Eating healthy fats, the correct way is extremely important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it’s even more important when looking to maintain a ketogenic or a low carb diet, where your fat intake should make up around 70%-80% of your daily caloric intake.
Trying out a new diet can be extremely frustrating at times, especially if you’re not exactly certain why you’re not seeing results. However, participating in a proper diet can lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Being successful on the keto diet is mainly determined by one simple fact: how much fat you’re consuming. Eating enough fat on the keto diet helps to keep you satiated for a longer period of time (versus carbohydrates), as well as the fight against your cravings.
The ketogenic diet is a great resource for people to use if they’re looking to produce more ketones. However, being successful on the ketogenic diet requires that you consume a lot of fat because ketosis works by changing your metabolism by using a fat as an energy source, instead of carbohydrates.
When cutting back on your carbohydrate intake, you’re going to want to look to fuel your body with fat instead of carbohydrates. You should be looking to eat enough fat at your meals that you aren’t feeling hungry for at least four hours after eating. Look to feel satisfied and not overly stuffed, but make sure that you really pay attention to your body and work to find this balance.
Good Fats vs Bad Fats
You should understand that not all fats are good fats, so even on the keto diet, you can still eat bad fats. Good fats are saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, natural trans fats, and natural polyunsaturated fats. Thankfully, the list of bad fats is much shorter and easier to keep track of; bad fats include processed polyunsaturated fats and processed trans fats.
Most of your daily fat intake should consist of monounsaturated and saturated fats. Fat is recognized by the amount of that’s dominant in the mixture. For example, Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains around 73% monounsaturated fats, so it’s considered a monounsaturated fat. On the other hand, butter is around 655 saturated fat and is considered a saturated fat.
Saturated fats are on the list of good fats and can be found in red meat, lard, cream, butter, palm oil, coconut oil, and eggs. Unfortunately, saturated fats have gotten a bad rap in the last 50 years, as many people believe that saturated fats are the main cause for obesity and coronary heart disease, but there have been many recent studies that have shown that have shown that saturated fats do not increase cholesterol levels.
Saturated fats have the longest shelf life compared to all other fats, which means that they’ll keep for a long time once you’ve bought them (as long as you store your saturated fat foods properly).
Through recent studies, saturated fats have been shown to have the following benefits when combined with the keto diet:
- Improved HDL to LDL ratio
- Maintain bone density
- Boost immune system health
- Improve HDL and LDL cholesterol levels
- Support cortisol and testosterone levels
- Raise HDL (good) cholesterol while also helping to prevent buildup of LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides and is saturated fats that our bodies can easily be digested. MCTs are mainly found in coconut oil and tend to digest in our bodies differently than any other oil.
Matter of fact, MCTs pass directly through the liver when ingested and are immediately used in the form of energy for the body. Medium-chain triglycerides are also found in butter and palm oil but are in much smaller quantities than found in coconut oil.
Healthy Polyunsaturated fats
Eating polyunsaturated fatty acids on a ketogenic diet isn’t bad, as long as you’re eating the right type of polyunsaturated fats. When heated, polyunsaturated fats can form free radicals, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, and cancer in the body. However, as long as you consume polyunsaturated fats cold and don’t use them for cooking, they’re a healthy source of fat.
On top of being a healthy source of fat, healthy polyunsaturated fats can include essential omega 3s and omega 6s. However, you should keep an eye on your ratio of omega 3s to omega 6s, which should be a ratio of 1:1; most western diets have an average ratio of 1:30.
Having a healthy balance of omega 3s to omega 6s can help to reduce the risk of:
- Heart disease
- Improve the symptoms of depression
- Improve focus on patients with ADHD
- Autoimmune disorders and inflammatory disease
Monounsaturated fats are found in extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, beef, olives, and avocados. This fat is known to be used to prevent heart disease, while also helping to encourage the body to burn through fat profiles faster. Oils that are high in monounsaturated fats such as avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, and macadamia nut oil are best for cold use or for after cooking.
Monounsaturated fat’s healthiness has never been questioned and is well-known for being a healthy fat. The health benefits of monounsaturated fats while on the keto diet can include:
- Increase HDL cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced fat around the abdomen
- Reduced insulin resistance
- Lower risk for heart disease
Hydrogenated oils, trans fats, canola oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, margarine, processed vegetable oils, sunflower oil, and safflower oil are all oils that should be limited or completely avoided because they are damaging to your health. Processed oils and trans fatty acids:
- Are often compared with genetically modified seeds
- Oxidize during high-heat processing, which creates free radicals
- Consumption of trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and obesity
- Creates inflammation in the body and are bad for the health of your gut
- Are associated with an increased risk of cancer
Do your very best to limit the number of bad fats that you’re consuming in your diet, even while you’re on the keto diet.
Polyunsaturated fats can be found in soybean oil, grape seed oil, peanut oil, corn oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil. This fat is called ‘poly’ because it contains many double bonds which happen to react with oxygen when they become heated, forming harmful compounds like free radicals.
This process creates free radicals in the body, which increases inflammation in the body, while also increasing the risk of cancer and heart disease. When consuming your polyunsaturated fats, just make sure you’re not heating them up or using them to fry.
Consuming Polyunsaturated fats can include the following risks:
- Reduced HDL cholesterol and increased LDL cholesterol
- Cause inflammation in the body
- Cause poor health in your gut
- Increased risk for heart disease
- Increased risk of cancer
|Good Fats||Bad Fats|
|Monounsaturated fats||Processed Polyunsaturated fats|
|Saturated fats||Processed trans fats|
How do I eat more fat?
When I first started on the keto diet, I felt like I needed to eat nothing but fat, which isn’t the right way to get yourself into keto. I quickly made myself sick because I was eating nothing but food that was soaked in butter, which made everything greasy! However, after doing a bit of research on how to eat more fat without making myself sick, I came across some useful tips!
1. Use full-fat ingredients
The first step you’re going to want to take when looking to increase your fat intake is to stop eating low-fat and fat-free products, including products such as dairy, peanut butter, egg whites, and sour cream. You’re going to want to work on stocking your pantry and your fridge with whole foods, like avocados, salmon, fatty cuts of meat, and eggs. The ultimate end game is to add more natural fat to your diet.
2. Cook with fat
Start cooking your meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables in natural fats, like butter, coconut oil, or olive oil. That will not only help to make your meats less dry, but it will also help to add some flavor to your dishes. However, you should know that using different types of fats will make certain dishes taste different.
If you’re not looking to be too adventurous with your foods, you can use butter. However, if you’re looking to add a bit of an Asian flair to your dishes, try using a peanut oil or a sesame oil. Even using animal fats, like duck fat, lard, or tallow fat are completely fine to eat on the keto diet.
3. Top dishes with fat
Whether you’re eating a salad, a bunless burger, or a piece of steak, add a dressing to your meal. It doesn’t matter if you’re using an actual dressing, an oil, mayo, gravy, or sour cream with your dish, just make sure that you’re topping off your meals with a fat-rich option.
4. Introduce fat bombs into your diet!
Fat bombs are small snacks that can be either savory or sweet and serve as a great tool in the ketogenic diet because they’re high fat and low in carbs. You can consume fat bombs for a fast breakfast on the go, a mid-afternoon snack, a post-workout snack, or for dessert!
Fat bombs are typically created with coconut oil or coconut butter, but some savory fat bombs are created with bacon fat or avocado. Here’s a quick recipe for chocolate fat bombs!
Two ingredient chocolate fat bombs:
You’re going to need:
- 50 grams of dark chocolate (I would suggest using 85% cacao)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
What you’re going to need to do:
- Melt your dark chocolate in your microwave, typically takes 2-3 minutes
- Melt your coconut oil in your microwave, typically takes 3-4 minutes
- Mix the dark chocolate and the coconut oil together, gently mixing the two together
- One mixed thoroughly, let the mixture cool slightly. You’re not going to want to let the mixture set, but you’re going to want to let it cool enough so that you can handle the mixture without getting burnt.
- Once cool enough to handle, fill a candy mold with the mixture
- If you don’t own a candy mold, you can purchase one from WalMart for $5
- Place in the freezer to harden
- Once frozen solid, pop the fat bombs out of the mold
When looking to consume more fats on your ketogenic diet, your main goal should be to consume fats that are unprocessed as possible. Avoid fats and oils that are found in packaged foods, that are processed, or that have been heated up.
The entire purpose of participating in the ketogenic diet is to improve your overall health, by maintaining the proper fat, protein, and carbohydrate ratios, but by also consuming food sources that are healthy. Consuming healthy fats on your ketogenic diet will help to increase your energy levels, increase your mental clarity, and encourage healthy weight loss!