The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that is most commonly used to manage type 2 diabetes and to help people lose weight. Getting into a state of nutritional ketosis is the main goal — the state in which your body burns fat and ketones for energy instead of glucose. The high-fat requirements may sound like a free-for-all when it comes to the fat you decide to consume, but if you want to have success on the keto diet, it’s all about the quantity (your diet should consist of 70 to 80 percent fat), and more importantly the quality of fats you eat, Anna Barnwell, MPH, MSW, member of the clinical team at Virta Health explained in a blog post.
According to Anna, fats are used in humans as a fuel source and “to build and maintain vital membranes for all the cells in the body.” If you’re following the keto diet, it’s important that a majority of your dietary fat intake comes from monounsaturated and saturated fats in order to supply your body with energy. Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, and in some animal fats like lard. “Saturated fats are naturally concentrated in most animal fats such as dairy fat, beef (suet), and lamb, as well as ‘tropical oils,'” Anna explained.
The fats you want to be cautious of while following the keto diet are polyunsaturated fats that include vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, and peanut oils, as they aren’t tolerated well by the body in large amounts. Omega-6 and omega-3 are sub-classes of polyunsaturated fats and are essential to consume since our body cannot naturally produce them. According to Anna, artificial trans fats like shortening and margarine should be avoided at all costs, “as they are strongly linked to coronary artery disease.”
Continue reading for a list of the best fats and oils to consume if you’re following the keto diet.