[imagesource: Tim Noakes]
South African banting diet guru Prof Tim Noakes may have lost a little traction in the food world, but still, new research seems to suggest that his advice may have actually been putting strain on some folks’ hearts.
The newly revealed research is saying that a low-carb, high-fat “keto-like” diet may be linked to higher levels of “bad” cholesterol, doubling the risk of blocked arteries, heart attacks and strokes.
In the study, researchers defined a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet as 45% of total daily calories coming from fat and 25% coming from carbohydrates.
At least 70% of the keto/banting diet will be made up of fat, with some even saying it’s more like 90%, per CNN.
While the trendy diet includes healthy unsaturated fats such as avocados, tofu, nuts, seeds and olive oil, it also allows saturated fats like butter and coconut oil, as well as whole-fat milk, cheese and mayonnaise, which are really bad for cholesterol levels:
“Our study found 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,” 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.
Christopher Gardner, a research professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center who has conducted clinical trials on the keto diet, also said that the scientific literature suggests “the harms outweigh the benefits”:
“Elevated LDL cholesterol should not be dismissed as simply a negligible side effect of a VLCD (very-low-carb diet) or ketogenic diet,” Gardner said, pointing to the higher risk of cardiovascular events in individuals with higher ketone levels in the blood, when compared to those on a more standard diet.
The keto/banting diet limits healthy carbohydrates such as fruit, beans and legumes, and whole grains:
…“Those food groups that have to be eliminated to achieve ketosis are major sources of fibre in the diet, as well as many important nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. This is of concern to many health professionals who consider the VLCD or ketogenic diet to be harmful for long-term health,” Gardner said.
Keto is short for ketosis, a metabolic state that occurs when your liver begins to use stored fat to produce ketones for energy. The liver is programmed to do that when your body loses access to its preferred fuel, carbohydrates, and thinks it’s starving.
The researchers compared the diets of 305 people eating an LCHF diet with about 1 200 people eating a standard diet:
“After an average of 11.8 years of follow-up – and after adjustment for other risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking – people on an LCHF diet had more than two-times higher risk of having several major cardiovascular events, such as blockages in the arteries that needed to be opened with stenting procedures, heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease,” researchers found, according to the news release.
Despite the study only being able to show “an association between the diet and an increased risk for major cardiac events, not a causal relationship,” it is still worth noting as hoards of people still report being on a low-carb, keto-like or full keto diet.
Drop the banting book and aim for balance, folks. That is always what it comes down to.
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