‘Keto-like’ diet linked to doubling of heart disease risk

A new observational study has found that consumption of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (dubbed a ‘keto-like’ diet), was associated with an increase in LDL levels and a twofold increase in the risk for future cardiovascular events.

“To our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate an association between a carbohydrate-restricted dietary platform and greater risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” said study investigator Iulia Iatan, MD, PhD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

For the study, Iatan and colleagues defined a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet as consisting of no more than 25% of total daily energy from carbohydrates and more than 45% of total daily calories from fat. This is somewhat higher in carbohydrates and lower in fat than a strict ketogenic diet, but could be thought of as a ‘keto-like’ diet. They analyzed data from the UK Biobank, a large-scale prospective database with health information from over half a million people living in the United Kingdom who were followed for at least 10 years.

However, lipid expert Steven Nissen, MD, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, has pointed out that the LDL increase in the ‘keto-like’ diet group was relatively small and “certainly not enough to produce a doubling in cardiovascular risk.”

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