Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and more than a third of Americans are obese, according to the CDC. Something clearly needs to change.

Unfortunately, mainstream advice about heart health is still misguided and not up-to-date on the most recent research—including the positive connection between the keto diet and heart health.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Surprising Facts About Heart Disease and Cholesterol

When it comes to heart health, there are three factors that matter:

  • LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol. LDL stands for “low-density lipoproteins” that are made of fat and protein. These lipoproteins carry fat into the bloodstream. There are two types of LDL cholesterol:
    • LDL pattern A, which is big and puffy and neutral in harm
    • LDL pattern B, which is small, plaque-forming, and dangerous
  • HDL cholesterol, also known as the good cholesterol. HDL stands for “high-density lipoproteins” that carry LDL cholesterol away from your arteries and back to your liver. This allows the cholesterol to be deconstructed and removed from your body, which is a good thing.
  • Triglycerides, fatty acids that can accumulate in the blood. High triglycerides are associated with artery plaque formation.

Most doctors will still tell you that to have a healthy heart and cholesterol, you need to reduce any foods with cholesterol and saturated fats, keep carbohydrates between 45-65 percent of total calories, exercise more to lose weight, and take statin drugs to lower your LDL cholesterol if that doesn’t work.

The truth says otherwise.

The real culprit when it comes to heart disease is oxidized cholesterol (from LDL pattern B) and inflammation resulting from:

  • Consuming excessive amounts of unhealthy polyunsaturated fats like canola oil, sunflower oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil and processed foods
  • Not eating enough anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats
  • Large amounts of carbs or sugars
  • Other lifestyle factors like toxins, poor diet, stress, and lack of exercise

(See the Truth About Cholesterol for more on this.)

Thankfully, the Keto Zone diet addresses these issues.

Keto Diet and Heart Health: How the Keto Zone Benefits Your Ticker

The Keto Zone diet can lower your triglycerides and the harmful LDL pattern B while converting LDL pattern B into neutral LDL pattern A. It can also help raise HDL “good” cholesterol.

There are two main ways the diet does this:

  • By drastically cutting your intake of sugars, carbs, and other processed foods
  • By including the right amount of healthy fats—plenty of omega-3s and a moderate amount of healthy omega-6s

Here are some examples of the heart healthy benefits of the ketogenic diet at work:

In a 2004 study on the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet on obese patients, the researchers found the diet significantly reduced the BMI and weight, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and blood glucose of the patients while increasing their HDL cholesterol levels. The long-term use of the diet also didn’t cause any detrimental side effects [1].

Another study from 2006 showed eating 20 grams of carbs or less per day significantly decreased the BMI, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and blood glucose levels of obese subjects. Their HDL cholesterol levels also increased significantly [2].

A third study from 2007 looked at the effects of a ketogenic diet on 64 obese diabetic patients. At the end of 52 weeks, the patients’ total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, and urea levels decreased significantly and HDL cholesterol increased significantly [3].

For more information on the keto diet and heart health, check out Dr. Colbert’s Keto Zone Diet book.