lose weight quickly your LDL cholesterol levels might spike for a while then go down later. That’s why it’s important to monitor your cholesterol levels from time to time.
Top Ways to Boost Good Cholesterol
1. Regular Exercise
Studies show that several kinds of exercise can help boost your HDL cholesterol levels. They include high-intensity workouts, strength training, and aerobic exercise. However, the best results seem to be from workouts like high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Several studies show that high-intensity workouts increase good cholesterol levels. It also seems to help with issues like better artery function and lower insulin resistance. These factors can help reduce the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
2. Coconut Oil
This is one of the healthiest oils besides olive oil in terms of heart health. It’s also high in a fatty acid called MCT, which you can also get through dairy. One surprising fact is the coconut oil is high in saturated fat. However, it still produces several health benefits.
3. Keto Diet
Going on a low-carb diet like Keto or Atkins can help to boost your body’s levels of good cholesterol. This is due to the consumption of healthy fats through foods like fatty fish, avocados, and nuts/seeds. You also lower your intake of bad fats like trans fats, and carbs/sugar found in refined grains, white sugar, etc.
The Keto diet can provide other heart-friendly benefits like lower blood pressure and blood sugar. These factors can help improve heart health.
4. Weight Loss
Simply shedding pounds and burning fat can help to increase your good cholesterol levels. This benefit seems to happen regardless of how you lose weight whether it’s calorie-counting, intermittent-fasting, or diet/exercise.
5. Olive Oil
There’s a reason this food has been on the original Mediterranean Diet for thousands of years. Fun Fact: In one study olive oil was the only food with “monounsaturated fat” that lowered the risk of heart disease.
Several studies show that olive oil can provide many health benefits related to heart health. Researchers think this is due to antioxidants found in the high-fat food that’s good for keto diet cholesterol.