As a keto dieter, you need healthy fats for energy and hormone balance – but not all fats are created equal.
Avoid trans fats, which clog your arteries and are found in margarine and shortening. Instead, opt for healthy unsaturated fats like olive and coconut oils; use saturated fats such as butter in moderation.
Fat was once widely condemned as being linked with heart disease and obesity; now we understand that not all fats are created equal. Some types of MUFAs, specifically olive oil, avocados and nuts contain these unsaturated fatty acids which have been shown to promote cardiovascular health while aiding weight loss and increasing lifespan; they’re even included as staples of Mediterranean and keto diets!
Monounsaturated fats get their name from having only one carbon-to-carbon double bond, as opposed to saturated fats’ two. Furthermore, polyunsaturated fats contain multiple double bonds giving them unique structures and chemical compositions which set them apart from saturated fats making them healthier options.
Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and solidify upon cooling, and have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol while increasing good ones, improving cardiovascular health and possibly even preventing metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, they have also been shown to assist with weight loss by decreasing triglycerides while decreasing inflammation levels as well as blood sugars levels in those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
While monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) offer many health advantages, their benefits have not gone without criticism. Some research has linked their consumption with increased coronary heart disease rates; thus it is wise to consume these in moderation for best results. On balance however, most research supports monounsaturated fats as generally healthy and should be consumed within reasonable amounts as part of a balanced diet.
As part of your ketogenic diet, it is recommended to prioritize consuming monounsaturates from plant sources like olive oil, coconut oil and avocados as these MUFAs tend to be better tolerated by digestive systems than other fats – making them ideal choices.
Animal-derived MUFAs such as butter and red meat may also be included as long as they are organic or grass-fed and not processed. Vegans should limit their red meat consumption as it contains high amounts of saturated fat which may increase cholesterol.
Another key factor when selecting fats is how they will be cooked. To protect themselves from being damaged when heated too high, only use MUFAs for low to medium heat cooking as these have low smoke points – potentially leading to overheating damage. Avoid using these fats in salad dressings or high-heat recipes like stir fries. Doing so will ensure they remain as healthful as possible and protect them from becoming rancid over time. Eat plenty of vegetables when on a ketogenic diet to ensure you receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body requires from them. Incorporating too much fat without sufficient vegetables could result in nutritional deficiencies as well as fatty liver syndrome; so it is crucial that the proper mixture of ketogenic fats be consumed.
Many individuals are confused about fats, specifically those recommended in the keto diet. Some fear that consuming large quantities will clog their arteries; however, studies show otherwise. Keto-friendly fats include unsaturated sources like nuts, seeds and vegetable oils that are beneficial for heart health when replacing saturated fats. The National Library of Medicine reports that unsaturated fats feature hydrocarbon chains with one or more hydrogen atoms missing, preventing them from packing together as tightly. The lack of hydrogen gives the chain a kink, helping it remain liquid at room temperature while still being able to absorb and hold onto water efficiently. Examples of unsaturated fats are oleic, canola and sunflower oils among many others.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel, help reduce inflammation while improving blood triglyceride levels. To maximize omega-3 intake on the keto diet, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and avocados should all be consumed.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial to our bodies when consumed in moderation; however, an excessive intake can be potentially inflammatory and should therefore be balanced against omega-6 fatty acids in our daily diets.
Fatty meats provide a good source of omega-6 fatty acids, but it’s important to note that they also contain other unhealthy fats. Their saturated fats raise LDL cholesterol levels which is linked to heart disease and stroke; in addition, processing produces trans fats which contribute further to health issues like cardiovascular disease and obesity.
The keto diet recommends eating lean meats and non-fatty fish in moderation for healthy fats, with sausage and bacon as processed meats which may contain nitrates which have been linked with colorectal cancer. Olives, avocados and vegetable oils contain healthy lipids for weight loss while coconut oil provides medium chain triglycerides (MCFAs) which can promote weight loss while improving heart health by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.