Keto Diet Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Disease in Study
The ketogenic diet, or “keto diet,” is a low-carb, high-fat diet increasingly popular with people looking to lose weight. But now a new study suggests that following this dietary pattern could lead to a greater risk of heart disease.
In a population-based cohort study, regular consumption of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet was associated with elevated levels of LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, as well as an increased risk for major adverse coronary events (MACE).
“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 — or ‘bad' cholesterol — and a higher risk of heart disease,” said lead study author Dr. Iulia Iatan with the Healthy Heart Program Prevention Clinic, St. Paul’s Hospital and University of British Columbia’s Centre for Heart Lung Innovation in Vancouver, Canada, in a statement.
The researchers looked at data from the UK Biobank, a large-scale prospective database with health information from over half a million people living in the United Kingdom who were followed for at least 10 years. 305 people were identified as adhering to the keto diet. The average age of the cohort was 54 years, with 73% of the group being female and the majority identifying as White. In a 1:4 ratio, 1220 people on a standard diet were each matched by age and gender to individuals on a LCHF diet.
The researchers found that those consuming an LCHF diet had a total fat intake higher in saturated fat and double the consumption of animal sources (33 percent) compared to those in the control group (16 percent). The standard-diet group had a lower LDL cholesterol level (3.64 mmol/L) and a higher triglyceride level (1.53 mmol/L) than the LCHF group (3.80 mmol/L and 1.34 mmol/L, respectively; P values = 0.004 and < 0.001, respectively) after follow- The LCHF group showed significant increases in total cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B.Christopher Gardner, a research professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, commented that the results of the study “This study provides an important contribution to the scientific literature, and suggests the harms outweigh the benefits.” He was not involved in the study.
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