Keto diet most common myth: it will increase your cholesterol level. However, recent medical studies revealed new facts about fats and cholesterol. Many people who get into low-carb diet get alarmed when they cholesterol go up. So in this article, we will discuss why keto diet is actually good for you. Likewise, we should only fully understand how cholesterol works.
Breaking Down Cholesterol and Keto Diet
There is so much misunderstanding about cholesterol. People would often regard cholesterol that is harmful to the body and should be maintained at its lowest level. So little did we know that cholesterol is such an important part of keeping a healthy body. Here’s why.
Can cholesterol trigger heart attack?
Cholesterol is a sterol molecule the liver naturally produces but we can also get it from animal-based food products. So whether you are in a ketogenic diet or not, you will have cholesterol.
Cholesterol serves vital functions for our body. It is critical for brain tissues and nervous system. It also transports fat-soluble nutrients to cells for proper usage. Therefore, it plays a major role in hormones estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and testosterone.
The Framingham Heart Study
The Framingham Heart Study in Massachusetts gave a shocking revelation of cholesterol’s connection with heart disease. So it showed that 40% of those who had a heart attack actually has a cholesterol level lower than 200. Further, those who have less than 180 total cholesterol levels has 300% more chance of getting a stroke. Finally, low cholesterol levels are linked to poor cognitive functions for people of old age.
There’s no direct correlation between cholesterol and diseases mentioned as per the study. Where is really the problem? Answers are found on what composes cholesterol.
What is “bad” cholesterol or LDL?
Firstly, LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. Since cholesterol is not soluble in the blood, the lipoprotein transports it to the cell membrane for utilization. However, LDL particles vary in size and that affects its impact on our body.
So to clarify, the larger the LDL particle, the more helpful it is for carrying fat-soluble nutrients and anti-oxidants. On the other hand, smaller LDL molecules are most likely to be oxidized and since they are too small, they can easily enter arteries. Therefore, it is the small LDL particles that become plaque and cause heart disease; hence the name bad cholesterol. But a keto diet shows preventing smaller LDL to occur.
How about HDL or “good” cholesterol?
HDL is high-density lipoprotein. It’s another transporter which carries LDL back to the liver for recycling before it harms the arteries’ walls. It keeps the LDL level low and lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Looking at how LDL and HDL works, it is only proper to NOT look cholesterol levels separately. Cholesterol should be treated as a whole, taking into account a balanced ratio between LDL and HDL together with another lipid component, the triglyceride.
What is Triglyceride?
Triglycerides are another form of lipid in the body. So when you have a high-carb diet, any unused calories will be converted to triglyceride. Certainly, if they are not burned, they become a contributing factor in thickening of artery walls. Therefore, the right ketogenic diet targets lowering your triglyceride.
How does keto diet affect your cholesterol?
Your ultimate goal is to maintain the right balance of your LDL, HDL, and triglyceride. A low-carb high-fat keto diet will make you LDL size bigger to transport more fat-soluble nutrients and not enter the artery. It also increases your HDL to bring more LDL from your bloodstream to your liver. Most of all, it will lower your triglycerides because you are consuming fewer carbs.
I hope this information helps you understand why keto diet is good for you.