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The Ketogenic Diet guide to Fats and Oils

Since adopting a ketogenic diet means switching one’s diet to be mainly composed of fats, it is important to know the ‘good’ fats and oils (healthy) from the ‘bad’ fats and oils (ie. unhealthy) in order to make this switch in a healthy manner.

With this in mind, lets take a quick look at the types of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats (and oils), their benefits, recommended uses based on their smoke points and the products that contain each to help you navigate this transition.

‘Good’ Fats and Oils

Fats considered “good” keto options for health purposes can be broken down into 4 categories: saturated fats, monosaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and naturally occurring trans fats.

The health benefits of ‘good fats’ include improved LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, increased immune function, maintenance of bone density, lowered blood pressure, reduced belly fat, reduced insulin resistance, etc.
Saturated fats (and oils)

Recommended use:
High temperature cooking
Sautéing
Naking
Deep frying

Recommended sources:
Red meat (preferably grass-fed or organic)
Ghee
Butter
Lard
Cream
Eggs
Coconut oil or butter
Palm oil
Eggs
Cacao butter
MCT oil or powder
Raw, whole milk

Coconut oil is especially beneficial because it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are readily broken down by the liver and used as a form of energy. MCT supplements can also be taken and are a great source of healthy saturated fats.

Monosaturated fats (MUFAs) and oils

Recommended use:
Cold use and light cooking
Simmer sauces and vegetables
Cold salad dressings
Baking
Finishing dishes
Nut and seed oils should be reserved only for cold use

Recommended sources:
Olives and extra virgin olive oil
Avocado and avocado oil
Macadamia nuts and macadamia nut oil
Goose fat
Lard and bacon fat
Duck fat
Cashews
Almonds
Brazil nuts
Pecans
Chicken fat

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and oils

Recommended use:
Cold use and light cooking
Simmer sauces and vegetables
Cold salad dressings
Baking
Finishing dishes
Nut and seed oils should be reserved only for cold use

Recommended sources:
Olives and extra virgin olive oil
Flaxseeds and flaxseed oils
Walnuts
Wild, fatty fish (i.e. salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel)
Sesame oil
Chia seeds
Nut oils (not as many peanuts because high in Omega 6s)
Avocado oil
Krill oil
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds

Naturally occurring trans fats (and oils)

Recommended use:
High-heat or cold cooking

Recommended sources:
Grass-fed animal products (grain-fed animal products are high in Omega 6s)
Dairy (i.e. butter and full-fat yogurt)

‘Bad’ Fats and oils

‘Bad’ fats (ie. unhealthy) include processed trans and polyunsaturated fats. These should be avoided when increasing your fat intake on keto as they have negative health effects: increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of cancer, increased risk of diabetes, reduced HDL and increased LDL cholesterol, decreased gut health, increased inflammation, decreased immunity, etc.

Sources of processed trans and polyunsaturated fats to avoid:

Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
Margarine
Packaged crackers
Packaged cookies
Cottonseed oil
Sunflower oil
Safflower oil
Soybean oil
Canola oil
Fast food

As a general rule-of-thumb, avoid all packaged and processed snack foods. They usually contain processed trans and polyunsaturated fats.

In summary, as you increase your overall fat intake on the ketogenic diet, is important to increase saturated fats (i.e. butter, red meats, and coconut oil), monounsaturated fats (i.e. avocado and extra-virgin olive oil), polyunsaturated fats (i.e. salmon or flax seed), and naturally occurring trans fats (i.e. grass-fed animal products or dairy).

You should avoid processed trans and polyunsaturated fats (i.e. margarine or packaged snack foods). You must be careful in how you cook and use “good’ fats, in order to receive their health benefits and avoid excess free radical consumption.

Dr Jerry Hizon

8 Healthy Ways to eat more fats on a Ketogenic diet

Starting a ketogenic diet means not only reducing carb intake but increasing your fats. Getting enough fats in your diet or knowing good from bad fats to add may be a little challenging or confusing at first. Here are some helpful, healthy ways to get your fat in on a ketogenic diet.

1) Include fat in your coffee and tea

Coconut oil, grass-fed butter, heavy cream, and/or grass-fed ghee are delicious and healthy additions to either coffee or tea. As an added plus, they will help you feel satiated in the mornings without breakfast, keep you full between meals, or even serve as a late-night dessert.
Cook with fat.

Lather vegetables and meats in healthy oils and grass-fed butter. Not only will this keep you satiated longer and keep these items from drying out in the cooking process, but it will taste better.

Healthy oils include coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, macadamia oil, almond oil, walnut oil, and sesame oil. Stay away from margarine or processed vegetable oils like cottonseed, sunflower, canola, soybean, or safflower oils (most of these items are also found in processed or packaged foods). They may be high in fats, but they are high in the ‘wrong,’ trans fats.

2) Eliminitate low-fat or fat-free items

Drizzle olive oil or butter on top of any dish, including cold foods like salads or cooked foods like lightly steamed vegetables. Sprinkle nuts, seeds (i.e. chia, flax, or sesame seeds), or shredded coconut on all dishes. 
Switch from low-fat or fat-free to full-fat ingredients.

Eliminate items titled ‘reduced fat’, ‘low-fat,’ ‘fat-free’, ‘light’, or ‘lite.’ This includes common reduced-fat peanut butter or nut-butters, creamers, or other dairy products (i.e. yogurt).

3) Choose fattier meats and fishes

Include fattier cuts of grass-fed or pasteurized meats like ribeye steaks. Avoid ‘lean’ proteins like chicken breasts (instead, choose chicken legs or wings). And yes, eay grass-fed bacon! You can also add fattier fishes, like salmon or tuna.

4) Eat full-fat cheese and dairy

You can enjoy slices of full-fat cheeses raw, charcuterie board-style or you can sprinkle them to add flavor to all your dishes. Full-fat yogurts are also great options to include in your diet, just be careful that the yogurts you buy are not high in sugars and try to stick to ‘plain’ options. For dairy supplements, full-fat coconut milk is also a great healthy fat option.

5) Eat tons of egg, avocado, and nuts

Eggs are your ultimate keto friend, they include well-balanced fats and proteins and are low in carbs. Include avocado with every meal and over-indulge on the guacamole. Add nuts or nut butter to dishes, or eat them by the hand or spoonful. Macadamia nuts or pumpkin seeds, specifically, are great fat and nutrient (i.e. zinc and magnesium) sources.

6) Have healthy-fat snacks on hand

If you maintain a busy schedule its’ sometimes hard to maintain regular meal patterns. It’s important to have healthy, high-fat snacks at hand to get you from one meal to the next. Healthy fat, on-the-go snacks include nuts or nut butter, cheese, cured meat, hard boiled eggs, pork rinds, olives, or “fat-bombs” (http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/fat-bomb/).

7) If you have to do dessert, include healthy fats.

Hey, even avid keto followers need their late-night fix. Satisfy these cravings without falling out of ketosis by eating things high in fat and low in artificial sugars or sweeteners. Good options include fat bombs or full-fat heavy whipping cream and berries.

You can also include some dark chocolates, specifically those with high cacao content (70-90%) and naturally sweetened (i.e. coconut sugar). This is not only a great source of fats but also antioxidants.

8) Take fish oil supplements

Cod liver oil can not only add fat to your diet but provides your body with things like Vitamin A, omega 3s, and vitamin D3.

These 8 ideas will help you to get the right amount of fats into your ketogenic diet. It may feel a little strange at first, but soon you will be seeing the results from the increased fat intake.

Dr Jerry Hizon