With the increasing popularity of ketogenic diets, many people are concerned about its impact on heart health. This is a valid concern because heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In this article, we will explore the link between keto-like diets and heart diseases to help you make an informed decision about your dietary choices.
What is a keto-like diet?
Keto-like diets are low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets that aim to induce a state of ketosis in the body. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This is achieved by drastically reducing the intake of carbohydrates, usually to less than 50 grams per day, and increasing the intake of fats, usually to more than 70% of total calories.
What is the link between keto-like diets and heart diseases?
There is limited research on the long-term effects of keto-like diets on heart health. However, some studies have suggested that these diets may increase the risk of heart diseases.
One study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that participants who followed a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet for more than 20 years had a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke.
Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that participants who followed a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet for one year had higher levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart diseases.
However, it’s worth noting that these studies have limitations, such as small sample sizes and short duration of follow-up. More research is needed to fully understand the link between keto-like diets and heart diseases.
How can you reduce the risk of heart diseases on a keto-like diet?
If you choose to follow a keto-like diet, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of heart diseases:
- Choose healthy fats: Not all fats are created equal. Focus on consuming healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in foods like avocado, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
- Limit saturated and trans fats: Saturated and trans fats can increase the risk of heart diseases. Limit your intake of foods high in these fats, such as red meat, butter, and processed foods.
- Incorporate fiber-rich foods: A high-fiber diet can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Include fiber-rich foods like non-starchy vegetables, berries, and nuts in your diet.
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can increase the risk of heart diseases. Drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated.
- Monitor your health: If you have a history of heart diseases or other health conditions, consult with your healthcare provider before starting a keto-like diet. Regular check-ups and monitoring can help detect any potential health issues early on.
While the link between keto-like diets and heart diseases is not yet fully understood, it’s important to approach these diets with caution. If you choose to follow a keto-like diet, make sure to choose healthy fats, limit saturated and trans fats, incorporate fiber-rich foods, stay hydrated, and monitor your health. By taking these steps, you can reduce the risk of heart diseases and enjoy the potential benefits of a keto-like diet.