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Atkins-type Diet Raises Cholesterol and More


The August 20, 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article “The effect of a high-fat ketogenic* diet on plasma levels of lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins in childen.”1 In this 6-month study, 141 children (average age 5.2 years – 70 boys, 71 girls) were placed on an Atkins-type diet for seizure disorders.** Researchers found an average increase in total cholesterol of 58 mg/dl, “bad” LDL-cholesterol of 50 mg/dl, triglycerides of 58 mg/dl, and a decrease of “good” HDL-cholesterol of 7 mg/dl. Follow-up of these children at 12 and 24 months showed continued adverse changes in these risk factors for heart disease. All of these deteriorations are serious indicators of poorer health from a high-fat, ketogenic diet.

The most obvious conclusions from the results of this study mean ketogenic diets promote serious artery damage. The earliest signs of artery damage seen in children are fatty streaks and the later lesions seen in adolescents and young adults are fibrous plaques. Cholesterol levels reflect the chance of finding artery disease upon examination of the arteries (for example, by autopsy) or by clinical events later in life, such as heart attacks.

Here is an example of what increases in cholesterol will mean for your future health: Healthy young men age 20 to 25 years with cholesterol levels of more than 210 mg/dl were found to have 5 times the rate of heart disease 30 to 40 years later compared to those who had cholesterol of less than 170 mg/dl.2 In other words, a difference of 40 mg/dl means 5 times the risk of future heart disease. Now consider that the changes produced by the ketogenic diet in this study of children in 6 months were even worse – 58 mg/dl – an average increase in total cholesterol of 174 mg/dl to 232 mg/dl.

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.