The ketogenic diet requires you to cut carbohydrates from your diet, forcing your body to use fat as a fuel source instead. In the absence of carbs, the body can convert medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)—fats with six to 12 carbon atoms—into ketones that it can use as an alternative energy source.
But when making the transition to a low-carb, high-fat diet, knowing which fats to consume and which to avoid is critical. Generally speaking, eating unsaturated fat (including MCTs) is a safe bet, consuming saturated fats responsibly comes next, and you should avoid trans fats as much as possible.
When on the keto diet, these are some fantastic keto-friendly foods you should consider adding to your diet to get enough MCTs for energy:
1. Butter and Ghee– Butter and ghee are great fats to consume in moderation. While these options are tasty and easy to incorporate into your diet, you shouldn’t use ghee as your go-to-fat, as it contains lots of saturated fats.
2. Avocados– Avocados are an excellent source of unsaturated fat, help lower cholesterol, and contain 20 different vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin E.
3. Low-carb Nuts– Nuts are another great source of unsaturated fats, but it’s important to note that they also contain carbohydrates. Nuts like pecans, macadamia, and Brazil nuts have the lowest carbs, but all nuts are generally keto-friendly if you eat them sparingly.
4. Meat– Meat like beef, chicken, and pork are alright to consume on the keto diet, but only in moderation as they contain relatively high amounts of saturated fats.
5. Fatty Fish– Fish is an excellent choice when going keto, as it contains polyunsaturated fat. These are essential fats that the body cannot produce on its own.
6. Cheese– Cheese is an excellent source of protein and saturated fat. In moderation, it’s a great way to add variety to your keto diet without consuming too many carbs.
7. Cream– Using cream is another option when looking for keto-friendly fats. Full of saturated fat, it’s a great substitute for other cooking mediums.
Clean for Cooking
When on the keto diet, one of the best ways to get plenty of fat is with oils. Cooking with oils and adding oils to your food offers you greater control over the amount of fat you consume and can help you diversify your keto-friendly meals. Next time you’re at the grocery, pick up the following oils to start cooking with:
1. Avocado Oil– Avocado oil is rich in healthy unsaturated fats and helps reduce bad cholesterol levels. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, making it ideal for high heat cooking.
2. Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil– Extra virgin olive oil is another keto-friendly cooking oil. It has a relatively high smoke point making it a good choice for high heat cooking and offers a good amount of unsaturated fats.
3. Coconut Oil– Coconut oil is another healthy fat to use in moderation. It contains healthy saturated fats and helps boost heart health and accelerate fat loss.
4. MCT Oil– One of the best oils to use on keto recipes is MCT oil, a purified form of MCTs. The MCTs are quickly metabolized by the body, making it an excellent choice for quick energy.
5. Sesame Oil– Sesame oil is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. This oil is an excellent choice to add to dishes for its health benefits and flavor.
Focusing on the Right Fats
By understanding which types of fats are beneficial, which fats to consume responsibly, and which fats to avoid, you can rest easy knowing you are making the best choices for the keto diet. Focusing your diet on unsaturated fats and incorporating saturated ones in moderation will help ensure you get the most out of your low-carb, high-fat diet.