The keto diet may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease

Canadian scientists followed 1,500 people for more than a decade and found that those who ate a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates were twice as likely to suffer cardiovascular events

The keto or ketogenic diet has recently become fashionable because it is considered a tool for weight loss. However, despite this and other benefits that following this eating plan would have on the body, a recent study associated it with higher cholesterol levels and consequently with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

It is that, according to a work presented at the Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology together with the World Congress of Cardiology, it suggests that a “keto-like” diet can even double the risk of this type of pathology because high levels of bad cholesterol cause the accumulation of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries that can narrow or block them.

Iulia Iatan, MD, PhD is an Assistant Physician Scientist in the Healthy Heart Program Prevention Clinic at St. Paul Hospital and Center for Heart Lung Innovation at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and lead author of the study. , and revealed: “Our study found that regular consumption of a self-reported low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet was associated with higher levels of LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, and increased risk of heart disease.” “To our knowledge, our study is one of the first to examine the association between this type of dietary pattern and cardiovascular outcomes,” she emphasized.

Carbohydrates are the body’s first source of energy, which it turns to to provide the energy it needs for daily activities. Low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets, such as a ketogenic diet, restrict the consumption of carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, and other grains, as well as baked goods, potatoes, and other fruits. and high-carbohydrate vegetables.

As specialists explain, by depriving the body of carbohydrates, it is forced to start breaking down fat for energy. The breakdown of fat in the liver produces ketones, chemicals the body uses for energy in the absence of carbohydrates—hence the name ketogenic, or ketone-producing, for this eating plan.

Proponents of a ketogenic diet generally suggest limiting carbohydrates to 10% of total daily calories, protein to 20-30%, and getting 60-80% of daily calories from fat.

For the study, led by scientists at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the researchers scanned the UK Biobank for participants who followed the keto diet.

After finding 70,684 people who had data on daily calorie intake and blood cholesterol levels taken once, they searched for 305 participants who were following a ketogenic-like diet, and compared them to 1,220 people whose diets did not meet the this definition and described themselves as “standard consumers”.

About three quarters of the participants were women and had an average age of 54 years. Furthermore, all of them were considered overweight, and for the work the data was analyzed, adjusting for factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity.

During the 12-year study, about 9.8% of people in the keto-like diet group suffered a serious cardiac event, including heart attacks, strokes, and a blocked artery that required a stent placement procedure. stent.

While in the group that ate the standard diet, only 4.3% faced serious cardiac events during the same period.

The researchers also found higher levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B, a protein that helps transport fat and cholesterol around the body in the keto group.