How does a ketogenic diet affect heart rate?

Diet: Ketogenic Diet A Risk To The Heart?

Effects of the ketogenic diet studied

The ketogenic diet is trending and many are using it to lose weight. In addition, promising health benefits are also associated with the current form of diet. For example, the ketogenic diet should counteract diabetes and high blood pressure and positively influence fat metabolism. However, it could also increase the risk of heart problems.

In a comprehensive evaluation of previous studies on the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, numerous advantages for both types of diet were confirmed. However, a ketogenic diet could also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, warn the researchers from National Jewish Health in a press release on the study results. The study was published in the American Journal of Medicine.

Benefits of the ketogenic diet and fasting

In their evaluation of the available studies on the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, the researchers come to the conclusion that a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting can help people lose weight in the short term, have a positive effect on blood pressure, counteract diabetes and can also contribute to cardiovascular health.

Weaknesses of the ketogenic diet

However, the ketogenic diet allows the consumption of saturated fats and animal products such as red meat, which are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and cancer, the researchers explain. The ketogenic diet could also lead to an increased intake of foods that are known to be harmful.

Although the ketogenic diet could be an approach to preventing cardiovascular disease if carefully planned and strictly adhered to, in practice this dietary approach is probably not suitable for most people, warn the researchers.

Unhealthy fats from the ketogenic diet

The scientists also have concerns about the type and amount of fat consumed by people on a ketogenic diet. While studies strictly control the types of fat and foods that participants eat, in practice many people on a ketogenic diet consume high amounts of unhealthy saturated fat. And saturated fats are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and high levels of lipids in the blood, the researchers emphasize.

Stiffened arteries from ketogenic diet

In addition, there are individual indications that a ketogenic diet over a longer period of time can lead to stiffening of the arteries and that the risk of premature death increases, explains the research team.

Why do people lose weight on the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet puts the body into ketosis, a metabolic state in which access to glucose is reduced and which is instead mainly fed by fat. The study evaluation shows that with a ketogenic diet, weight is usually lost initially, but the weight loss is often not sustainable. In addition, it is unclear whether the weight loss is caused by ketosis or simply by calorie restriction, the team explains.

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting

The researchers also report potential health benefits of intermittent fasting, but are concerned about potential pitfalls here too. They fear that being hungry while fasting could lead many people to overeat at meals or make unhealthy food choices that have a negative impact on their cardiovascular health.

Much of the current knowledge about the potential benefits of intermittent fasting also comes from animal studies that have seen increased life expectancy, weight loss, lower blood pressure, improved glucose tolerance and better lipid levels, the team explains. To what extent these are transferable to humans remains open.

Furthermore, it is particularly important for people with diabetes, for example, to consult a doctor before attempting intermittent fasting in order to clarify how they can get their disease and the risk of hypoglycaemia under control. Because the latter threatens if you skip regular meals.

Overall, there is evidence of the beneficial effects of both diets, but neither is recommended for the treatment or prevention of any disease until extensive, long-term studies have investigated their effects, the experts conclude.

Mediterranean diet protects the heart and circulation

The research group therefore recommends diets that have already been extensively studied and that have been scientifically proven to prevent cardiovascular problems. This includes, for example, the Mediterranean diet. The foundation of such diets share a common foundation that includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.

"Diets recommended by health experts, such as plant-based and Mediterranean diets, have been extensively studied for safety and effectiveness and have clearly shown that they improve cardiovascular health," emphasizes study leader Dr. Andrew Freeman of National Jewish Health continued. (as)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.

  • National Jewish Health: Study Examines the Heart Risks and Benefits of Today‚Äôs Most Popular Fad Diets (published September 1, 2020), National Jewish Health
  • Melroy S. D'Souza, Tiffany A. Dong, Gabrielle Ragazzo, Andrew M. Freeman, Pam Taub, Laurence S. Sperling, et al .: From Fad to Fact: Evaluating the Impact of Emerging Diets on the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease; in: The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 133, Issue 10 (published October 1, 2020), American Journal of Medicine

Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.