Low Carb Diets and Cholesterol

Cholesterol numbers will skyrocket on low-carb diets! For years, this was the rallying cry to encourage the public to steer clear of low-carb diets. After all, what good does it do to lose weight, then drop dead of heart attack? Even though Atkins asserted from the very beginning that cholesterol numbers would go down, few believed him.

However, researchers weren’t convinced and they began performing clinical studies to evaluate the real risk. And the results shocked them. People who followed a low-carbohydrate diet for six months raised their good cholesterol and lowered their triglycerides, changes that can help lower the risk of heart disease, Duke University Medical Center researchers found. The low-carb diet improved HDL, or good cholesterol levels, and lowered triglycerides, the researchers found. The reduced fat diet lowered total cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. Both diets brought down blood levels of small LDL particles, the form of bad cholesterol most likely to lead to hardened arteries, they found.

Yet another study published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 83, pp. 989-990), suggest a more favourable cholesterol profile is observed when eating a diet low in carbohydrates, even if there is no weight loss. The researchers, led by Ronald Krauss from the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, randomly divided 178 overweight and mildly obese men with an average age of 50 into four groups. All groups ate a control diet of 54 per cent carbohydrate for one week with low saturated fat content (7 per cent) - one group stayed with this diet, while the other three had carbohydrate intake reduced to 39 per cent, 26 per cent, and 26 per cent plus an increase of saturated fat to 15 per cent.

More Information


Siri, Patty, and Krauss, Ronald. “Influence of dietary carbohydrate and fat on LDL and HDL particle distributions.” Current Atherosclerosis Reports 2005 Nov;7(6):455-9.

Volek, Jeff et al. “Modification of lipoproteins by very low-carbohydrate diets.” Journal of Nutrition 2005


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What low carb plan have you tried the most?
Atkins Diet
South Beach Diet
No White Diet - no white flour, potatoes, white rice
No sugars, high sugar fruit, starchy vegetables
I created my own low carb plan
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