Fat is the main fuel for energy when you are following a ketogenic or low-carb diet. It is crucial to choose healthy fat options and to consume the correct quantity.
Fats and The Role It Plays On The Body
Dietary fat is found in both animals and plants. Although its main function is to provide your body with energy, it plays several other important roles, including:
- Helping you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
- Regulating inflammation and immunity
- Maintaining the health of your cells, including skin and hair cells
- Adding richness to food, which helps you feel full and satisfied
The fat in food is in triglyceride form. A triglyceride is composed of a glycerol molecule bonded to three fatty acid chains comprising of carbon and hydrogen atoms.
The fatty acids are divided based on the amount of molecular bonds they have between the carbons in their molecular structures, as well as the overall length of their sequences.
Saturated vs. unsaturated fatty acids
No double bonds exist between carbon atoms in saturated fat molecules. They are packed full of hydrogen and stay in a solid form even at room temperature. Foods containing healthy amounts of saturated fats include butter, cream, and ghee.
Monounsaturated fats contain a single double bond within the carbon atoms of their chemical structure. Monounsaturated fats that are good for your health can be found in olive oil, avocados, and various kinds of nuts.
Polyunsaturated fats feature multiple carbon atoms linked by a double bond or two within their molecular structures. Examples of wholesome polyunsaturated fats are fish that is high in fat, beef, nut varieties and various kinds of seeds.
There are two kinds of polyunsaturated fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6. These compounds are designated according to the place of the initial double bond in the carbon chain.
Fatty acid chain length
- Short-chain fatty acids have 5 or fewer carbons. Short-chain fatty acids are present in small amounts in butter and cream.
- Medium-chain fatty acids (also known as medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs) have 6-12 carbons. Examples of foods that contain medium-chain fatty acids include coconut oil and MCT oil. Butter and cream also contain a small amount of MCTs.
- Long-chain fatty acids have 13 or more carbons. Most of the fats in food are made up of long-chain fatty acids. Examples of foods that contain long-chain fatty acids include meat, poultry, fish, dairy, nuts, seeds, avocado and olives.
The triglycerides in fatty foods are split into individual fatty acids and glycerol during the digestive process.
Long-chain fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, can enter the bloodstream when absorbed, along with cholesterol and proteins. This combination is then moved throughout the body, where it can be either used up or stored as fat.
Short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids are absorbed differently. Rather than being circulated around in the body, the ketones are taken to the liver which transforms them into an expeditious source of energy.
Short-chain fatty acids may not be as likely to be kept in the body as fat compared to long-chain fatty acids.
Cholesterol is a type of wax-like material that is only located in foods that come from animals. Unlike fatty acids, it doesn’t provide energy. Your body requires these elements to manufacture items like steroid hormones, vitamins, and bile acids which help to break down fat.
All of your cells make cholesterol. Most of the cholesterol found in the bloodstream originates from within one’s body and not from their diet. Generally speaking, dietary cholesterol does not significantly boost cholesterol levels in the bloodstream and is not thought to be a major cause of heart disease.
It is advised that people should consume fats that are found in natural food items and have been processed to a minimal degree. For a number of years, the American Heart Association and other health groups have advocated people to cut their intake of saturated fats.
Sadly, that suggestion is mainly derived from studies that lack scientific rigor.
Most extensive studies on randomized controlled experiments, which are considered the strongest form of evidence, have not found a correlation between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease.
Due to this, the place of regular saturated fats in a balanced diet is now being evaluated again. Overall, saturated fat appears to be neutral for health.
A well-balanced keto or low-carb diet should include a variety of foods containing saturated fat.
No single food item has exclusively saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fat. For instance, red meat has substantially similar quantities of monounsaturated and saturated fat, with some minor polyunsaturated fat as well.
In spite of this, there is usually a single type of fat that is dominant in certain foods. An example of this would be that butter is seen as a beneficial provider of saturated fat, and olive oil is a beneficial contributor of monounsaturated fat.
- Butter and ghee (clarified butter)
- Cream, whipping cream and coconut cream
- Coconut oil
- Lard and tallow
- Olives and olive oil
- Avocados and avocado oil
- Macadamias and macadamia oil
- Almonds, pecans, peanuts, and other nuts
- Lard and tallow
- Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies)
- Grass-fed animals
- Dairy from grass-fed animals
- Eggs from pastured chickens
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Found in almost every food, including meat, nuts and seeds.
- Vegetable and seed oils like safflower oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil and cottonseed oil – as well as processed foods that contain them – are often a major source of omega-6 PUFAs in modern Western diets.
- We recommend minimizing these oils because they are highly processed. However, the science on the health risks or benefits is inconclusive. You can learn more in our guide to vegetable oils.
Fat Consumption on Keto Diet
Most individuals on low-carb or ketogenic diets do not need to tally up their calorie or fat intake. By keeping carbohydrates at a low intake and protein at a moderate range of 1.2-2.0 g/kg per day for reference body weight, individuals can eat enough fat to make their meal enjoyable. This strategy typically allows people to consume less food, shed pounds, and better their well-being.
If you still want to calculate fat grams, follow these general guidelines:
The quantity of fat that should be included in a ketogenic or low-carb diet varies depending on particular factors such as the amount of protein and carbohydrates you are ingesting, your current body weight, and what you are attempting to achieve in terms of bodyweight. Are you trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight?
Work out the quantity of protein and carbohydrates you require first, then use any leftover energy to get your fat intake up to the right amount.
It has been said that if you follow a keto diet, consuming a lot of fat will help you reduce fat in your body. This is likely not true. If you eat an excessive amount of fat, either for taste or energy purposes, this can prevent weight loss even if you consume a minimal amount of carbs.
This is also the case for the mid-length fatty acids present in coconut oil and MCT oil, which get used up as fuel rather than being kept as reserves. The amount of dietary fat coming in will likely decrease the likelihood of your body burning its own fat reserves, regardless of the type of fat.
But even though reducing the amount of fat consumed at mealtimes can aid in losing body fat, do not mistake that for a diet that is low in both carbohydrates and fat. This plan will ultimately cause you to be famished.
Consume a sufficient amount of fat to savor your meal and get the energy you need for your wellness growth.
Good Fats To Have On The Keto Diet
It is advantageous to be aware of the right food sources when adhering to a keto diet, as this makes it simpler to follow.
Healthy types of fat can aid someone as they move into a condition of ketosis in an efficient manner. Fats can similarly be divided into those deemed healthy and those that are detrimental to one’s health, just as carbohydrates can be classified into positive and negative categories.
It’s a must-have in every home, especially if you’re following a keto diet since it’s full of nutritious unsaturated fat. Add a sprinkle of Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a salad as a light dressing. It is possible to employ it as a cooking oil to fry or to marinate meat and vegetables.
Chia seeds can be incorporated into a keto diet as a fatty food source. Eating chia seeds can be beneficial for your diet as they are full of fiber, making you feel sated for a long time, thus decreasing your calorie consumption. Adding chia seeds to your low-carb diet can aid you in slimming down.
Egg yolks ought to be part of the ketogenic diet because they supply a beneficial quantity of beneficial fat. The yolks of eggs contain a balanced amount of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which is beneficial for health.
In addition to aiding with bodyweight loss on the keto regiment, egg yolks can enhance immunity levels, enhance bone solidity and strength, regulate blood pressure, decrease systematic inflammation, and reduce the chances for kidney stones.
Salmon is an exceptionally nourishing type of fish. This food is overflowing with omega-2 fatty acids and provides an excellent source of protein. Salmon is beneficial to improved heart wellness because it contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating a salmon-rich diet can assist in keeping hunger at bay and allowing somebody to feel full and content for an extended period of time because of its high protein levels. Hence, salmon is an exceptional component of fat to add to the ketogenic diet.
Olives provide a great deal of fat which is perfect for the ketogenic diet.
The fat content in them is between 11 and 15%, of which 4% is the unsaturated fat, oleic acid. High levels of fat found in olives can reduce inflammation of the body and decrease the dangers of heart illness.
Nuts are a great source of protein and have a lot of advantageous unsaturated fatty acids which make them an ideal addition to the keto diet.
They offer a wealth of dietary fiber, plant sterols, essential omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and L-arginine. They can help stave off hunger and are great for one’s cardiovascular health.
Including peanut butter in the ketogenic diet is a beneficial source of fat and it is high in protein, which makes you feel full for a longer duration.
This food is abundant in several nutrients, including dietary fiber and a considerable amount of beneficial unsaturated fat. Adding peanut butter to your keto plan assists in moderating desires for unhealthy snacks and food.
Avocados, which are considered as a type of fruit, provide a high quantity of good-for-you unsaturated fats. They are full of fiber which will aid in keeping digestion in good order.
A half of an avocado contains 161 calories, two grams of protein, 15 grams of fat, nine grams of total carbohydrates, and seven grams of dietary fiber (which reduces the amount of carbohydrates to two grams).
Coconut Oil or MCT
Coconut Oil is known for its exceptional nutritional qualities, which makes it a great addition to a keto diet. For starters, it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs, dissimilar to long-chain fats, get absorbed right away by the liver and changed into ketones or employed as an instantaneous source of strength.
Fats are viewed as detrimental when adhering to a nutritional plan. It is possible that particular kinds of fat may have a considerable influence on health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
Certain types of fat should be included in one’s diet as they may have beneficial effects on overall health.
Some types of fats are known to be bad for heart health, yet others offer considerable beneficial effects for overall health.
Fat is crucial in order for certain bodily functions to operate properly. It is necessary to consume fat in your diet in the same way you do with protein and carbohydrates so that your body has energy.
Foods and oils contain a mixture of fatty acids. The amount of different types of fat that they possess is what renders them either beneficial or detrimental. Realizing the disparity can assist you in deciding which kinds of fats should be avoided and which should be consumed sparingly.
Getting Enough Of Fats On The Keto Diet
Beginning a ketogenic regime can be hard to make sure you are getting enough fat. One can ensure they receive good amounts of fat daily by planning their meals.
One can increase the amount of fat in their diet by:
- Butter and coconut oil are two fats that can be added to hot beverages including coffee, matcha, green tea, and hot chocolate.
- Using veggies as a vehicle: Low-carbohydrate vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, or celery can be transformed into a high-fat snack or side dish by adding a high-fat sauce or dip. Low-carb salads might benefit from the flavor of salad dressings made with olive or avocado oil.
- Making fat bombs: High-fat, low-carb snacks in the form of balls are known as fat bombs. Many fat-bomb recipes that use coconut or nut butter as a foundation may be found online. Fat bombs can be frozen and eaten at a later time.
- Eating oily fish: Compared to white fish, such as cod or haddock, oily fish, such as salmon or tuna, has more healthy fats.
- Choosing fatty cuts of meat: Different cuts of meat have different amounts of fat. You can increase the amount of fat in a meal by eating poultry that still has its skin on.
- Eating fatty snacks: Convenient snacks that contain fat include olives, boiled eggs, almonds, and avocados. These can be placed in a bag and eaten on the go.