How To Lower LDL on keto & Cholesterol on A Low-Carb Diet?
Have you noticed that a low carbohydrate diet raises your cholesterol or LDL (low-density lipoprotein)? Are you interested in learning how to lower your LDL cholesterol? This guide will help you figure out what you can do to reduce your LDL by following a low-carb diet.
It remains to be seen whether cholesterol is the most important risk factor for heart disease in people who eat low carbohydrates - and whether it is necessary to reduce it. However, the modern medical consensus is that elevated LDL levels increase cardiovascular risk. We recognize the plight of many people who have seen significant benefits from a low-carb lifestyle but have experienced an increase in LDL.
It can be hard to imagine giving up a diet that has helped you lose weight, improve your blood sugar, reverse your diabetes, normalize your blood pressure, reduce your appetite, and so on. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce LDL without losing the many positive effects of a low-carb lifestyle.
Mix Total Cholesterol With LDL
Some doctors still consider the value of total cholesterol to be a significant number. If total cholesterol is made up of LDL and HDL cholesterol, how can we tell which total cholesterol is rising?
Low carb diets are known to raise HDL cholesterol, which in turn raises total cholesterol. However, this increase is not alarming in terms of cardiovascular risk. So before you react to high cholesterol, make sure you know how to break it down into LDL and HDL.
Understand the difference between LDL-C and LDL-P.
Most cholesterol blood tests measure LDL-C, which is the total amount of cholesterol in our LDL particles. However, LDL-P, or the total number of LDL particles in our blood, is an even better indicator of cardiovascular risk. Some studies on low carbohydrate diets have shown an increase in LDL-C without a change in LDL-P (or Apo B, which is an indication of LDL particles).
How does it happen Studies show that carbohydrate restriction can convert small LDL particles into larger particles? Therefore, there may be more total cholesterol, but less LDL particles. In theory, this would not indicate a significant increase in cardiac risk and would not require corrective action.
How To Lower LDL Cholesterol on A Low-Carb Diet?
Cut out excess saturated Fat
Sometimes a small change can make a big difference. Although we say this based primarily on clinical practice, just cutting off excess liquid saturated fat can normalize LDL levels. This means cutting MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) butter and oil into coffee, fat bombs, and another keto "goodies."
Some people may find that limiting their saturated fat intake to whole foods (beef, cheese, eggs, etc.) is what they need to improve LDL levels.
Consider Replacing Saturated Fat With Unsaturated Fat.
For others, the small changes mentioned above may not be enough to make a significant difference in LDL. In these cases, it may be necessary to reduce the saturated fat from all sources and replace it with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
In practice, this means less beef, cheese, cream, and more fish, macadamia nuts, avocado, and olive oil.
Liquid polyunsaturated fats, such as industrial seed oil, are a source of controversy. This is because observational studies show a small cardiovascular benefit, but randomized controlled trials (RCTs) show that they can lower LDL levels but do not reduce cardiac events. You can read more about this in our guide on vegetable oils.
Another option is to go on a vegetarian or vegan, keto, or low carb diet, which is usually low in saturated fat. You can find more details on our vegetarian and vegan low-carb diet in our guides.
For many people, reducing or eliminating saturated fat by following a low-carbohydrate, high-unsaturated fat diet can successfully lower LDL cholesterol. The most important question is, is it a sustainable diet? It is very personal and requires individual experience.
Eat Plenty Of Fiber
High-fiber keto foods such as avocado, leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds can lower LDL cholesterol. However, if increasing the intake of these foods adds too many carbohydrates, you may want to consider supplementing with 5 grams of xylem straw twice daily to reduce LDL.
Try To Eat on Time.
Although there is not much data on punctual food and lipids, a small pilot study showed a significant decrease in LDL-C in people who ate 10 hours a day. Although more data is needed, it is understandable that combining this exercise with some other suggestions in this guide may have additional LDL-lowering effects. If you would like to learn more about how to implement it, you can read our Guide to the Timely Diet.
Know Your Carb Threshold.
The last option to consider is increasing the number of carbohydrates you eat. Sometimes I have to ask myself, do I need to be in ketosis? Or, will following a low-carb diet of 50 or 100 grams of carbohydrates be enough to reach my health goals?
If you have changed your diabetes and want to make sure it doesn't come back, you may need to stay in ketosis. However, if you have tried a ketogenic diet to curb your cravings and lose some weight, you can safely increase your carbohydrate intake.
The important thing is to be wise and honest with yourself about how things change when you add more carbohydrates. And remember, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Even if you increase your daily carbohydrate intake to 100 grams per day, it does not mean that grains and sugars are back on the menu.
Try to make "new" carbohydrates the main source of starchy vegetables, fruits, and legumes. If you notice a loss of appetite, loss of control, or any other negative effect, you will need to return to the strict carbohydrate limit to avoid undoing the progress that has been made in your health. See our guide on whether or not to cut carbohydrates for more information.