Keto diet may be linked to higher risk of heart disease, study finds

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The ketogenic or “keto” diet has been growing in popularity in recent years.

It involves limiting carbohydrate intake to less than 10% of daily calories and increasing fat intake to up to 80% of daily calories.

This puts the body in a state of ketosis, where it uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

Some studies have suggested that this type of diet can lead to weight loss and other health benefits.

But a new study suggests that an low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet may be linked to higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and an increased risk of chest pain (angina), blocked arteries requiring stenting, heart attacks, and strokes.

The team analyzed data from over half a million participants in the UK Biobank, a large-scale prospective database with health information from people living in the United Kingdom.

The researchers defined an LCHF diet as consisting of no more than 25% of total daily energy or calories from carbohydrates and more than 45% of total daily calories from fat.

They found 305 participants whose self-reported diet during a 24-hour reporting period met this definition and matched them with 1,220 people who reported eating a standard diet.

Compared to those on a standard diet, those on an LCHF diet had much higher levels of LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (apoB), a protein component that sits on LDL and other atherogenic lipoprotein particles.

After an average of 11.8 years of follow-up, people on an LCHF diet had more than two-times higher risk of having major heart disease events, such as blockages in the arteries that needed to be opened with stenting procedures, heart attack, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.

The team notes that not everyone responds to an LCHF diet in the same way. Some people’s cholesterol concentrations can stay the same or even go down on this type of diet.

However, the findings suggest that people considering an LCHF diet should be aware of the potential risks, particularly those with high levels of LDL cholesterol, and should consult with a healthcare provider before starting the diet.

While on the diet, people should have their cholesterol levels monitored and address other risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, and smoking.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that yogurt may help lower the death risks in heart disease, and coconut sugar could help reduce artery stiffness.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that Vitamin D deficiency can increase heart disease risk, and results showing thyroid hormone treatment intensity linked to higher death risk in heart disease.

The study was conducted by Dr. Iulia Iatan et al and presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session Together with the World Congress of Cardiology.

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