When referring to low-carb diets, most people only think of them in terms of weight loss. While this is certainly a key aim, low-carb eating also offers other benefits in the way your body burns fat and manages blood sugar glucose levels. This also includes the way in which a carbohydrate-restricted diet can positively influence triglyceride and cholesterol levels in your blood. Low-carb diets work by reprogramming our body to burn different sources of fuel. In most American diets, the primary source of fuel is glucose. With a low-carb diet, the reduction of carb intake means that your body has to find alternative fuel sources, namely fat. This change in metabolism, known as ketosis, can affect the volume of lipids fatty molecules that doctors use to measure heart health, namely triglycerides and cholesterol. Our body fat is made up mainly of triglycerides. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t use into triglycerides. These lipids are stored in fat cells and released for energy whenever the body needs it. Even though the body needs triglycerides to function properly, most of us have far too much.
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Controversial topics related to a low-carb diet, and our take on them, include saturated fats, cholesterol, whole grains, red meat, salt and restricting calories for weight loss. Whether or not cholesterol is the most important risk factor for heart disease in people who eat a low-carb diet — and whether or not lowering it is important — remains to be proven. We recognize the difficult situation many people face if they have seen significant benefits from a low-carb lifestyle yet experience a rise in LDL. It may be hard to imagine abandoning a way of eating that has helped you lose weight, improve blood sugar, reverse diabetes, normalize blood pressure, decrease hunger or provided other benefits. Fortunately, there are ways to lower your LDL without losing the many positive effects of a low-carb lifestyle. Some doctors still focus on total cholesterol as a number of importance. Since total cholesterol is made up of LDL and HDL cholesterol, however, how can we know which is the cause of a higher total cholesterol? Low-carb diets are well known for increasing HDL cholesterol, which will in turn increase total cholesterol. Therefore, before reacting to a higher total cholesterol level, make sure you know your breakdown between LDL and HDL.
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