Is The Ketogenic Diet Affect Cholesterol?

Dieters following the ketogenic diet consume a high amount of fat, a moderate amount of protein, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates. Several studies have suggested that following this diet may affect cholesterol levels. According to the keto diet, one should consume the following amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrates daily:

  • fat: 55–60% of the day’s total macronutrients
  • protein: 30–35%
  • carbohydrates: 5–10%

The keto diet has been reported to lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL), including “good” cholesterol, while raising low-density lipoprotein (LDL), including “bad” cholesterol. The keto diet may thus not be suitable for everybody. For example, people with high cholesterol may not be advised to follow the keto diet. Please get to know more about the keto diet and how it affects cholesterol in this article. There are also safety considerations discussed.

What does the research say?

An older study published in Annals of Internal Medicine separated individuals into keto and low-fat diet groups. Both groups of participants shed more fat than lean mass during the study period. The subjects’ LDL cholesterol levels did not change. The keto diet group lost more weight, had lower triglyceride levels and had greater HDL cholesterol. The saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids replace the carbs in the body.

The study had several vital flaws: each participant was only followed for six months. So it’s unclear if or how their cholesterol levels altered. Previous research has shown mixed results. For example, True Source showed that two months after starting the keto diet, LDL cholesterol levels increased by 0.62 mmol/L.

Another study found a 0.26 mmol/L drop in LDL cholesterol after 6 months. Trusted Source also tested individuals on a ketogenic or low-fat diet for a year. This study followed up on a prior one. The previous study found that obese patients on the keto diet lost more weight and had better cholesterol levels after six months. After a year, those on the ketogenic diet had lower triglyceride levels and more excellent HDL cholesterol than those on the low-fat diet.

Also, both groups lost roughly the same amount of weight. These studies’ participants were all fat; therefore, the results may not apply to non-obese persons. Recent research has found conflicting findings. According to a 2016 study trusted Source, a ketogenic diet raises LDL cholesterol and lowers HDL cholesterol. An article from 2018Trusted Source claims that the ketogenic diet may boost HDL cholesterol levels.

Risks of the keto diet

If you follow the keto diet, you may experience the following:

  • weakness
  • headaches
  • constipation
  • muscle cramps
  • blood pressure changes
  • the keto flu

Several people report experiencing short-term keto flu symptoms when they begin the keto diet. This includes:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • sleeplessness
  • difficulty tolerating exercise
  • constipation

Safety considerations

The keto diet has been shown to lower cholesterol in several studies. Low carbohydrate diets cause the liver to produce fewer triglycerides, which may help raise HDL cholesterol. In certain people, the keto diet may elevate LDL cholesterol. So the diet may not be suitable for everyone. It may not be ideal for those with lipemia caused by fatTrusted Source.

This illness causes elevated blood fat levels. If someone with lipemia continues to eat fat, their triglyceride levels may rise, causing pancreatitis. Lipemia patients must eat a low-fat diet. People who desire to lose weight should consult a doctor for advice. Doctors must assess the dangers and benefits of the ketogenic diet, resulting in rapid weight loss, reduced triglyceride levels, and improved HDL cholesterol.

The importance of ongoing monitoring

It is highly recommended that those who follow the keto diet have normal blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked by their doctors. The diet may no longer be appropriate if a doctor notices that low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels have risen. Cardiovascular disease occurs more frequently in people with high-fat levels in their blood, such as cholesterol and triglycerides.


Some research suggests losing weight through the keto diet is a fast and effective method. Some people still struggle with following the keto diet. Perhaps they would want to consult a doctor or dietitian in this case. According to studies, people with obesity who follow a keto diet lose significant weight. The long-term health consequences of the diet, however, require further research.