Don’t be fooled by the numbers. Increasing cholesterol levels can be a good thing.
If you experience higher cholesterol levels after starting keto, it is typically due to HDL (the good cholesterol) increasing, which lowers your chance of heart disease. You may also see increased triglyceride counts, but that’s very common in people losing weight. These increases will subside as weight loss normalizes.
There’s a small percent of people that experience raised LDL cholesterol as well. These elevated levels are usually fine – though harder to test. The dangers of LDL cholesterol come from the size and density, and studies have found that keto reduces these dangers by optimizing LDL cholesterol levels.
The one blood test marker you should pay most attention to, however, is not LDL or HDL cholesterol. The Total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio is what you want to track because it is the best predictor of cardiovascular disease risk on the basic blood lipid panel. To verify that the ketogenic diet is improving your cholesterol levels, make sure your total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio is between 3 and 4, below 3.5 is optimal.
If you would like to read more about how the ketogenic diet impacts cholesterol levels and what you can do about it, click here.