Dr. Stephen Phinney: Is a ketogenic diet safe for your heart?

Dr. Stephen Phinney: Is a ketogenic diet safe for your heart?

July 21, 2019 4 By William Morgan


I’m not a physician but my opinion as a
researcher I would say it’s looking
pretty promising in terms of
cardiovascular
health. We have already talked about
reducing A1c without medications
and how that’s going to benefit
maintaining a lower when C is beneficial
in terms of cardiovascular risk.
And if you look at all of the independent
risk factors of cardiovascular
disease – A1c,
weight, markers of inflammation,
blood pressure –
and you look at our trial outcomes
you see all those things improve after a year.
Triglycerides are going down,
HDL is going up,
weight is going down.
Inflammation is going down when we measure
high sensitivity CRP.
If we’re seeing all of those markers
that are generally markers
of cardiovascular risk improve over the
air as a result of
eating a low
carbohydrate diet, then I would
think that this is pretty beneficial
for cardiovascular health.
The other marker that we
didn’t study
or haven’t analyzed so far in the
one your study is the blood level
of saturated fat.
It’s been a lot of debate about
saturated fat and heart health
and the idea that eating saturated
a lot of saturated fat is dangerous for you
is, as you know, the diet heart
hypothesis, has been seriously
questioned if not completely disproven
in the last few years.
But we know that the amount of saturated fat
in the bloodstream is
strongly correlated
with heart attack risk
and diabetes.
So Jeff Volek and I, in a previous
study not with diabetes
but patients with metabolic syndrome
over a 12 week period of time
– one group was assigned to a low
fat high carbohydrate diet
and the other group was randomized to a well
formulated ketogenic diet
and the one that people whom we
can do turns out were
doing three times as much saturated fat as
the people on low fat diet.
After 12 weeks
guess what happened to the blood
levels of saturated fats.
They were higher in the people on
the low fat diet
and lower than the people on the
high fat diet.
And how can you explain that?
You know because we’ve all been told
you are what you eat.
Actually you are what you save from
what you eat
and when you’re keto-adapted
the body’s ability to burn fat is
markedly enhanced
and saturated fats are rapidly
oxidized so they can’t build
up in the body.
So that other risk factor which is
harder to measure…you know…we
physicians can’t
typically write up for a
patient order a blood test for fat.
And so it’s a specialty test.
But when we made the effort
to look at that
it’s clear that when people are
keto-adapted
they’re perfected or are prevented
from accumulating saturated
fats and even that factor will will
be eliminated as well.