Considering how popular it is these days, there probably aren’t many people who haven't heard of the keto diet. This eating pattern entails consuming high-fat, low-carb food with the aim of helping you get into ketosis. This metabolic state allows your body to burn fat for energy rather than glucose. Therefore, a diet like this has numerous advantages.
But how come fats play such a crucial role in this eating regimen, you may wonder? Shouldn’t you be increasing your intake of protein instead? What are the most healthy fats for keto? Join us as we try to answer these questions and explain this phenomenon in more detail.
What Is Keto?
Before you decide to take up any sort of diet, it’s important to understand how it works and whether you’ll find it beneficial. With a keto diet, you are essentially focusing on swapping your energy source from carbs to fats. As a result, your carb consumption will be much smaller than your fat intake. Now, diets that are low in carbs aren’t revolutionary, out-of-this-world eating patterns. They’ve been around for years — the only difference is that keto also focuses on fats, which had a negative reputation in the past.
You’ll be eating meals that are low in carbs (5%), have a medium amount of protein (15%–25%), and are extremely high in fats (70%–80%). We know this sounds counterintuitive, but we will explain.
Not all foods are equal — that's why this eating pattern is built around the best keto fats. A diet rich in fat inhibits the body's use of carbohydrates for energy, thus helping to reduce insulin secretion. These foods will help you achieve ketosis, control your appetite, promote weight loss, boost your immune system, and improve your heart health. You’ll want to avoid starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, flour, and certain fruits because of their high glucose content.
Good vs. Bad Fats
We’ve already touched upon the subject of healthy fats for keto, so let’s explore this further. There are several types of fats — saturated, unsaturated, and trans — each affecting your body differently.
For instance, saturated fats are a topic of many debates. While it’s generally believed they can be detrimental to your health, this claim isn’t necessarily true and doesn’t mean you need to cut these foods out completely. Instead, experts recommend limiting your intake to promote a healthier diet. Foods that contain this type of fat include milk, cheese, butter, and some varieties of meat.
While the evidence is inconclusive when it comes to saturated fats, their unsaturated counterparts are an entirely different matter. They have double chemical bonds, impacting how our bodies store and use them. You can lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood by replacing saturated and monounsaturated fats with unsaturated ones. Foods rich in unsaturated fats include avocados, nuts, vegetable and seed oils, fish, etc.
Finally, trans fats are manufactured by hydrogenating vegetable oil. As such, our body treats them as foreign substances, and they can contribute to atherosclerosis and heart disease. Desserts like cakes, pies, frosting, and anything with margarine are packed with trans fats and should be eaten in moderation.
How to Incorporate More Healthy Fats Into Your Diet
We’ve established by now that there are different fats, some better for you than others. Therefore, it’s essential to incorporate healthy fat sources into your daily meals to reap all the benefits of a ketogenic diet. Below are some suggestions of the best fats to eat on keto if you lack ideas.
- Avocado: Aside from being an excellent source of healthy fats, this fruit also contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can have it on toast, make guacamole, or add it to your favorite smoothies.
- Nuts: They are a great way to incorporate plant-based protein, fiber, and fats. So, purchase some pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts, or whatever nut you like, and create a trail mix you can carry wherever you go.
- Greek yogurt: We did mention that dairy products fall into saturated fats. However, full-fat Greek yogurt can complement your keto diet quite nicely. Moreover, it’s packed with good bacteria, which promote gut health.
- Eggs: Another way to add diversity to your ketogenic eating plan is by including eggs. They are incredibly versatile and rich in vitamin B and antioxidants.
- Fish: Salmon, anchovies, and tuna are prime examples of fatty fish rich in omega-3 fats and protein. You can bake or grill them or mash them, add some dill and Greek yogurt, and you’ve got yourself a perfect wrap spread.
Advantages of the Keto Diet
The benefits of a keto diet are numerous. Those trying to lose weight will experience a curbed appetite once their bodies enter the state of ketosis. As your consumption of carbohydrates becomes more limited, the level of triglycerides and insulin in your bloodstream will drop, too. As a result, your metabolic system will work at a more optimal level.
Since ketogenic fat focuses on healthy fats like omega-3, which help reduce triglyceride levels, your heart and circulatory system will also be strengthened. Certain studies also indicate that this eating pattern positively impacts our nervous system and brain cells. Ketones become the primary energy source for the body and brain and have a neuroprotective effect.
Finally, the changes in your diet become apparent to the naked eye as your body adjusts to the decreased levels of carbohydrates. This reduction curtails the appearance of acne and makes your skin glow.
Now that you know what keto good fats to incorporate, you can finally start changing your diet. Remember, everyone is unique, so this might be a journey of trial and error until you get things right. You might experience stomach aches, fatigue, and dizziness as your body starts to adjust. If you have diabetes or high triglycerides, make sure to consult a professional beforehand. Remember to consume fats from nutrient-packed foods so you can maximize the ketogenic diet's benefits.