Sources of Healthy Fats for The Diet - This topic is so important, both to your health in general and to the Ketogenic Diet in particular, that I want to list some of the best sources of healthy fats, as well as some examples of fats to avoid.
- Milk and milk products (yogurt, cheese)
- Red Meat
- Coconuts and coconut oil
With all of these, you have to be discerning, especially nowadays. For example, I would get organic, grass fed meats whenever possible, as well as free range eggs. For any milk products, try to find ones that haven’t been treated with antibiotics.
When it comes to fish, you have to be careful about the source due to widespread pollution.
Sources of Monounsaturated Fats
- Nuts (almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews)
- Almond Bread
- Olive oil
- Beef (contains both saturated and monounsaturated fats)
Polyunsaturated Fats (Omega-3 and Omega-6)
- Fish (Salmon, Trout, Herring)
- Salmon Patties
- Sunflower Seeds
- Flax Seeds
Sources of Unhealthy Fats
- Fast Foods (especially fried foods such as French fries and fried Chicken)
- Many packaged and frozen foods (read the labels!)
- Sweets -baked goods, cookies, cakes, etc.
The above list is neither comprehensive nor completely accurate. That’s because foods vary widely in the way they are prepared. You can, for example, find some healthier margarines in health food stores that don’t contain trans fats.
The same is true for healthier sweets. Yet even if they don’t contain trans-fats, we have already seen that sugar of any kind does not go well with the Ketogenic Diet!
Your best bet for avoiding trans fats is to stay away from processed and fast foods. Fresh foods are generally healthier, so even “healthy” frozen foods and packaged foods are a poor substitute for quality fresh foods.
Read ingredient labels and watch out for ingredients like hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
HEALTHY VS. UNHEALTHY FATS
Before we go any further in discussing the specifics of the Ketogenic Diet, along with some meal plans, it would be helpful to make some general observations about fats and the role they play in our health.
The very name “fats” makes many people wary of foods containing them. This is unfortunate, because fats are actually crucial to good health. Avoiding fats completely, something that some people attempt to do with some extreme diets, is only going to rob the body of essential nutrients.
Some groundbreaking research on fats was done by Weston Price, a Harvard educated researcher who traveled to many parts of the world. He discovered that the indigenous populations in many areas, such as the Inuit (also known as Eskimos) of Alaska, eat a diet that’s very high in saturated fats.
The Inuits, because of the local climate, are forced to eat a diet that consists mainly of fish and whale fat. They also eat other types of meat, such as caribou meat, but hardly any vegetables or carbs.
Yet Price found that the natives here (and in many other places) suffered much less from diseases common in the Western world, such as heart disease. This, in spite of the fact that their diet was so high in fat, calories and cholesterol!
The fact is, both saturated fats and cholesterol play a positive role in our health. Saturated fats are essential for maintaining the strength of our cell membranes. They also enhance the immune system and even have antimicrobial properties that defend us against disease.
Even cholesterol, which has been so demonized in the mainstream media, has many beneficial qualities. It helps support our intestinal health, makes hormones that help us ward off stress and helps maintain proper levels of Vitamin D in our bodies.
This isn’t to say that all fat and cholesterol is good. It is generally agreed upon by all schools of nutrition that hydrogenated or trans fats are harmful. These are fats that you find in many processed and fast foods, as well as products like partially hydrogenated oils.
It is also widely accepted that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are healthy and even necessary. The best known healthy fats are Omega-3s, which are found in fish and fish oil. There are also others, such as Omega-6 and linoleic acid.
It is the saturated fats, which are mainly found in animal products that are controversial. In this area, the Ketogenic Diet agrees with Weston Price and many of the high protein, low carb diets.