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A Ketogenic Diet Favorably Affects Serum Biomarkers for Cardiovascular Disease in Normal-Weight Men

Matthew J. Sharman, William J. Kraemer, Dawn M. Love, Neva G. Avery, Ana L. Gómez, Timothy P. Scheett, Jeff S. Volek


To our knowledge this is the first study to document the effects of a ketogenic diet on fasting and postprandial CVD biomarkers independent of weight loss.

Very low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets are popular, yet little is known regarding the effects on serum biomarkers for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study examined the effects of a 6-wk ketogenic diet on fasting and postprandial (after eating) serum biomarkers in 20 normal-weight, normolipidemic men.

Twelve men switched from their habitual diet (17% protein, 47% carbohydrate and 32% fat) to a ketogenic diet (30% protein, 8% carbohydrate and 61% fat) and eight control subjects consumed their habitual diet for 6 wk.

Fasting blood lipids, insulin, LDL particle size, oxidized LDL, and postprandial triacylglycerol (TAG) and insulin responses to a fat-rich meal were determined before and after treatment.


Significant decreases in fasting serum TAG (−33%), postprandial lipemia after a fat-rich meal (−29%), and fasting serum insulin concentrations (−34%) after men consumed the ketogenic diet.

Fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol and oxidized LDL were unaffected and HDL cholesterol tended to increase with the ketogenic diet (+11.5%; P = 0.066).

In subjects with a predominance of small LDL particles pattern B, there were significant increases in mean and peak LDL particle diameter and the percentage of LDL-1 after the ketogenic diet.

There were no significant changes in blood lipids in the control group.

The results suggest that a short-term ketogenic diet does not have a deleterious effect on CVD risk profile and may improve the lipid disorders characteristic of atherogenic dyslipidemia.


Low carb diets – and higher fat and protein intake, believe it or not – may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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