Does low carb have a cholesterol problem?

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Can a low-carb diet be bad for your cholesterol? Probably not… but maybe.

Most people get great cholesterol values on a low-carb diet. The only thing that usually goes up is the good HDL cholesterol, which is fantastic. This has also been shown in studies, where people on average improve their cholesterol and reduce their risk.

But even if a majority improve their cholesterol, a small minority of people may get significantly higher bad LDL cholesterol. This happens whatever type of measurement we do. Is it dangerous? Nobody knows for sure. So what do we do? Ignore it?

Dr. Sarah Hallberg (of TEDx fame) says no – we can’t ignore these people. In this presentation from this year’s low-carb conference in Vail she discusses what we should do instead – and how to think about your cholesterol on a low-carb diet.

This presentation has previously only been posted on our membership site (free trial available) but now everyone can watch it above.

Table of contents

  1:20  Sarah went into a science-based low-carb practice
  3:00  LDL on LCHF
  5:50  LDL-C and particle size
12:03  LDL research
15:25  Mechanisms for increased LDL
18:15  LDL residence time
23:30  We have to ask questions


Top videos from Low Carb Vail 2016

  1. A global food revolution
  2. He questioned his own beliefs
  3. Why a low-carb diet and other questions
  4. What's it like being a low-carb doctor on TV?
  5. 7 tips to make low carb simple
  6. The cause of obesity

More with Dr. Hallberg

“Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Starts with Ignoring the Guidelines”

Dr. Sarah Hallberg Talks Low Carb and Diabetes on FOX, Plans Clinical Trial

Dr. Sarah Hallberg’s blog, Facebook, YouTube.

The Diet Doctor Guide

What to Do if You Get Elevated Cholesterol on Low Carb

About the Hallberg presentation video

Recorded in February 2016 in Vail, Colorado, published in March 2016.
Camera operators: Max Thedeby, Isabel Savén and Simon Victor
Light: Max Thedeby
Sound: Andreas Eenfeldt
Editing: Yana Popova


  1. Hyper responder
    I wonder if she (or any other concerning the elevated LDL during low carb) consider the people who are dietary cholesterol hyper responders in their observations? In the video she denys the effect of dietary cholesterol. My experience of the issue is that when I moved from the daily egg in breakfasts to one in week, my LDL-C dropped about 35% (no labs of LDL-P). But as it usually goes, my LDL/HDL was acceptable in both cases. I think that it is really common that when starting the low carb, also the consumption of eggs rises quite a lot.
  2. Bob Niland
    Glad to see that they are banking samples. If not already planned, subjects need to be checked for genetic correlations, such as ApoE, Lp(a) & FH generally. Correlations with thyroid function (fT3, fT4, rT3, TA, and why not, TSH) might be revealing.

    Some microbiome samples might prove useful.

    Various micronutrients may need retroactive study as well.

    I'd like to think that the diet tracking is detailed enough to tease out Omega 6 linoleic acid consumption. People doing LCHF usually know to avoid transfats, but are often unaware of the hazards of ω6LA, and where it lurks. The program diet instructions may have covered this.

    Disappointed that the fictional LDL-C is still getting even lip service. Would also rather have seen CAC vs. CIMT. But on the whole, some unconfounded learning seem likely.

  3. Eric
    Based on the mice results. Of various time restricted feeding Windows on various nutrient mixes I would !ike to human results? On various nutrient levelsa and time restricted feeding window s Maybe eating window to time is as or more important as macro nutrient levels? If mice results are any guide then time restricted feeding windows will be predictive and useful. Eric
  4. Andy
    I commend the editors of this site for making some talks/data freely available as information dissemination needs to increase. But surely the access to a range of important, rich and diverse investigations should not be exclusive to a select few based upon their ability to fund access? IF you truly value the potential impact of knowledge, please share it so we can make more informed decisions and maybe stand more chance of getting it right. In that I include the multitude of medical professionals who do not access or interpret information.
  5. Sara
    I am one of those unhappy guys...

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