Can a Low-Carb Diet Lower Cholesterol Levels?

A low-carb diet is often touted as a way to lower cholesterol levels, but the results of a recent study suggest that this may not be the case. The study found that while a low-carb diet did result in lower cholesterol levels, it lowered both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol. Compared to low-fat diets, a low-carb diet often offers little or no reduction in LDL and total cholesterol levels. Any potential benefit of increased fat metabolism is offset by increased dietary fat and cholesterol intake.

However, if low-carb diets initiate weight loss, then there could be a reduction in LDL. Eating a diet low in carbohydrates and cholesterol that is primarily based on plants is an effective way to lower unhealthy, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Experimenting with different low-carb and cholesterol recipes can help you find your favorite healthy foods. When carbohydrates are included in a cholesterol-lowering diet, the quality of carbohydrates plays an important role.

Opting for foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while limiting or avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages, refined cereals, and added sugars, can improve cholesterol level results. While these diets had favorable effects on good cholesterol (HDL), blood sugar and blood pressure, bad cholesterol (LDL) did not decrease and researchers point out that the long-term health effects of diets are unknown. Reducing your consumption of added sugar is another way to lower your cholesterol levels. Low-carb diets can be beneficial if the carbohydrates you are reducing are added sugars, bottled sauces, sweet drinks, packaged desserts, and the like.

There is some evidence that a low-carb diet can help people lose weight more quickly than a low-fat diet and can help them maintain that weight loss. Whole food-based carbohydrates generally don't contain added sugar, are packed with important nutrients, and contain more fiber than most simple carbohydrates. Including carbohydrates in an overall heart-healthy diet can help your body experience lower cholesterol levels naturally. Using net carbs (total carbs less fiber), some fruits that might fit your plan include raspberries with about 14 grams per cup and strawberries with about 11 grams per cup. Because the ketogenic diet is highly restrictive, most people don't follow it for the long term, so it's important to watch your diet and plan properly when you stop.