Here’s a truth about the ketogenic diet: it absolutely raises cholesterol.
No ifs, ands or buts.
That being said, you don’t necessarily need to worry about the rise in cholesterol. I’ll explain why in just a moment.
Before I explain why you don’t necessarily have to worry about the rise in cholesterol, let’s take a moment and talk about cholesterol, an often misunderstood and unfairly demonized nutrient.
You see, people tend to believe cholesterol is dangerous.
Who can forget the little old chicken egg and how it was blamed for killing millions of people.
Those poor eggs…
The reason we’ve linked high-cholesterol levels to a variety of conditions that can lead to sickness and even death has to do with a study some 50 years ago that showed high cholesterol diets could produce heart disease.
However, cholesterol isn’t scary.
Yes, too much of the wrong kind of cholesterol can be problematic. But, our bodies need cholesterol in order to function.
A Weird Truth about Cholesterol
Without cholesterol we couldn’t reproduce, we couldn’t think and the quality of our life would suffer.
That’s because cholesterol, a fat-like substance you get when eating foods rich in cholesterol, is essential for sex-hormone production, brain function, as well as energy production.
If you don’t eat foods with cholesterol the simple truth is your body wouldn’t fully develop. Truthfully, without cholesterol you can’t live, so to say it’s an essential nutrient is not an exaggeration.
Part of the reason cholesterol has a bad rap is because the average person doesn’t understand the difference in cholesterol types.
There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The “good” cholesterol serves as a cleansing form of cholesterol. The “bad” cholesterol is something your body needs to operate – but too much of it may bind together in your arteries and veins which can lead to cardiovascular issues.
Good cholesterol is called HDL cholesterol and bad cholesterol is called LDL cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) takes cholesterol from the liver and then ferries it to cells where it’s used for the various processes I mentioned above.
The way LDL cholesterol becomes dangerous is when you have too much of it in your body. High levels of LDL cholesterol may lead to the cholesterol clumping together and forming deposits in your arteries.
Kind of like fatty trash bags that clog alleys behind a restaurant.
The deposits can form obstructions which prevent blood from flowing normally through your arteries. In some instances, these deposits may even become loose and dislodge where they can damage the cardiovascular system and form a clot.
HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins) is a form of cholesterol that helps to remove excess LDL cholesterol. That’s why HDL cholesterol is referred to as “good” cholesterol.
If your diet causes too much LDL cholesterol to form, you need to increase your HDL cholesterol levels in order to “scrape” LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream so it can be transported to your liver where it’s then disposed of.
Think of HDL cholesterol as a garbage truck, only microscopic.
In a normal state of health, your cholesterol levels should be skewed in favor of higher HDL cholesterol levels.
When HDL is higher and LDL is lower it means your body is predisposed to functioning well. Too much LDL indicates future health problems can arise.
Now that you understand this, it’ll make sense when I tell you not to worry about a ketogenic diet causing your cholesterol levels to rise.
Because as evidence shows, ketogenic diets promote the rise of HDL cholesterol which offers you a chance to live a healthy, problem-free life.
The Interesting Way the Ketogenic Diet Boosts HDL Cholesterol
Ever since the ketogenic diet became popular (which was a number of decades ago when it was used to help treat a seizure disorder in children) there have been concerns about how eating that much fat would influence cholesterol levels.
That’s why so much of the focus on the ketogenic diet is on the source of fat you’re eating.
Like anything else, there are “good” fats and “bad” fats.
And the more good, healthy fats you eat, the better your cholesterol levels will be.
For instance, a study supports eating a ketogenic diet to lower bad cholesterol levels.
The journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry showed that …
“[This study] shows the beneficial effects of ketogenic diet following its long-term administration in obese subjects with a high level of total cholesterol. Moreover, this study demonstrates that low carbohydrate diet is safe to use for a longer period of time in obese subjects with a high total cholesterol level and those with normo-cholesterolemia.”
Total cholesterol goes down when HDL goes up in order to clear out the LDL cholesterol.
In their conclusion, they wrote:
“The present study shows the beneficial effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. It significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of the patients. Furthermore, it decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increased the level of HDL cholesterol.
Administering a ketogenic diet for a relatively longer period of time did not produce any significant side effects in the patients. Therefore, the present study confirms that it is safe to use a ketogenic diet for a longer period of time than previously demonstrated.”
You’ll notice their conclusion mentioned triglycerides, too.
In addition to HDL and LDL cholesterol, one of the other forms of cholesterol you have in your body are called triglycerides.
“Triglycerides make up most of the fat that you eat and that travels through the bloodstream.
As the body’s main vehicle for transporting fats to cells, triglycerides are important for good health, though high levels of triglycerides can be unhealthy.”
When you eat healthy fats in the context of a ketogenic diet you’re able to eliminate the presence of potentially harmful triglycerides.
Simple, on a ketogenic diet you’re actually burning up those triglycerides (fat molecules) as fuel.
A body in ketosis sucks triglycerides out of the blood like a fat vacuum (no, Hoover doesn’t make fat vacuums, only you can when you’re in ketosis) and drives it into cells where they’re converted into ketone bodies. Once you form ketone bodies you use them for energy.
When you’re not in ketosis, and you’re reliant on blood glucose for energy, triglycerides remain in the bloodstream where they can wreak havoc.
That’s how adapting a ketogenic diet is so helpful for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
The Ketox Shakes Assists In a Ketogenic Diet
All this talk of a ketogenic diet and healthy cholesterol has made me hungry.
And while I beleive the ketox shake is helpful with ketogenic diets (that is why I created it, of course), I advocate that whatever you do to help support a ketogenic diet, you look closely at the quality of the fat you eat.
And our Ketox Shake uses the healthiest fats imaginable – all from MCT oil and coconut oil.
Almost all of the positive benefits of the ketogenic diet can be negated if your primary sources of fats are fats that promote healthy inflammation response.
That means do your best to avoid oils like soybean oil, corn oil, canola and more.
You can have these fats in moderation, but most of your diet should consist of healthy fats from sources like coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia nuts, avocados and the like.
You should also make sure to incorporate leafy greens into your diet. These will promote an alkaline environment that deals with excess acid that can form when you eat copious amounts of fat. Plus, they support your body’s natural detoxification system.
That’s one of the main reasons I recommend the Ketox Shake. We filled it with a ton of Superfoods that help promote alkalinity and detox.
I talk about the Ketox Shake a lot, and that’s because hundreds of patients love it and find it’s helped them with their health goals.