When I first started the keto diet getting my head around eating fats as a source of fuel was a big mind bend. It went against everything I’d ever known in the “healthy eating” category, but since I was treating my 90-day challenge as an experiment I went with it.
This is what I learned:
There are 4 types of fat,
Saturated Fats- Warning bells ringing? Actually no. Recent studies have debunked a lifetime of hearing about how they are linked with heart disease. In fact there are many benefits of including saturated fats in keto including improved HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, maintenance of bone density, boosting immune system health, helps create important hormones like cortisol and testosterone, they raise HDL (good cholesterol) and prevent the build-up of LDL in the arteries, and improve the ratio between good and bad cholesterol.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol) andLDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol) are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to and from the body’s cells in the blood. … The liver then packages these triglycerides as fats in your adipose tissue, and turns some of it into cholesterol.- taken from www.medicinenet.com for more info
Good sources of Saturated fats are:
- Coconut oil
- Palm oil
- Cocoa butter
- And for the meat eaters, red meat and pig fat (lard)
You must have to been living under a rock if you haven’t heard about the benefits of coconut oil. It has certainly been getting a lot of publicity in recent years. Coconut oil falls under the category of saturated fats. The buzz around coconut oil is the fact it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), they are digested very easily and pass straight to the liver for an immediate boost of energy which makes them great for fat loss. I find a 15ml shot of MCT oil in protein powder is a great start to my eating for the day, and a shot of MCT before working out can be a great energy boost.
Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs)- these guys are the ones we’ve all been told are good fats for years so much easier to mentally digest.
MUFAs increase HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, lower the risk for heart disease, reduce insulin resistance and reduce belly fat (Yay for health and body shape!)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Avocados and avocado oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- And for the meat eaters, goose fat, lard, and bacon fat.
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs)- this is where it gets a tad more complicated. PUFAs can be found in both very processed oils as well as healthy sources. The right types are a great benefit in keto and include both omega 3s and omega 6 what are both essential nutrients. They reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and autoimmune disorders and other inflammatory diseases. Intake of polyunsaturated fats has also been associated with improving symptoms of depression and ADHD.
Polyunsaturated fats with a good balance of Omega 3s and Omega 6s are:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
- Sesame oil
- Chia seeds
- Nut oils
- Avocado oil
- And for the meat eaters fatty fish and fish oil
Trans Fats- There are 2 types, good and bad…
Naturally-occurring trans fats (good)- while most trans fats are very unhealthy, there is one type, vaccenic acid, which is found naturally in some foods like grass-fed animal products and dairy fats like butter and yogurt.
The good naturally occurring trans fats reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
BAD FATS (da, da dah!)
Processed trans fats and polyunsaturated fats are damaging to your health kind of fats. They have the increased risk of heart disease, cancer, pro-inflammatory, bad for gut health and reduce HDL cholesterol and increase LDL cholesterol. The unhealthy trans fats are formed during food production by the processing of polyunsaturated fats, and that makes sense, avoid the over processed foods.
Examples of trans fats to avoid include:
- Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils found in processed products like cookies, crackers, margarine, and fast food
- Processed vegetable oils like cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, soybean, and canola oils