Study Suggests Low-Carb, High-Fat Keto-Like Diets May Increase ‘Bad’ Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk

A new study has suggested that a low-carb, high-fat diet, often referred to as a “keto-like” diet, may be associated with elevated levels of “bad” cholesterol and an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as blocked arteries, heart attacks and strokes. The American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session Together With the World Congress of Cardiology featured the study on Sunday.[0]

Lead study author Dr. Iulia Iatan with the Healthy Heart Program Prevention Clinic, St. Paul's Hospital and University of British Columbia's Centre for Heart Lung Innovation in Vancouver, Canada, said in a news release that regular consumption of a self-reported diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat was associated with increased levels of LDL cholesterol – or “bad” cholesterol – and a higher risk of heart disease.

Iatan and her colleagues categorised a Low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet as having less than 25% of total daily energy/calories from carbohydrates, and more than 45% from fat.[1] They referred to this as an LCHF diet, which is “keto-like” since it has more carbs and less fat than a strict keto diet.[2] Using UK Biobank, a database that followed individuals for at least ten years, researchers compared the diets of 305 people on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet to those of 1,200 people on a standard diet.[1]

The researchers also noticed that the LCHF diet participants’ total fat intake was higher in saturated fat and had double the consumption of animal sources compared to those in the control group.[3] Most of the participants – 73% – were women.[4]

Iatan noted the study's shortcomings, such as the possible inaccuracies stemming from self-reported dietary assessments, the minimal sample size, and the fact that the majority of participants were of British origin and did not encompass other ethnicities.[0] Iatan stated that the duration of time a person is on the LCHF diet and their weight loss could cancel out an increase in their LDL levels.[0]

Ketosis, a metabolic state in which the liver produces ketones as an energy source, is commonly referred to as Keto.[0]

0. “‘Keto-like' diet may be associated with a higher risk of heart disease, according to new research” WAPT Jackson, 6 Mar. 2023,

1. “‘Keto-like’ diet might increase risk of heart disease, study shows | Mint” Mint, 6 Mar. 2023,

2. “‘Potential cardiovascular risk' for some on keto-style diet” Healio, 5 Mar. 2023,

3. “‘Keto-like' diet may be associated with heart disease, according to new research” CNN, 6 Mar. 2023,

4. “Keto-like diet may be associated with elevated risk of cardiovascular events” News-Medical.Net, 6 Mar. 2023,

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