Ketogenic Diet: Guide to Fats and Oils
Fats and Oils are an essential source of nutrients.
By: Robert Eilers | NightOwl.FIT Community | September 11th 2017
Fats and Oils will be the primary source of your daily macronutrient requirement while on the ketogenic diet. It is however important that these fats originate from healthy fat sources. The fats and oils can be combined in many different ways to add to your meals, sauces, dressings, or just simply topping off a piece of meat with butter.
This article is a continuation of our previous post on the complete guide to the Ketogenic Diet for the Night Shift. While this post isn’t night shift specific I wanted to give everyone, including the day walkers, a complete source of information on choices for healthy fats. If our want a great resource to get you started on the Keto diet check out the book by Mark Sisson the Keto Reset Diet. I will have a review up soon. Read on.
Even with the consummation of high levels of fats and oils, it is important to get your macronutrient count right. You should be eating 5-10% calories from carbs (net carbs), 15-30% of calories from protein and 65-75% calories from fat (or even more) in order to benefit from. You can use the following calculator to ensure you have the appropriate amount of healthy fats in your diet as well as break down how much protein and carbohydrates are necessary.
When you first enter into the ketogenic diet, especially if you are doing it for health reasons, you can start with the traditional ketogenic diet with 90% of your fat coming from healthy fat and oils. The advantage to Classic Keto is that it gets you into ketosis faster.The disadvantage is that it’s really hard to eat 90% of your calories from fat, at least at first.
The amount of fat varies for all individuals and depends on your goal. Those who are lifting or are endurance athletes may require a little more protein but those who aren’t exercising will have different macronutrient requirements. That is why it is important to find your own healthy fat and oil goal by using a ketogenic diet calculator. For those of us that work the night shift, it is also important that you understand your individual food response at night by getting yourself some sort of glucose, or ketone tracker. You can find the one that I use here.
Fats and Oils: A Brief Overview
When increasing your fat intake, it’s critical to understand which fats are beneficial and which may damage your health. Simply put, the type and quality of fats matter. When deciding which oils and fats you should use, follow these rules:
As you add more fat into your diet is important to understand which fats are beneficial and which fats should be avoided. As with any standard of eating is important that your intake comes from healthy fat sources, the type, and quality of your fats and oils matters. In order to give you a quick breakdown here are the types of fats, or lipids, that you should know.
- Saturated Fats. These are allowed but know your source and quality. It is mostly in animal foods, such as milk, cheese, and meat. Poultry and fish have less saturated fat than red meat. Saturated fat is also in tropical oils, such as coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter.
- Monounsaturated Fats. Also allowed. It is mostly in oils from plants and some sources of these are olive, avocado, and macadamia nut oils. Eating foods that are high in monounsaturated fats may help lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol
- Polyunsaturated Fats. Understand your source on these. Polyunsaturated fat is the main fat found in seafood. Sources include salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, Atlantic mackerel, and Pacific mackerel are high in EPA and DHA which include healthy sources of Omega- 3. Be sure your balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is 1:1.
- Trans Fats. Skip these completely. These are processed fats and can raise your cholesterol. This is a fat that has been changed by a process called hydrogenation his process increases the shelf life of fat and makes the fat harder at room temperature. Be aware this is in some margarine and salad dressings.
Fats and Oils: Healthy Fats for Cooking
For years saturated fats have been pushed as bad for our diet. We’ve been brainwashed for the last 50 years that saturated fats and oils and cholesterol are the major causes of coronary heart disease and obesity. Perhaps it starts with the name fats itself, though the push to call them lipids(which is what fats really are), has helped take some of the brandings off of the word.
But still, we all were told to eat very little to no fats and oils for so long. Much of this information has been based on bad studies, and links created that didn’t always exist. Many choose to blame Ancel Keys. But really we only have ourselves to blame. Things handed to us in nice neat packages are so much easier to accept than to spend the time doing our own research. Though to some credit, Ancel Keys did his studies back in the 50’s where access to information is not as easy as it is today. So if you know people that are still on a low-fat kick, with the world of information in the pocket, then they are the only one to blame.
Processing fats and oils
Not all oils are the same, or sources of healthy fats. Some fats and oils have to go through intense processing before they ever make it to your kitchen. Others have such low smoke points that they destroy the nutrients in them when used for cooking. If you usually like to fry things, lean toward non-hydrogenated lards, beef tallow, ghee, or coconut oil since they have higher smoke points than other oils. This allows less oxidization of the oils, which means you get more of the essential fatty acids. You also need to use a cooking oil that has a healthy balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids, and even better if the oil is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins.
For high-temperature cooking, select cooking healthy fats and oils with a high smoke point. For low-temperature cooking, or adding to dishes and salad dressings, choose healthy fats and oils with higher Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also known for their anti-inflammatory action. Although you need Omega-6 fatty acids to maintain cell wall integrity and provide energy for the heart, too much Omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation in the body.
Best healthy Fats and Oils for cooking in no particular order:
(Smoke Point 320°F)Make sure to choose quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It has much more nutrients and antioxidants than the refined type.
- Fatty Acid Breakdown (Source):
- Oleic Acid (C18:1), a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. It makes up 55 to 83% of olive oil.
- Linoleic Acid (C18:2), a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that makes up about 3.5 to 21% of olive oil.
- Palmitic Acid (C16:0), a saturated fatty acid that makes up 7.5 to 20% of olive oil.
- Stearic Acid (C18:0), a saturated fatty acid that makes up 0.5 to 5% of olive oil.
- Linolenic Acid (C18:3)(specifically alpha-Linolenic Acid), a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid that makes up 0 to 1.5% of olive oil.
It is particularly rich in a fatty acid called Lauric Acid, which can improve cholesterol and help kill bacteria and other pathogens.The fats in coconut oil can also boost metabolism slightly and increase feelings of fullness compared to other fats.
- Fatty Acid Breakdown:
- Lauric acid 45% to 52% Saturated fat
- Myristic acid 16% to 21% Saturated fat
- Caprylic acid 5% to 10% Saturated fat
- Capric acid 4% to 8% Saturated fat
- Caproic acid 0.5% to 1% Saturated fat
- Palmitic acid 7% to 10% Saturated fat
- Oleic acid 5% to 8% Unsaturated fat
- Palmitoleic acid Saturated fat
- Linoleic acid 1% to 3% Unsaturated fat
- Linolenic acid Up to 0.2% Unsaturated fat
- Stearic acid 2% to 4% Saturated fat
- Quality Brands of Coconut Oil: Be sure to choose virgin, organic, and cold-pressed when available. Also, opt for a glass jar.
- Fatty Acid Breakdown:
(Smoke Point 350°F):
Butter is a great source of vitamins A, D, and E, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. It’s always preferential to use organic free-range, grass-fed butter as it’s generally more nutritionally dense and won’t contain any traces of antibiotics.
- Fatty Acid Breakdown:
- Saturated: 68%.
- Monounsaturated: 28%.
- Polyunsaturated: 4%.
- Quality Brands of Butter
- Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter
- Fatty Acid Breakdown:
(Smoke Point 485°F )
Ghee is a clarified form of butter. It has a host of benefits, including greater nutrient density than butter and more versatility when you’re cooking. Really good ghee has a deep yellow-orange color that reflects its high vitamin A content. It’s also got a respectable dose of vitamins D, E, and K, and has twice the short- and medium-chain fatty acids that butter has.
Animal Fats – Lard, Tallow, Bacon Drippings
The fatty acid content of animals tends to vary depending on what the animals eat. Avoid animals that have been fed a grain diet, and opt for something more natural like grass fed and pasture raised. This will increase the healthy fats and there will be more saturated and monounsaturated fats in them. Not to mention who doesn’t love bacon, except my spouse, who is weird.
Healthy Fats and Oils on the Ketogenic Diet
The fats(or lipids) that are great for the keto diet can be broken down into four categories: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and naturally-occurring trans fats. Most fats and oils are a mixture of these types, but I will categorize them based on the highest amount of a particular fat.
Fats and Oils: Saturated Fats
We covered this a little previously and how saturated fats and oils have gotten a bad rap for years, however, due to many recent studies we know this to be untrue. It has been shown that there is no significant link between saturated fats and oils, which humans have been consuming for thousands of years, and the risk of heart disease. In fact, there are many benefits of including healthy saturated fats and oils in the diet. Remember as always the quality and source of the fats and oils still plays a factor. There is a huge difference between over processed commercial raised meat sources and pasture raised grass fed meat from your local farmer’s market where you can source your meat.
One of the superstars of healthy fats and oils is saturated fat known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are mostly found in coconut oil (and in small amounts in butter and palm oil) and can be digested by the body very easily.
If you are counting on plain coconut oil or “MCT-labeled” oil to get enough useful MCTs, think again and check the label: odds are you’re getting very few of the potent shorter chain MCTs (C8 and C10), and lots of the cheaper but ineffective lauric acid. However, just about all the cheap and abundant oils in coconut oil are still good for you.
I personally regularly have a cup of Four Sigmatcic coffee every night. Obviously working the night shift I have to have some added coffee or caffeine source.
Recipe:[psp_rs_recipe name=”Ketoproof Coffee”] Add 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of MCT or XCT oil to your coffee of choice, then Add 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter or grass-fed ghee. Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it looks like a foamy latte.
Health Benefits of Saturated Fats:
- Improved HDL and LDL cholesterol levels
- Maintenance of bone density
- Boosting of immune system health
- Support in creation of important hormones like cortisol and testosterone
- Raising of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood to prevent build-up of LDL in the arteries
- Improved HDL to LDL ratio
Healthy Fats and Oils Sources of Healthy Saturated Fats:
- Butter (Grass-fed)
- Red meat (Grass-fed and pasture-raised)
- Coconut oil: Studies show that medium-chain fats suppress appetite, helping people eat fewer calories, and can boost metabolism by up to 120 calories per day.
- Eggs (Organic Free Range)Whole eggs are actually loaded with vitamins and minerals. They contain a little bit of almost every single nutrient we need.
- Palm oil
- Cocoa butter
- Avocados: Avocados are among the best sources of potassium in the diet, even containing 40% more potassium than bananas, a typical high potassium food.
- Cheese: It is a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium, and contains all sorts of other nutrients. Look for sources that come from raw milk.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is 11% fiber and contains over 50% of the RDA for iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
- Nuts: Nuts are also high in vitamin E and loaded with magnesium, a mineral that most people don’t get enough of.
- Chia Seeds: The majority of the fats in chia seeds consists of the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid called ALA. They also lower blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory effects.
- Fatty Fish: Fish is loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality proteins and all sorts of important nutrients.
Fats and Oils: Polyunsaturated Fats
Polyunsaturated fats and oils should be consumed cold and not be used for cooking as when heated, polyunsaturated fats and oils can form free radicals, which are harmful compounds that increase inflammation along with the risk of cancer and heart disease in the body. As far as fats and oils go they include both omega 3s and omega 6s. Ideally, our ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 should be around 1:1. With certain fats and oils if used to cook below their smoking point can still be beneficial without destroying their nutrient content.
Health Benefits of Polyunsaturated Fats:
- Heart disease
- Reduces Blood Pressure
- Autoimmune disorders and other inflammatory diseases
- Improves Depression and ADHD
Healthy Fats and Oils: Sources of Healthy Polyunsaturated Fats:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
- Fatty fish and fish oil
- Sesame oil
- Chia seeds
- Nut oils
- Avocado oil
Fats and Oils: Natural Trans Fats
While most trans fats and oils are very unhealthy and harmful, there’s a type of trans fat, known as vaccenic acid, found naturally in some foods like grass-fed meats and dairy fats. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats.
- Naturally occurring trans fats and oils have been in the food supply since animals were first domesticated to provide food—at least 10,000 years ago;
- Vaccenic acid, found in dairy and beef trans, is partially converted by the body into conjugated linoleic acid, which is can reduce the chance of breast cancer.
Healthy Fats and Oils Sources of Healthy Trans Fats:
- Grass-fed animal products
- Dairy fats like butter and yogurt
Disclosure: This content uses referral links. I will only recommend products I currently use and trust. Read our disclosure policy for more info.