The keto diet is a type of diet where more than 80% of total calories is fat. The basis of this low carb diet is to minimize the amount of carbohydrate foods. This makes it possible to use body fat as a source of energy, and losing weight as a result.
On the keto diet, selecting the best healthy fats is of great importance to reduce possible side effects.
Here are the healthiest fats for the keto diet.
Healthy fats on the keto diet
According to nutrition manuals, healthy plant-based fats such as olive oil, coconut and avocado are the ones that should be predominant in the ketogenic diet.
A keto diet based on saturated animal fats or trans fats can lead to serious health problems.
When doing the keto diet, fatty fish meats such as tuna and salmon should not be missed. This type of food will not only provide the necessary amount of protein but also have the ability to regulate the balance of omega-3 in the body.
Keto Diet – The 5 Healthiest Fats
As a general rule, monounsaturated vegetable fats are the best for your health. Consumption of this type of fat is associated with better cholesterol levels and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (2,3). In addition, these fats are usually accompanied by a greater amount of vitamins.
The best healthy fats on the keto diet are:
1. Olive oil
Olive oil is high in oleic acid. This molecule is considered an antioxidant capable of preventing cardiovascular diseases, repairing the skin, and has potential antioxidant properties. (1) Olive oil’s high vitamin E content makes it one of the best options when doing the keto diet.
No other fruit can compare to avocado for healthy fats. The variety of vitamins and minerals make avocados one of the best choices when doing the keto diet. Among the nutritional properties of avocado, its content of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K stands out. It also contains a high content of carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin, these compounds are capable of improving the absorption of the rest of the nutrients. (2)
3. Chia oil
The content of Omega-3 found in chia oil is around 34%, the highest percentage known so far in plant products. (2) Chia oil is low in saturated fatty acids compared to other vegetable oils like coconut. Furthermore, the presence of antioxidants capable of preventing the oxidation of their own ω-3 fatty acids has been recorded. For this reason, we include it as one of the best healthy fats on the keto diet.
One of the contraindications of the keto diet is constipation due to a lack of plant fiber. Nuts are one of the foods with the most plant fiber. These allow the improvement of digestive processes in particular when doing high-fat diets.
5. Coconut oil
The fats in coconut oil are primarily saturated but chain-based. This means that they can be metabolized by the body quickly. (4) Another of its unique properties is that it is a chemically more stable oil compared to its plant relatives. In addition, its flavor is versatile so it can be used in the kitchen for both a dinner and a ketogenic breakfast.
The fats to limit on the keto diet
1. Butter and cheese
The fats in cheeses are long-chain saturated fatty acids. This type of fat is associated with a higher probability of cardiovascular disease. Although a piece of cheese is allowed when doing the keto diet, it definitely shouldn’t be abused.
2. Animal fats: bacon, meats
As with cheeses, the fatty acids in animal products are mainly saturated. Although it is a type of fat allowed in the keto diet, it should not be the most dominant. As for bacon, it is recommended that its quantity does not exceed 10% of total fat.
3. Palm oil
The nutritional properties of palm oil are not as bad as its fame. Its fatty acid profile is similar to that of other vegetable oils such as coconut. The problem is that it has a higher content of palmitic acid, in excess it can increase the levels of bad cholesterol. For this reason, we do not consider it to be one of the good fats on the keto diet.
Unhealthy fats – trans fats
All people (not just those on the keto diet) should avoid trans fats. These types of fats can cause hormonal imbalances (testosterone and estrogens) and are also carcinogenic.
Studies have shown that one of the consequences of trans fats is to increase the probability of certain types of cancer such as breast cancer. (5)
These types of fats are the least healthy and their damages are the most dangerous. Trans fats do not cause symptoms, but they wreak havoc on the arteries.
The healthiest fats for the ketogenic diet are avocado and vegetable oils like chia and olive oil. It is followed by coconut oil and nuts.
The bad fats or fats that should be eaten in smaller quantities are bacon, butter and palm oil.
The worst or unhealthy fats are trans fats, these should not exceed more than 2 grams per day.
- An Overview of the Modulatory Effects of Oleic Acid in Health and Disease. Source
- Carotenoid Absorption from Salad and Salsa by Humans Is Enhanced by the Addition of Avocado or Avocado Oil, Source
- Palm Oil Consumption Increases LDL Cholesterol Compared with Vegetable Oils Low in Saturated Fat in a Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials, Source
- Trans fats — sources, health risks and alternative approach – A review. Source