Fat was once seen as unhealthy, but it can now be part of a nutritious diet if chosen carefully – including both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids that provide various forms of benefits.
Grass-fed butter, ghee and lard are an excellent source of beneficial saturated fats while coconut oil provides medium-chain triglycerides which support ketones bodies production.
Fat is an integral component of a balanced diet, but not all fats are created equal. There are good and bad fats which may contribute to obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats should be the focus for keto diet users while saturated and trans fats should be avoided. These healthy keto fats also boast antioxidant-rich qualities which may reduce risk factors related to heart disease and chronic diseases.
Saturated fats can be found in animal products like red meat and full-fat dairy, tropical oils and some baked or fried foods, with solid at room temperature form made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules without double bonds between their chemical structures – hence their name “saturated.” Saturated fats have been linked with an increased risk of heart disease as they raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL or “good” cholesterol.
Healthy Sources of Saturated Fat Although saturated fats have long been considered dangerous to heart health, recent research indicates they may not be as harmful as once believed. Saturated fats may actually help increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and aid blood sugar management.
Coconut and lard are popular keto diet choices because they provide both energy and essential nutrients. One ounce of coconut provides 120 calories, 6 net carbs and 4 protein; plus it includes manganese, calcium, selenium and phosphorus as essential vitamins and minerals. Lard is often selected by keto dieters to achieve balanced fat/protein ratios for muscle building and recovery; grass-fed varieties offer even more fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A & D plus omega 3s like CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) & antioxidants than its counterpart.
The American Heart Association recommends eating two to three servings of fish every week, particularly fatty species like salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines and tuna which contain omega-3 fatty acids that can lower risk of high blood cholesterol and inflammation associated with heart disease. By including these nutritious fats into your diet you can potentially lower risk.
Polyunsaturated Fats Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Another essential dietary fat for keto is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs and PUFAs. These liquid fats have a protective effect on cardiovascular system when used as replacements for saturated and trans fats; additionally they play a vital role in brain health as well as helping protect against high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.
Plant sources offer some of the healthiest MUFAs and PUFAs available; nuts, seeds, avocados and olives provide rich sources of MUFAs and PUFAs that you can add into your diet in various combinations for a nutritious fat profile. Try pairing avocado toast with tomatoes and cucumber for an easy lunch or making scrambles featuring low-carb veggies with spreadable hummus as an easy meal solution. Hard-boil eggs contain an abundance of MUFAs as well as being rich sources of butyrate for an easy yet healthy fat profile!