One of the most frequently asked questions I get about a keto/carnivore diet:
Are my cholesterol levels something I should worry about?
What’s the answer? It depends on who you ask. It also depends on your unique history.
Your PCP: “You’re going to have a heart attack! We need to start you on a statin, STAT!”
Me: Let’s look at these levels in context.
Cholesterol is not bad. It is vital! It is required to support cell membranes, produce hormones, repair damaged cells, protect our intestinal tract, insulate our nervous system, and combat inflammation, among other essential roles in our body.
Based on the research, here is what we know about a low carb, high fat dietary approach (that is, keto/carnivore):
Low-carb, high-fat diets increase the concentrations of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol more than high-carb, low fat diets
Low-carb, high-fat diets decrease LDL particle concentration (LDL-P) and increase the size of LDL cholesterol, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health
Dangerous VLDL cholesterol concentrations in the blood decrease with a low-carb, high-fat diet
Improvement in the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio has been demonstrated when dietary carbohydrates are replaced with fat
Understanding the different types of cholesterol and the ideal reference ranges in the setting of carbohydrate restriction (as compared to the SAD ranges) is essential to predict your risk of a cardiac event. In addition, your unique history matters.
If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, book an appointment. Context is everything when it comes to reviewing lab work. I’m here to help!