The ketogenic diet has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Part of that, of course, is good marketing. But marketing without substance doesn’t last long. Many diets have come and gone, but keto is still here, and there’s a good reason for that:
It works because it can easily be integrated into one’s lifestyle, it’s very satiating, and leads to sustained weight loss via complete lifestyle change.
At its essence, the keto diet is a low carb, moderate protein, high fat one. Where most diets steer clear from fats, the keto diet embraces them.
Why Fat is Important on a Keto Diet
Once you eliminate carbs from your diet and you deplete your glycogen reserves, your body has to switch gears and find a new source of energy. At that point, it begins to convert some of the fats into ketones, and they become our primary source of energy.
The human body is quite efficient at using fatty acids for energy throughout the body, but the brain can not use them. This could partly explain why we produce ketones when glucose is not available. Without them, our brains wouldn’t be able to function during periods of famine or when carbs are restricted.
Alternatively, the body would begin to rapidly break down muscle and organ tissue and convert it to glucose (through the process gluconeogenesis), and we would waste away pretty quickly.
And since fats are a crucial component for the synthesis of ketones (the primary source of energy for the body), you need to pick your foods carefully.
Good Fat sources on a Keto Diet
Cheese comes in all shapes and sizes, but all of them have one thing in common: they are low in carbs, high in fat and rich in calcium for the bones.
Fatty meats such as pork, beef, and lamb are very delicious, high in protein and high in fat. The carb content is non-existent, making them the perfect option on a keto diet.
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring are amazing options for any diet because they are loaded with essential omega-3 fatty acids that the human body cannot produce on its own.
Avocados are rich in fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats. They go well with lots of different foods and have only 2 grams of digestible carbs per 100 grams (roughly half of an avocado).
5. Recommended oils Butter, coconut oil, MCT-oil, Caprylic acid-oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, olive oil, ghee.
6. Nuts Nut’s are a good source of fat on yhe keto diet, just be aware of their often high energy and carb content. Nut’s that work well when eaten in moderate amounts are macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pecans and almonds. Stay away from cashews, pistachios and peanuts.
Some Fatty Foods to Avoid
Foods rich in processed trans fats should be avoided whether you’re on the keto diet or not. First, they are unhealthy and have been linked to issues such as heart disease, increased bad (LDL) and decreased good (HDL) cholesterol, and even cancer.
Some of these include processed vegetable oils (sunflower, soybean, and canola).
Second, most foods that contain these processed trans fats are also high in carbs. Such are most fast foods, margarine, cookies, and more.
The goal is not only to eat the appropriate ratios of fats, proteins, and carbs, but also to choose foods that are healthy.
Aim to consume whole foods that are rich in healthy fats and avoid those that come in fancy packaging.