The Risks of the Keto Diet: Higher Risk of Heart Disease
The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is a popular low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has recently gained attention for its potential to promote rapid weight loss. While the keto diet has been found to be effective for short-term weight loss, recent research suggests it could put people at an increased risk of heart disease.
The study, which was presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session Together With the World Congress of Cardiology, showed that people who followed a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (LCHF) had more than double the risk of having several major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease, compared to those who followed a standard diet.
The LCHF diet was defined as no more than 25% of total daily calories from carbohydrates and more than 45% of total daily calories from fat. The study utilized data sourced from the UK Biobank, a vast repository featuring health data of over 500,000 citizens of the UK who were monitored for a decade or longer.
For the study, 305 participants whose questionnaire responses met the study’s definition of an LCHF diet were matched by age and sex with 1,220 individuals who reported eating a standard diet.
The findings suggest that following an LCHF diet could be linked to a higher risk of heart disease and elevated levels of bad cholesterol. Dr. Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford’s Prevention Research Center, who had no part in the study, stated, “This study provides an important contribution to the scientific literature, and suggests the harms outweigh the benefits. Elevated LDL cholesterol should not be dismissed as simply a negligible side effect of a VLCD (very-low-calorie diet) or ketogenic diet.”
Before starting this dietary pattern, it is recommended to consult a health care provider and have cholesterol levels monitored. It is also important to address other risk factors for heart disease or stroke, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and smoking. As with any diet, it is important to ensure that your intake of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals is balanced.
Ultimately, the decision to begin a keto diet should be made with caution and after consulting a doctor or nutritionist.
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