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Report: Keto diet could increase risk of heart disease, cardiac events

Being on a keto diet could lead to health scares including chest pain, blocked arteries, heart attacks and strokes.
Posted at 5:05 PM, Mar 07, 2023

A new report shows that following a keto-like diet may increase a person's risk of heart disease. The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan. 

In the 19th century, the diet was used to help control diabetes, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The diet has gained traction in recent decades because of its use as a potential weight-loss strategy.

Hands reaching into grocery cart

Choosing a low-fat vs. a low-carb diet doesn't seem to matter

After a year on either diet, people lost the same amount of weight. Genetics and insulin response didn't seem to matter, either.


Is it good for you?

New research presented to the American College of Cardiology this month shows that the diet could be linked to higher levels of cholesterol. The study also notes that it can double the risk of heart disease and cardiac events. This includes chest pain, blocked arteries, heart attacks, and strokes.

“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,” said Iulia Iatan, MD, PhD, lead author of the study, in a press release by the American College of Cardiology. “To our knowledge, our study is one of the first to examine the association between this type of dietary pattern and cardiovascular outcomes.”

The study also found that not everyone's body responds to the diet the same way. Researchers acknowledge that more research is needed on this topic. 

A separate study by Tulane University recently found that the keto diet is bad for the environment, creating a larger carbon footprint than other ways of eating. 

The keto diet reportedly generates an estimated 3 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every 1,000 calories, while a vegan diet produces an estimated 0.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every 1,000 calories.