Keto Diet: How A Ketogenic Diet Can Actually Lower Your Cholesterol

A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people in both groups lost more fat mass than fat free mass. Their LDL cholesterol levels did not change, however. Those who followed the keto diet lost more weight, had more significant reductions in triglyceride levels, and had higher HDL cholesterol levels. This is great! HDL levels tend to rise when people.

Section 1: How a ketogenic diet can actually lower your cholesterol

In a recently published study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers were able to prove for the first time that a ketogenic diet can actually lower your cholesterol levels.

Milton Packer, MD, who is also the director of preventive cardiology at the Cardiovascular Research Institute, explained to Healthline that although the results of the study are very promising, it would be foolish to make any radical changes to your diet based on the findings.

He explained, “This is a pilot study, so it’s not clear that it would be practical to advise everyone to go on a ketogenic diet.

The effects of a ketogenic diet on LDL cholesterol levels

In the study that Arroll conducted, at the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University of Sydney, she and her colleagues, Dr. David Colquhoun, and Professor of Epidemiology Dr. Thomas Burbridge, divided 53 adults into two groups.

People in the first group were advised to follow a low fat diet for 6 months and then to follow a ketogenic diet for another 6 months. They were encouraged to avoid simple carbohydrates, fried foods, refined sugars, and alcohol.

They were also advised to avoid meat for 6 months.

The participants in the second group were told to follow a low fat diet for 6 months but were encouraged to eat meat for up to 3 months of that period.

Since meats do not have as high of a fat content.

How a ketogenic diet can actually raise your HDL cholesterol levels

In a study in the American Journal of Physiology — Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers took 50 people on a ketogenic diet and gave them a healthy, non-ketogenic diet to eat for 3 days before they tested their LDL cholesterol levels.

The healthy diet consisted of 35% of the participants’ total calories coming from carbohydrates, 12% from fat, and 35% from protein. The researchers found that those on the ketogenic diet showed a similar level of weight loss, but saw a much greater reduction in blood glucose levels.

They also had a 40% increase in HDL levels, regardless of how they were on the ketogenic diet.

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However, other studies have reported a more dramatic effect of the keto diet on blood sugar and insulin.

What this means for you

Strikingly, the keto diet has been linked to a reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, but also to a rise in HDL levels.

In a study published in the journal PLoS One, the researchers increased the carb content of a keto diet from 6% to 25%. While LDL cholesterol and triglycerides remained the same, HDL cholesterol levels rose by 6% in just 6 weeks.

The researchers behind the study conclude:

“We speculate that the apparent increase in HDL cholesterol … in response to the increased carbohydrate macronutrient content of a ketogenic diet is independent of the carbohydrate quality.


Based on all available evidence, it seems likely that a ketogenic diet will have no effect on cholesterol.

However, it is possible that very low-carbohydrate and high-fat diets could cause weight gain and serious metabolic damage.