Fats and Oils
Since the majority of calories on a ketogenic diet will come from dietary fats, choices should be made with digestive tolerance in mind. Most people cannot tolerate eating a large amount of vegetable oil, mayonnaise or even olive oil over time. And this is a good thing, since vegetable oils are high in polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids. The Omega-6 fatty acids (found in nut oils, margarine, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, and canola oil) trigger inflammation within the body and they will make you sick if they are your only fat source. In addition, cooking with them is not recommended.
Most nuts (with the exceptions of macadamias and walnuts) are high in Omega 6 fatty acids as well, so go easy on them). However, there are polyunsaturated fats which are essential and these are the Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats. Your intake of Omega 6 and Omega 3 types should be balanced, and you only need about a teaspoon a day. Eating wild salmon, tuna and shellfish will provide balancing Omega 3 fatty acids and are important part of a low carb food list. A few nuts or some mayonnaise will provide the Omega 6. If you don’t like seafood, then consider taking small amounts of a fish or krill oil supplement for Omega 3s.
Saturated and monounsaturated fats such as butter, macadamia nuts, coconut oil, avocado and egg yolks are tolerated more easily by most people, and since they are more chemically stable, they are less inflammatory. Fats and oils can be combined in sauces, dressings, and other additions to basic meals. Over time, it will become a habit to add a source of fat to each meal.
Avoid hydrogenated fats such as margarine to minimize trans fats intake. If you use vegetable oils (olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, soybean, flaxseed and sesame oils) choose “cold pressed.” Keep cold pressed oils like almond and flaxseed refrigerated to avoid rancidity. Avoid heating vegetable oils. Use clean non-hydrogenated lard, beef tallow, coconut oil, ghee and olive oil for frying, since they have high smoke points.
- Avocado (very high in fat, so I’m including it here)
- Avocado oil
- Almond oil
- Beef tallow, preferably from grass fed cattle
- Butter: try to find organic sources
- Chicken fat, organic
- Duck fat, organic
- Ghee (butter with milk solids removed)
- Lard such as organic leaf lard (make sure it is NOT hydrogenated)
- Macadamia Nuts
- Macadamia oil
- Mayonnaise (most have carbs, so count them. Duke’s brand is sugar free.)
- Olive oil, organic
- Organic coconut oil, coconut butter and coconut cream concentrate
- Organic Red Palm oil
- Peanut Butter: make sure to use unsweetened products, and limit due to Omega 6 content.
- Seed and most nut oils: Sesame oil, Flaxseed oil, etc. These are higher in inflammatory Omega 6 fats, so limit amounts, and don’t heat them.
- 85-90% dark chocolate can be used in small amounts, or use Chocoperfection low carb chocolate.