A Guide to Good Fats and Bad Fats on a Keto Diet
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When on a keto diet, fat is an important nutrient that makes up 70% of your macros and is essential for your body to maintain ketosis. It is important to eat the right kind of fats on a keto diet, like saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and natural trans-fat.
But not all kinds of fats are good for a keto dieter. We will guide you on the good and bad fats for your keto dieting needs and clear up any confusion about which fats are good and which fats are the ones you should avoid.
What Are the Best Quality Fat Sources for Ketosis?
Fat is one of the three macronutrients found in food that helps you absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, regulates inflammation and immunity, and maintains the health of your cells. Choosing the healthy type and right amount is necessary on your keto low-carb diet to provide you with enough energy to keep your body going.
The best quality sources of good fats for the keto diet come in a variety of different forms. There’s saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, natural trans fats, and natural polyunsaturated fats. Let’s take a look at the differences between these kinds of fats and where you can find them?
Saturated fats are commonly found in some great foods that you can eat when on a balanced keto or low-carb diet, such as:
- red meat
- lard and tallow
- coconut oil (or MCTs)
Saturated fats improve your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, maintain your bone density, boost your immune system health, support hormone creation like cortisol and testosterone, and increase HDL cholesterol levels in the blood to prevent a buildup of LDL in the arteries.
Monounsaturated fats are found in the following foods:
- extra virgin olive oil
- avocado oil
- macadamia nut oil
- almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans
- lard and tallow
This type of fat is usually liquid at room temperature and starts to harden when chilled. It is also a healthy choice for energy sources and The 2016 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that we should get no more than 25% to 30% of daily calories from them.
Monounsaturated fats aid in increasing the level of your body’s HDL cholesterol, lowering your blood pressure as well as the reducing the risk of you getting heart disease.
Natural Trans Fats
Natural trans fats are commonly found in meat from grass-fed animals and also in full fat dairy products such as:
Most trans fats are unhealthy and can be harmful to your body. That is why some municipalities have banned the nutrient from restaurants and other food producers. But there is a type of trans fat known as vaccenic acid that is found naturally in foods like grass-fed meats and dairy fats that are not dangerous to your health, as the Harvard Health Letter reported.
Among the health benefits of this good, natural trans fat, known as vaccenic acid, are a reduced risk of heart disease, a reduced risk of obesity and diabetes, and even possible protection against the risk of cancer.
Natural Polyunsaturated Fats
Natural polyunsaturated fats are commonly found in foods such as:
- fish oil
- flaxseed oil
- chia seeds
Some of the health benefits of natural polyunsaturated fats include reducing the risk of heart disease and reducing the risk of stroke. This is because they help to lower bad cholesterol, the soft waxy substance that clogs the arteries.
Polyunsaturated fats also reduce the risk of autoimmune disorders and the reduce risk of various inflammatory diseases.
All of these kinds of fats are the good kinds of fats that are great for a keto diet. They are essential for your body to get all the fat that it needs to maintain ketosis.
Now let’s take a look at some examples of bad fats?
What Fats Should You Avoid?
Not all fats are beneficial for you when on a keto diet. We’re here to help you see what some of the bad fats to avoid or eliminate to reduce the risk to your health.
Processed Trans Fats and Polyunsaturated Fats
It is very important to avoid processed trans fats when on a keto diet. This is the most common type of fat that people are usually familiar with. These products can be very damaging to your health. Some of the examples of foods that contain processed trans fats are:
- processed foods of all kinds
- fast food
- commercially baked goods like cookies and biscuits.
Processed trans fats are made during food production through polyunsaturated fats and sometimes are created from oils that contain genetically modified seeds. These polyunsaturated fats are either overheated or have had their properties changed in any way, and that means the health risks can be numerous.
There are a lot of risks involved when you consume processed trans fats and non-natural polyunsaturated fats. Some of the risks include:
- heart disease
- reducing your HDL cholesterol levels and at the same time increases LDL cholesterol levels (That is the exact opposite of what you want your body to produce!)
- inflammatory issues that can damage the gut.
How to Get Enough Fat on the Keto Diet
With the confusion between which fats are good and which fats are bad cleared up, now comes the next question. How exactly do you get enough good fat that is essential for you to stay in the state of ketosis? There are a lot of sources of good fats out there available for you to choose from.
- If you love to prepare and cook all your meals at home, you can start with ingredients that contain whole full-fat, like butter, cheese, and cream.
- If you are a meat lover, you can look to getting fatty cuts of meat instead of regular or lean meat. These also tend to be more flavorful, tender, and much more inexpensive compared to the regular cuts.
- You can also change the way you prepare your meals by adding in or using more fat-rich ingredients. Cook your meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables in natural fats like butter, lard, coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil.
- As well as using more fat-rich ingredients, you can also prepare meals that have much lower carb content. A lot of the available low-carb recipes out there are very delicious and the best part is that most of them already come with increased fat ingredients.
Fats have always been associated with health issues and an unhealthy lifestyle, but with the right type and the proper amount, this macronutrient can actually provide us with amazing benefits!
In fact, that is why so many people have been adhering to the keto diet. It’s all about the fat, baby!