This Article is From Mar 10, 2023

Heart: Can Keto-Like Diets Lead To Heart Diseases?

In this article, we discuss the effects of keto on our cardiovascular health.

Heart: Can Keto-Like Diets Lead To Heart Diseases?

The keto diet may increase one's risk of chronic cardiovascular diseases

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to encourage your body to burn fat for energy by taking relatively few carbohydrates and replacing them with fat. Losing weight and reducing your risk of contracting certain diseases are two health advantages. 

The low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet has many health advantages. In fact, a number of studies indicate that this kind of diet can aid in weight loss and health improvement. Supposedly, even the prevention of diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer's disease may be aided by ketogenic diets.

However, recent studies may suggest otherwise. Keto-like diets may be linked to a higher risk of chronic cardiovascular diseases. Continue reading as we discuss the effects of keto on our cardiovascular health. 

According to research results given at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session, a ketogenic diet may result in higher levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), generally known as "bad" cholesterol, which may raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

How does the keto diet work?

The keto diet, in its strictest form, consists of 75% fats, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. Foods like lean meats and cheese are therefore OK, but soda, grains, and bread are off limits. Under normal conditions, the body uses carbs, which are then broken down into glucose and released into the bloodstream, as a source of energy for its cells. But, when the body is deprived of that source, it is forced to seek out fats, a condition known as "ketosis." 

To produce energy when in ketosis, the body converts fat molecules into what are known as ketone bodies. In some ways, it's a catabolic process. If you don't consume calories, it breaks down your fat and muscle mass.

The fundamental problem is that ketosis may serve as the body's backup strategy for obtaining fuel and energy. Many beneficial effects have been noted, however, scientists are unsure of the long-term effects of continuous keto-based eating. As Keto and other low-carb diets mainly rely on fats to make you feel full. The keto diet must contain at least 70% fat; other experts believe it should be closer to 90%. 

The diet allows saturated fats like lard, butter, and coconut oil, as well as whole-fat milk, cheese, and mayonnaise, even though you can get all that fat from healthy unsaturated fats like those found in avocados, tofu, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Saturated fat-rich diets enhance the body's production of LDL cholesterol, which can accumulate in the arteries and obstruct blood flow to the heart and brain.

How does keto affect heart health?

Following an average of almost 12 years of follow-up, people on a diet similar to keto had a more than doubled chance of experiencing a number of serious cardiovascular events, including artery blockages requiring stents, heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral arterial disease.

The ketogenic diet is high in animal products and saturated fats, and it may increase cholesterol levels as well as inflammation and stress. A low-carb, high-fat diet has a similar tendency to be low in carbohydrates and fibre while being high in animal products and saturated fats. These characteristics may affect the microbiome, raise cholesterol levels and inflammation in the body, and raise the risk of heart disease.

Although it is important to recognise that these studies may be made on people that were inherently at a higher risk of chronic cardiovascular diseases prior to getting on the ketogenic diet. In other words, it's possible that persons who admitted to following an LCHF (low carb, high fat) diet had a higher chance of developing heart disease due to their intrinsic risk profile rather than the diet itself. To properly comprehend this, additional research, such as randomised trials, would be necessary. 

In conclusion, the mixed results of the ketogenic diet must not be ignored. If you wish to follow the keto diet for weight loss, we recommend you follow a more balanced diet in a calorie-deficit state. For other health conditions, it is ideal to speak to a healthcare professional. 

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.