This blog is centered pacifically to address does LDL Cholesterol is bad for health when on a low carbs/Keto diet. Spike in LDL cholesterol has raised many doubts in doctors, clinicians, and general people who follow the keto diet for weight loss.
Let’s first understand what are the foods that we are allowed to eat on a low carbs/Keto Diet. It is a fatty meat, Fish, Whole eggs, Dairy i:e Ghee, butter, and cheese which makes 60-70% of total calories coming from fat, Now that’s a lot of fat. And we all know Fat increases cholesterol in our body. So-Called BAD cholesterol and lower’s good Cholesterol called HDL.
However, LDL and HDL are not Cholesterols but lipoproteins particles strange isn’t?! well, we are going to discuss lots of strange stuff during this course of the article so stick to the end.
Topics to discuss
- What is Cholesterol
- Good and Bad Cholesterol
- What Is Oxidized cholesterol and can it cause heart diseases?
What is Cholesterol
Before diving into LDL and HDL cholesterol first understand what is Cholesterol. Cholesterol is waxy-like substance that is essential for our life. It Does and contributes to many functions in our body. Every cell in our body needs cholesterol to maintain fluidity and integrity. We need cholesterol for neurotransmission in other words better brain functioning Most of the body cholesterol resides in the brain in the form of a myeline sheet.
The main function of cholesterol is producing hormones. Hence it is seen that pregnant women have high cholesterol levels for reproducing. A 1997 study of university students found that cholesterol levels rose “proportional to the degree of examination stress.”
When you’re under stress you can expect your body to produce more cholesterol to make enough amount of cortisol (stress hormone) to deal with stress. You can expect your cholesterol to go sky high and your doctor to prescribe you statin – a cholesterol-lowering drug
Cholesterol also plays a vital role in the production of sex hormones making women look beautiful and men look handsome. also explains why men taking statins have been found to have lower testosterone.
So yes Cholesterol do help in making steroid hormones like testosterone, Estrogen, Cortisol and most of all vitamin D3 which helps to maintain calcium level in our body. The liver converts cholesterol into bile acids which helps you absorb fats and other essential fat-soluble vitamins like A, D,E, and K.
A 2001 paper documents the changes in 3572 elderly people’s serum cholesterol concentrations over 20 years, and compared them with rates of death. They found that the group with the lowest cholesterol had the lowest rate of survival. The author’s interpretation? “We have been unable to explain our results”
Good and Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is insoluble in the blood because blood is watery but it is essential for cholesterol to be transported where it is required I:e brain cells. To do so cholesterol binds with proteins as proteins are soluble in water, Protein and cholesterol together form particles called Lipoproteins.
LDL being the low-density lipoproteins and HDL being the High-density lipoproteins. So whenever we are referring to LDL and HDL cholesterol we are referring to cholesterol that contains in different lipoprotein particles.
The role of LDL is to transport cholesterol from arteries to all over your body. Think as LDL a truck and arteries as highway so LDL helps transport cholesterol from the liver to a different part of the body wherever it is required.
Once the LDL job is over here comes the conventional hero so-called good cholesterol HDL to take remaining cholesterol way from the body to the liver which liver further flushes it out from our body.
In this talk by Peter Attia, he explains: “We were taught that LDL cholesterol is a big risk, right? If your LDL cholesterol is high, you are at risk for heart disease, and yet, we’re seeing that some of the time that turns out to be patently false. This is a study that looked at 136,000 patients admitted to the hospital for a coronary artery event and in these patients, they looked at LDL cholesterol level and you can see that nearly 50% of them had what you would consider a low LDL cholesterol level.”
There are various types of lipoproteins with varying densities, but many scientists believe oxidized cholesterol to be the real problem as it initiates the process leading to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. This brings us to our last and final topic.
What Is Oxidized cholesterol and can it cause heart diseases?
One of the biggest contributors to heart disease is so-called heart-healthy vegetable oils.
As the consumption of soybean oil started to rise by more than 1,000 fold per person, Margarine consumption increased by 12 fold and simultaneously consumption of animal fat took a downtown. As we were seeing this drastic shift from animal fats to oils heart rates numbers started to increase too.
The issue with the polyunsaturated fatty acids found in vegetable oils is that their structure is highly unstable. Meaning when exposed to oxygen or heat they generate toxic by-products and free radicals. which bind with cholesterol present in our arteries and oxidize them and thus lead to heart disease.
So when these oils are heated free radicals along with small lipid fragments called aldehydes can form. Aldehydes are well known to be toxic.
Research by Martin Grootveld, a professor of bioanalytical chemistry and chemical pathology, showed that “a typical meal of fish and chips”, fried in vegetable oil, contained as much as 100 to 200 times more toxic aldehydes than the WHO safe daily limit. In contrast, heating up butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and lard in tests produced far lower levels of aldehydes. Maybe McDonald’s ought to switch back to making their fries in beef tallow, as they did before the early ’90s.
By now it is clear that oxidized cholesterol can lead to heart disease and vegetable oil oxidized the cholesterol.
Cholesterol is waxy-like substance that is essential for our life. helps in hormonal production testosterone in men and estrogen in women. Cholesterol is insoluble in the blood because blood is watery hence it binds to LDL to transport cholesterol to the body. The remaining cholesterol is taken back by HDL. Oxidized cholesterol is responsible to cause clogged in our arteries which happens due to the consumption of vegetable oils. It is always recommended to cook your food in ghee and butter and keep vegetable oils out of the kitchen.