The Ketogenic Diet and Heart Disease
These are the notes from last night’s video in the 28 Day Challenge. You can join us in the 28 Day Challenge FaceBook Group here, get our FREE 28 Day Ketogenic Meal Plan here, and pick up our recipe and instructional books here.
I can tell you from my own personal experience that one the biggest changes in my own health when I switched over to a ketogenic diet was a huge drop in blood pressure (about 40 points in 30 days) which dramatically lowered my risk of a heart attack. We know that results like that are common as a ketogenic diet reduces several risk factors for heart disease, let’s go over a few and show how this way of eating can help.
There seems to be a positive correlation between wheat consumption and heart disease that is non-linear, which means that as you eat more wheat your risk of heart disease increases at a faster rate than your rate of consumption. To put it another way if person A eats twice as much wheat as person B, person A’s risk of heart disease is more than double that of person B’s, all other factors being equal. Thanks to Denise Minger for her look at the China Study. Another study from the 1990 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded, “The consumption of wheat flour…was positively correlated with all three diseases [cardiovascular disease, hypertensive heart disease, and stroke].”
A Diet High in Carbohydrates
A diet high in carbs raises blood glucose levels which increase insulin levels which contribute to insulin resistance. High blood glucose is inflammatory and breaks down cell tissues through the glycation of protein structures. High Blood Sugar also increases your risk of mortality from high blood glucose levels. A diet high in carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fats decrease the amount of HDL and increase the amount of triglycerides and oxidated LDL particles in the blood. Each of these has been shown to correlate with greater risks of heart disease.
Lack of Exercise
A diet that causes high levels of insulin causes the body to be constantly in “fat storage” mode. As the body is trying to store excess energy, less energy is available for movement which decreases the desire to exercise. Lower levels of exercise are correlated with heart disease.
How a Ketogenic Diet Improves These Risk Factors
As you begin to remove the carbohydrates from your diet and increase the amount of saturated fat, you are going to see several things happen that will improve your risk of developing heart disease. Your blood glucose levels will drop which will reduce the amount of glycation to your body’s tissues, including the cardiac tissue. Your triglycerides will fall and your number of small, dense LDL particles will be converted to the harmless large fluffy kind. Your HDL numbers will increase. Your risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome will decrease and your insulin sensitivity will increase. Each of these factors alone will improve your risk of heart disease but to have all of them happen at once is a powerful source of cardiac health.