Fat Is Your Friend
Ironically, most people are thinking about going on a keto diet (or are already on their keto diet) because fat is their enemy. Which is all well and good; if you’re looking for a solution to your stubborn fat deposits hanging around all year, look no further! Funnily enough, however, you’re going to have to get comfortable with fat on this diet because in a strange, counterintuitive twist of fate, it will actually be your greatest ally.
We’ve talked about why you should go keto a hundred times already, so we won’t bombard our regular readers with another introduction touting the amazing benefits of the diet. Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper into some of the meat (or fat) of the diet’s details and at the end we’re going to be so kind as to share with you the ultimate Yes-Or-No keto food cheat sheet from our friends at Kettle & Fire. So, let’s talk about fat.
Why Eating Fat Will Help You Lose Fat
When you’re on a keto diet you’re going to be consuming a comparatively small amount of protein and almost no carbohydrates during your daily meals and snacks. Fats account for the remainder of your nutrients, which ranges from 60 to 75 percent of your total calories for the day. This can vary a little bit, depending on which type of keto diet you’re going for.
The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD), for example, is the most popular variant of the keto diet and the one we’ll be discussing in this post. The SKD suggests:
- 75% Fat
- 20% Protein
- 5% Carbs
The High Protein Keto Diet, on the other hand, is designed for persons who are extremely active or athletes. This version of the keto diet suggests that you break it up like this:
- 60% Fat
- 35% Protein
- 5% Carbs
There are some other specific variants that are slightly different, but as you can see the underlying concept remains throughout. High fat, low to medium protein, and very low carbs. By the way, please don’t try to go for 0 net carbs. It’s just not a good idea and you won’t gain anything from it — your body needs carbs!
“ On a keto or low-carb diet, fat is your primary energy source, so choosing healthy types and eating the right amount is important. ”— FRANZISKA SPRITZLER, RD, CDE
What Kinds of Fats Are Okay?
This is where it gets a little more interesting. Seeing as fats make up the main bulk of your diet (trust me, it’s not as gross as you think!) we’re going to need a little more in-depth education of this. For starters, there are four types of keto-friendly fats:
- Saturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
- Monounsaturated fats
- Naturally occurring trans fats
For many years, physicians assumed that eating too much saturated fats was associated with poor cardiovascular health. Recent studies, however, have revealed that there is no clear link between saturated fats and cardiovascular health, and that these fats may actually be advantageous to your body. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are found in some saturated fats, which the body turns into energy for improved physical performance and fat loss.
Now, let’s look at which meals you’ll be eating the most on the keto diet, which foods you can have on occasion, and which foods you shouldn’t eat at all.
The Keto Food List
If you’re worrying that this diet is too strict and you’re a picky eater so it’s not going to work out — think again. There is plenty of variety on keto. In fact, technically speaking, there are no calorie restrictions on keto. You could technically eat whatever you as long as you’re keeping your body in ketosis. Would we recommend this approach? No. But, it’s a great illustration of how flexible and varied keto can be! Not to mention, fats are the most filling and satisfying macronutrient, so it’s basically impossible to go hungry on keto.
This is a quick overview of the most common foods you’ll want to try to stick to when following the SDK (Standard Keto Diet) and below this short list you’ll find an infographic courtesy of Kettle & Fire that is far more detailed!
75%: Healthy Fats & Vegetables
- Vegetables: leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, bok choy, zucchini, bell peppers, white mushrooms, etc.
- Healthy fats: flaxseed oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, olives, olive oil, organ meats, tallow, omega–3 egg yolks, nut butter, avocado oil, almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, etc.
- Animal fats: fish (salmon, halibut and mackerel), organ meats (liver, bone marrow, tongue, bacon), lamb, shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp), ghee, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: sugar-free nut and seed butter (no peanut butter), pecans, cashews, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, brazil nuts, etc.
- Animal protein: turkey, chicken, pork, duck, etc.
- Bone broth
- Collagen and related supplements
- Pumpkin seeds
- Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
“ It is also important to remember that excess protein can be converted to blood sugar and push you out of ketosis. ”— MATT KNIGHT, RDN, LDN