Why High LDL Cholesterol on the Ketogenic Diet

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 05/13/2024

So, you've been rocking the keto diet, shedding pounds like a boss. But then, a routine checkup reveals your LDL cholesterol levels are through the roof. Panic sets in. Is your beloved high-fat, low-carb lifestyle to blame?

Before you toss out the avocados and butter, let's take a closer look at what's really going on with high LDL cholesterol on a ketogenic diet.

First off, breathe. You're not alone in this. Many keto enthusiasts have found themselves in the same boat, scratching their heads over unexpected cholesterol spikes. But here's the thing: it's not all doom and gloom.

In fact, there's a perfectly logical explanation for what's happening, and it doesn't necessarily mean your heart health is in jeopardy. So, let's break it down and get to the bottom of this cholesterol conundrum, shall we?

The Impact of Keto Diet on Cholesterol Levels

Keto, the trendy high-fat, low-carb diet, is all the rage for shedding pounds and boosting overall health. But hold up – what about your cholesterol levels on this fat-centric meal plan?

As a long-time follower of the keto diet, I've observed how it influences cholesterol firsthand. Although scientific understanding is still growing, there are crucial aspects to grasp about how keto and cholesterol intertwine.

Understanding Cholesterol Dynamics on Keto

When you switch to a keto diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, your body starts burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Fat cells release stored cholesterol into the bloodstream as part of this process.

It's important to note that cholesterol itself isn't used for energy. Instead, it's transported through the blood to the liver, where it's processed and excreted. This temporary rise in blood cholesterol levels is a normal part of the fat-burning process on keto.

High LDL Cholesterol: A Temporary Phase?

One concern some people have about keto is its potential impact on LDL cholesterol, often referred to as the "bad" cholesterol. While it's true that LDL levels may increase initially on a keto diet, this is usually a temporary phase.

As your body gets used to burning fat for energy, it also gets better at processing and getting rid of extra cholesterol.

In fact, after a few months on the keto diet, many people notice their LDL levels evening out or even going down, especially if they're eating lots of healthy unsaturated fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil.

The Role of Bile in Fat Digestion and Cholesterol Management

Bile is your body's best friend for breaking down fats and keeping your cholesterol levels in check when you're on a keto diet.

Your liver makes this powerful substance and stores it in your gallbladder, ready to spring into action and help your body absorb all those tasty fats you're eating.

When you eat a high-fat meal, your gallbladder releases bile to aid in digestion. This process not only helps your body access the energy and nutrients in fats but also helps regulate cholesterol levels by removing excess cholesterol from the body.

Healthy Keto foods

Why Bile is Crucial on a Keto Diet

On a keto diet, where fat makes up most of your calories, a well-functioning bile system is essential. Without enough bile, your body may struggle to digest fats properly, leading to digestive issues and nutrient deficiencies.

Here's a surprising perk of going keto: lower triglycerides. Yep, those fats floating in your blood can raise your risk of heart disease, but a low-carb lifestyle helps keep 'em in line.

And when triglycerides take a nosedive, your entire cholesterol situation improves. Talk about a heart-healthy bonus.

Addressing Gallbladder Congestion and Cholesterol Stones

In rare cases, the high-fat nature of the keto diet may contribute to gallbladder issues like congestion or cholesterol stones. This is more likely to occur in people with pre-existing gallbladder problems or recently lost a significant amount of weight.

If you're concerned about your gallbladder health on keto, incorporating purified bile salts into your routine may help. Bile salts can help thin and move bile, preventing stagnation and reducing the risk of stones.

As always, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional before adding any new supplements to your regimen.

Navigating Triglycerides and Liver Health on Keto

The keto diet can impact cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and liver health. Understanding these relationships is key to optimizing overall health and well-being on keto.

The Rarity of High Triglycerides on Keto

One of the benefits of the keto diet is its potential to significantly lower triglyceride levels. High triglycerides are relatively uncommon among those following a well-formulated keto diet.

When triglycerides surge on a keto diet, it may indicate hidden health problems. Liver damage or gallbladder congestion could be the culprits.

Working hand-in-hand with your healthcare provider is essential to pinpoint the underlying cause and maintain your overall well-being.

Supporting Liver Health with Purified Bile Salts

The liver is the unsung hero of the keto diet, tirelessly processing fats and managing cholesterol levels behind the scenes. For some, supplementing with purified bile salts can provide a helpful boost to the liver's efficiency, ensuring it can keep up with the increased workload.

Bile salts can help thin and move bile, preventing stagnation and reducing the risk of gallbladder issues. They may also aid in healing the liver and reducing high triglycerides, promoting overall health and well-being on keto.

Before you dive into the world of keto or start popping bile salt supplements, do yourself a favor and consult with your healthcare provider.

They'll help you determine if these changes are a good fit for your unique needs and craft a personalized plan to keep your cholesterol levels in check and your body thriving on this low-carb adventure.

Tuna patties

LDL Labyrinth

Offer insights into managing elevated LDL cholesterol levels while following a ketogenic diet. This exploration delves into the complexities of cholesterol regulation within the context of keto, providing guidance on understanding and addressing high LDL cholesterol.

Through the lens of Keto Tuna Patties, a flavorful and keto-friendly dish, readers discover practical strategies for optimizing cholesterol levels while still enjoying delicious meals.

By incorporating Keto Tuna Patties into their dietary routine and implementing evidence-based approaches to cholesterol management, individuals can navigate the labyrinth of high LDL cholesterol on keto with confidence and clarity.


High LDL cholesterol on a ketogenic diet can be a head-scratcher, but it's not the end of the world. By understanding the unique cholesterol dynamics at play during ketosis, you can navigate this temporary phase with confidence.

Remember, those elevated LDL levels are likely just your body's way of shuttling out stored cholesterol as you burn through fat.

So, keep calm and keto on, my friend. Support your liver and gallbladder with some purified bile salts, and trust the process. With a little patience and the right knowledge, you'll be back to crushing your health goals in no time.

And who knows? You might just discover that the keto life is the key to a happier, healthier you – high LDL and all.

Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan