Is the popular ketogenic or “keto” diet, which involves consuming a low amount of carbohydrate and a high amount of fat, damaging your heart? A new study at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session, together with the World Congress of Cardiology, suggests that a “keto-like” diet may be associated with higher blood levels of “bad” cholesterol and a two-fold heightened risk of cardiovascular events such as chest pain (angina), blocked arteries requiring stenting, heart attacks and strokes.
“Our study found that regular consumption of a self-reported diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat was associated with increased levels of LDL cholesterol and a higher risk of heart disease. To our knowledge, our study is one of the first to examine the association between this type of dietary pattern and cardiovascular outcomes,” said Iulia Iatan, MD, PhD, attending physician-scientist at the Healthy Heart Programme Prevention Clinic, St Paul’s Hospital and University of British Columbia’s Centre for Heart Lung Innovation in Vancouver, Canada, and lead author of the study.
For this study, Dr Iatan and her colleagues defined a low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) diet as consisting of no more than 25 per cent of total daily energy or calories from carbohydrates and more than 45 per cent of total daily calories from fat. They dubbed this an LCHF diet and “keto-like” because it is a bit higher in carbohydrates and lower in fat than a strict ketogenic diet. The research team analysed data from the UK Biobank, a large database with health information from over half a million people living in the UK who were followed for over 10 years.
“This study is going to be a game-changer because this is one of the longest ones on diet so far. And the UK Biobank has a good repository of samples. So, the results indicate that the harm outweighs the good of the keto kind of diet. Compared with participants on a standard diet, those on an LCHF diet had significantly higher levels of both LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (apoB), the protein component that the study says sits on LDL and other atherogenic lipoprotein particles. According to Dr…