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Keto diet is not healthy and may harm the heart – Harvard Health

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illustration showiing percentages of protein, carbs, and fat consuned by people on the keto diet, represented in the form of a circle with small icons in it showing different types of food

The ketogenic (keto) diet — which is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates — doesn’t meet standards for a healthy diet and may not be safe for some people with heart disease, according to a review in the March 2024 issue of Current Problems in Cardiology.

The review summarized the current evidence on how keto diets may raise heart disease risk. While the diet may dramatically reduce fat mass and weight over the short term, there is scarce evidence for any long-term benefit. Ketogenic diets appear to lower blood levels of triglycerides but raise levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol. With respect to lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, the observed short-term benefits fade over time.

The diet’s extreme carbohydrate restrictions may lead people to shun most vegetables and fruits and consume large amounts of leafy greens. But the vitamin K in these foods may interfere with the anti-clotting drug warfarin taken by some heart patients. And drugs known as SGLT-2 inhibitors, which are used to treat diabetes and heart failure, may be incompatible with a keto diet, according to the review.

Image: © Antikwar/Getty Images

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