Studies under our observation

The ketogenic (keto) diet, characterized by high fat and protein intake and low carbohydrates, fails to meet healthy eating guidelines and might pose risks for individuals with heart disease, as indicated in a review featured in the March 2024 edition of Current Issues in Cardiology.

The review outlines how the keto diet could potentially heighten the likelihood of heart disease based on current evidence. While the diet can lead to significant short-term reductions in fat and weight, its long-term advantages remain scant. Notably, the ketogenic diet can decrease blood triglyceride levels while simultaneously elevating LDL cholesterol levels, which are linked to arterial blockages. Furthermore, while initially effective in lowering blood sugar and pressure, these benefits tend to diminish over time.

The severe restriction of carbohydrates in the diet may compel individuals to forgo many fruits and vegetables in favor of greens. However, the presence of vitamin K in these foods may pose issues for individuals taking the anticoagulant drug warfarin for heart conditions. Additionally, the review suggests that a keto diet may not be compatible with SGLT-2 inhibitors, medications commonly used to manage diabetes and heart failure.

     About the Author

  Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Julie Corliss is the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. Before working at Harvard, she was a medical writer and editor at HealthNews, a consumer newsletter affiliated with The New England Journal of Medicine. She is co-author of Break Through Your Set Point: How to Finally Lose the Weight You Want and Keep it Off. Julie earned a BA in biology from Oberlin College and a master’s certificate in science communication from the University of California at Santa Cruz.