Many people are still worried about following a keto diet for fear that it will cause side effects. Before following a specific diet, you need to know the basics and requirements. As for the keto diet, it requires consumption of high-fat foods and a low carb intake. Since fats are often associated with heart disease, many people are concerned if they should follow it or not especially those who already struggle with high cholesterol to begin with.
Fat deposits as an energy fuel
One thing you have to remember is that the keto diet stimulates the use of stored fat deposits as a fuel. And when the body burns body fat, it will generate ketones. This will directly affect the total cholesterol level in the body. To get into a ketogenic state is not easy. You need to eat high-fat foods for a long period of time. Constant deprivation of carbs will force the body to switch to fat for fuel.
However, it’s also worth-noting that there are two types of fats that can be used. The first one is dietary fat that you get from foods. The second one is the fat stored in the body. To lower cholesterol, the body should be conditioned to use your body fat. Intermittent fasting will help accelerate the process. When there’s no other fat to use, it will break down the fat deposits, instead.
To ensure that the the body burns the stored fat, you should limit fat and protein intake. Being in a ketogenic state doesn’t mean you can overeat everything. Besides fat, the body can also use protein for energy. So if you include a lot of high-protein foods to the diet, they may ruin the whole plan. A high-protein diet works differently, so it’s important to follow the requirements of each diet to succeed.
Good and bad cholesterol
One thing people seem to forget is that cholesterol comes in two forms, namely LDL and HDL. Low-Density Lipoproteins aka the bad cholesterol is the one you should consume in limited quantities because it has been closely linked to cardiovascular disease. And then there is also HDL or High-Density Lipoproteins. This is called the good cholesterol because it helps transport cholesterol from body tissues into the liver.
From the liver, it will be excreted out, so the amount of cholesterol in your body will be controlled. As long as the foods consumed contain mostly good cholesterol, you shouldn’t worry about having high cholesterol after following a keto diet. Some studies found that people who followed this diet had their good cholesterol elevated. This would keep cholesterol levels in check.
How a keto diet affects cholesterol levels
Many keto dieters found that their total cholesterol increased after following this diet plan. However, the high total cholesterol isn’t actually bad because in this case, it’s mainly caused by a spike in HDL. Meanwhile, the triglycerides tend to decrease after following the diet for quite some time. As for the LDL, the numbers vary from person to person. HDL is what matters when it comes to preventing heart disease as it contributes to minimizing the effect of LDL. For this reason, you need to consume foods like fatty fish and those containing fat-soluble antioxidants.