Eating a low-carb, high-fat diet—similar to the keto diet—may increase a person’s risk of heart disease.
Low-carb, high fat diets have spiked in popularity in recent years—about 7% of the U.S. population followed some sort of high-fat diet as of 2022.
The primary concern for following a low-carb, high fat diet is that it may lead to an increase in LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels, which carry an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Eating a low-carb, high-fat diet—similar to what’s known as the keto diet—has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease for some people, new research shows.
The study, which is awaiting publication and has not yet been peer-reviewed, was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 2023 Annual Scientific Session. It found that people on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet that included no more than 25% of their daily calories from carbs had increased LDL cholesterol and were over twice as likely to experience one or more major cardiovascular events, during an approximately 12-year follow-up period.
Low-carb, high-fat diets have spiked in popularity in recent years as a means of achieving weight loss. According to survey data from the International Food Information Council, about 7% of the U.S. population followed a ketogenic or high-fat eating plan as of 2022. But experts have wondered whether following this unusual macronutrient breakdown could cause problems in the long term, especially for heart health.
In fact, the study was driven by observations by the researchers themselves that this type of diet was indeed associated with cardiovascular risk factors.
“Our study rationale came from the fact that we would see patients in our cardiovascular prevention clinic with severe hypercholesterolemia after following a LCHF dietary pattern,” said lead study author Iulia Iatan, MD, PhD, attending physician-scientist at the Healthy Heart Program Prevention Clinic, St. Paul’s Hospital and University of British Columbia’s Centre for Heart Lung Innovation in Vancouver, Canada. “This led us to wonder at the relationship between these LCHF diets, cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular…