Low-carbohydrate diets or ketogenic diets (KDs) are popular for weight loss.
However, the effects of KDs on the lipid profile (the levels of fat in the blood) of normal-weight adults have not been widely studied.
A meta-analysis was conducted to study the effects of KDs on the lipid profile of normal-weight adults.
The researchers aimed to find out whether KDs can cause dyslipidemia (a condition where there are abnormal levels of fats in the blood) in normal-weight adults.
The researchers searched PubMed and Embase databases for articles on KDs and lipid profiles.
They screened articles according to specific inclusion criteria and extracted relevant information from eligible studies. They assessed the risk of bias using the Cochrane risk of bias 2 tool.
The researchers performed a meta-analysis to estimate the effects of KDs on the levels of total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides, apolipoprotein A (apoA), and apolipoprotein B (apoB) while considering heterogeneity across studies.
They also assessed the certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach.
The team found that only three studies met the inclusion criteria.
The results showed that KDs strongly increased TC by 1.47 mmol/L and LDL-C by 1.08 mmol/L.
This means that the levels of “bad” cholesterol increased in the blood of individuals who followed a KD.
Furthermore, KDs also increased apoB levels by 0.35 g/L. These are unfavorable changes in the lipid profile.
On the other hand, KDs also increased HDL-C by 0.35 mmol/L and apoA by 0.34 g/L compared to control diets. HDL-C is considered to be the “good” cholesterol, which can protect against heart disease.
An increase in HDL-C can compensate for the unfavorable changes in the lipid profile. The study found that the levels of triglycerides were not strongly different between KDs and control diets.
To summarize, KDs have unfavorable effects on the lipid profile of normal-weight adults. The increase in “bad” cholesterol levels and apoB levels can increase the risk of heart disease.
However, an increase in “good” cholesterol levels can help to reduce this risk. The results for triglycerides were inconsistent and require further study.
People who follow KDs, especially those who are normal-weight, should be aware of the risks of hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) and consider the effects of KDs on their lipid profile.
This study highlights the importance of monitoring the lipid profile of individuals who follow KDs, especially if they have pre-existing risk factors for heart disease.
How to eat a healthy keto diet
A ketogenic or “keto” diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has been shown to help people lose weight and improve certain health markers.
However, it is important to follow a healthy keto diet to ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Here are some tips on how to eat a healthy keto diet:
Choose healthy fats: A healthy keto diet is not just about eating any type of fat, but rather healthy fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and fatty fish. These fats provide important nutrients and are less likely to increase your risk of heart disease.
Eat a variety of vegetables: Many keto diets are very low in carbohydrates, which can make it difficult to eat enough vegetables. However, vegetables provide important vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body needs.
Include a variety of low-carbohydrate vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and zucchini in your diet.
Choose high-quality protein sources: While the keto diet is high in fat, it is also important to get enough protein.
Choose high-quality protein sources such as eggs, meat, fish, and dairy products. Avoid processed meats such as sausages and hot dogs.
Avoid processed foods: Many processed foods are high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, refined grains, and artificial ingredients. Instead, choose whole, nutrient-dense foods.
Stay hydrated: When following a keto diet, it is important to stay hydrated to avoid constipation and other health issues. Drink plenty of water and consider adding low-carbohydrate fluids such as herbal tea, bone broth, or coconut water.
Monitor your ketone levels: When following a keto diet, it is important to monitor your ketone levels to ensure you are in ketosis.
This can be done with a blood ketone meter or urine ketone strips. However, it is important to note that high levels of ketones can be dangerous, so it is important to monitor them carefully.
The research is published in Nutrition Reviews.
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