According to new research, following a keto diet or similar could increase the risk of heart disease as it is linked to higher levels of bad cholesterol. This could double the risk of cardiovascular events, like blocked arteries, heart attacks, and strokes.
The keto diet has been around for over 100 years and involves restricted carbohydrates. This tricks the body into thinking it’s starving, which can trigger more weight loss. Keto diets rely on fats so the person can feel full, with experts estimating that 70% to 90% of the diet is fat.
Although there are some healthy fats, like nuts and seeds, olive oil, and avocados, the diet also allows unhealthy fats including milk, cheese, butter, and coconut oil, which can increase the body’s production of LDL cholesterol and block the arteries.
For the study, the researchers compared the diets of people over a 10-year period. One group were eating a low-carb, high-fat diet with at least 45% of daily calories coming from fat and 25% coming from carbohydrates, and the other had a standard diet.
They found that those eating a high-fat diet had higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, which can predict heart disease.
Lead study author Dr. lulia latan said: “Our study found that regular consumption of a self-reported diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat was associated with increased levels of LDL cholesterol – or “bad” cholesterol – and a higher risk of heart disease.”
The researchers also noted: “After an average of 11.8 years of follow-up – and after adjustment for other risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking – people on an LCHF diet had more than two-times higher risk of having several major cardiovascular events, such as blockages in the arteries that needed to be opened with stenting procedures, heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease.”