The premise of the ketogenic diet is all about limiting your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat intake. However, one should still me mindful about the foods they intake to fulfill this requirement. Fat is a major source of energy and supports balanced hormones. It’s a catalyst for absorbing certain vitamins and minerals. Fat is also critical to building cell membranes, the important lining of each cell which promotes homeostasis and protects the cells. We need fats for many bodily processes. In this post, we will discuss the different types of fats, as well as the good and bad fats.
Types of Fat
There are three types of fats: saturated, trans, and unsaturated, which contain monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
This is a type of fat containing a high proportion of fatty acid molecules without double bonds. Saturated fat is considered to be less healthy in the diet than unsaturated fat. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, which is why it is also known as “solid fat.” It is mostly found in animal products, such as milk, cheese, and meat. Saturated fat is also in tropical oils, such as coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter.
Trans fat, or trans-fatty acid, is a fat that has been changed by a process called hydrogenation. This process increases the shelf life of fat and makes the fat harder at room temperature. Harder fat makes crispier crackers and flakier pie crusts. Trans fat can raise your cholesterol, so eat as little trans fat as possible.
Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are the 2 types of unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature and it is mostly found in oils from plants. If you eat unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat, it may help improve your cholesterol levels. These are the fats that one should try to consume the most in their diet.
- Monosaturated Fats – contain one double bond in their chemical structure and may have various health benefits. This fat is in avocado, nuts, and vegetable oils, such as canola, olive, and peanut oils. Eating foods that are high in monounsaturated fats may help lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats may also keep “good” HDL cholesterol levels high. But eating more unsaturated fat without cutting back on saturated fat may not lower your cholesterol.
- Polyunsaturated Fats- a type of healthy fat that includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. You must obtain these fatty acids from food, as your body cannot make them. This type of fat is mainly in vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, sesame, soybean, and corn oils. Polyunsaturated fat is also the main fat found in seafood. Eating polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat may lower LDL cholesterol.
The food items listed below contain either monosaturated or polyunsaturated fats. This list is not all inclusive.
- nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans)
- vegetable oils (olive oil, peanut oil)
- peanut butter and almond butter
- roasted soy beans and soy nut butter
- seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds)
- vegetable oils (corn oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil)
- soft margarine (liquid or tub)
Saturated fats are mostly found in animals and animal products and should be consumed sparingly. The fats include, but are not limited to the following:
- fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
- dark chicken meat and poultry skin
- high-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
- tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter)
These are trans fat products that should be avoided as much as possible. This list includes, but is not limited to the following:
- fried foods (French fries, doughnuts, deep-fried fast foods)
- margarine (stick and tub)
- vegetable shortening
- baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries)
- processed snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn)
Like with all things in life, too much of anything has the potential to be bad for you. Although, one of the main focuses of the ketogenic diet is the consumption of fat, one should still me mindful of not only how much fat they intake, but also what kind of fat they are intaking. While trans fat can still produced desired results, they can also be harmful to one’s health.