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Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis May Spike Your Cholesterol at Least Temporarily

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 06/11/2024

This being said, if you're considering jumping on the keto diet or intermittent fasting bandwagon to boost your overall health, you might be wondering what these diets do to your cholesterol levels.

While they've been touted for their numerous benefits like weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity, their impact on cholesterol levels is a bit more nuanced.

Understanding how the keto diet and intermittent fasting influence your cholesterol levels is crucial for making informed decisions about your health.

In this article, we'll explore the science behind these eating patterns and their potential impact on your cholesterol levels, helping you navigate your journey to better health with confidence.

Understanding Cholesterol Production and Functions

In order to function optimally, our bodies require a crucial substance called cholesterol. Lucky for us, our liver takes care of most of it, producing approximately 80%, with the remaining 20% coming from our diets.

Scientists believe that cholesterol's central role in the body is often overlooked.

Meanwhile, it substantially contributes to: production of vitamin D during sunlight exposure ; synthesis of bile acids; hormonal regulation (estrogen in females, testosterone in males) ;cell membrane structural support;

Consuming excessive saturated fat can set off a chain reaction within our bodies. As we repeatedly ingest these fatty foods, our liver can produce too much cholesterol, making it increasingly difficult to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

There are two main types of cholesterol: LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). LDL is often referred to as "bad" cholesterol because it can build up in our arteries and increase our risk of heart disease.

HDL, on the other hand, is considered "good" cholesterol because it helps remove excess cholesterol from our bloodstream and transport it back to the liver for disposal.

Welcome to the crucial task of managing cholesterol levels – our guardian against the perils of heart disease.

A harmonious blend of a proper diet, regular exercise, and medication, if necessary, is the potent cocktail that will keep our numbers in check.

The Impact of Fasting on Cholesterol Levels

If you're one of the millions of people who have discovered the benefits of fasting, you're probably wondering how it affects your cholesterol levels. The truth is, when you fast, your body starts to burn stored fat for energy, which can cause a temporary spike in cholesterol levels.

As your body adapts to this new energy source, your cholesterol levels may stabilize, and you may start to notice other positive changes in your overall health.

When you fast, your liver breaks down stored fat and releases fatty acids and cholesterol into your bloodstream. This temporary surge in LDL cholesterol levels might cause concern for some individuals.

When you start intermittent fasting, you might notice your cholesterol levels fluctuating at first. However, it's common for these increases to be temporary and for your levels to return to normal once you resume eating.

Notably, clinical trials have shown that intermittent fasting can lead to improved cholesterol levels over time by reducing inflammation and enhancing insulin sensitivity.

Fasting before a cholesterol test

If you're scheduled for a cholesterol test, your doctor may ask you to fast for 9-12 hours beforehand. This is because eating before the test can affect your results and lead to higher readings.

When you eat, your body absorbs the nutrients from food and transports them through your bloodstream.

This can cause a temporary increase in triglycerides, which are a type of fat found in the blood. High triglyceride levels can make it difficult to accurately measure LDL cholesterol levels.

By fasting before the test, you allow your body time to process any food you've eaten and return your blood sugar and triglyceride levels to a stable baseline. This helps ensure that your cholesterol test results are as accurate as possible.

A spread of healthy keto food

The Keto Diet and Cholesterol

In ketosis, your body makes the switch from sugar-burning to fat-burning, leading to impressive weight loss and improved insulin responsiveness. Although, some people experience a brief increase in LDL cholesterol as their bodies adapt.

In an unexpected twist, the keto diet has been shown to improve cholesterol levels by shifting the focus from vilifying saturated fats to identifying alternative strategies.

By striking a balance between nutrient-dense foods and measured saturated fat intake, dieters can take advantage of the potential benefits of the keto diet.

Date set aside your avocados growing – we all recognize that these can lead your tasty too & thus a healthy. Start implementing their functions can in life 14 a cholesterol-heart

Avoid making dietary changes without proper guidance - especially when it comes to your cholesterol levels. Consult with your healthcare provider first and ask about their recommendations for managing your cholesterol levels while trying the keto diet.

Remnant Cholesterol: A Better Indicator of Cardiovascular Risk

Remnant cholesterol is the cholesterol that remains in the bloodstream after the liver has removed LDL and HDL cholesterol. It's made up of small, dense particles that are more likely to stick to the walls of arteries and cause plaque buildup.

You might assume that cholesterol levels are solely a matter of cutting calories and increasing exercise.

But newly emerging research shatters this conventional wisdom, showing that remnant cholesterol can hold the secret to determining a person's susceptibility to heart disease, despite seemingly normal LDL levels.

So what are the ranges for remnant cholesterol? According to a study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, the following ranges can be used to assess cardiovascular risk:

  • Low risk: <0.8 mmol/L (31 mg/dL).

  • Moderate risk: 0.8-1.7 mmol/L (31-65 mg/dL).

  • High risk: >1.7 mmol/L (65 mg/dL).

Calculating remnant cholesterol

Remnant cholesterol can be calculated by subtracting HDL and LDL cholesterol from total cholesterol. Here's the formula:

To find your remnant cholesterol levels, start by calculating your total cholesterol by adding your HDL and LDL values. Then, subtract your HDL and LDL numbers from your total cholesterol to get your remnant cholesterol.

For example, if your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL, your HDL cholesterol is 50 mg/dL, and your LDL cholesterol is 130 mg/dL, your remnant cholesterol would be:

Remnant cholesterol = 200 - 50 - 130 = 20 mg/dL

Facing concerns about your cholesterol levels or heart disease risk? Talk to your healthcare provider. Together, you can decode your test results and devise a strategy to prioritize your heart health.

Keto & Fast

Explore how ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting can influence cholesterol levels. These popular dietary approaches often lead to improved lipid profiles by promoting fat metabolism and reducing insulin resistance.

However, some individuals may initially experience an increase in cholesterol as the body adapts. Incorporating heart-healthy snacks like Almond Butter Cookies into these regimens can help manage cholesterol levels.

These cookies, rich in beneficial fats and low in carbs, support the nutritional goals of keto and fasting while offering a delicious treat.

By understanding how these diets impact cholesterol, and choosing smart snacks, you can maintain heart health and enjoy the benefits of both keto and intermittent fasting.


Cholesterol levels during keto and intermittent fasting can be a complex topic, but understanding the science behind these eating patterns is key to making informed health decisions.

While some individuals may experience temporary increases in cholesterol levels, the long-term effects of these diets on heart health are generally positive, especially when combined with healthy lifestyle choices.

"Through embracing a mix of personalized guidance from a healthcare professional and hands-on experience with the keto diet and intermittent fasting, you'll position yourself for achieving your health goals.

Rather than accepting a blanket approach, empower yourself with knowledge, acknowledging that each person's journey will unfold uniquely and prominently.

Embrace the journey, stay curious, and keep learning about the fascinating world of nutrition and its impact on your health. With the right knowledge and tools, you can transform your life and experience the vibrant, energetic, and fulfilling existence you deserve.

Supporting Data


Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan