I know this sounds weird...but it's true. Here's the truth about Keto and healthy saturated fats.
Are you afraid of saturated fat? I was too until I did the research. Studies show they're a healthy part of a balanced Keto diet.
The Keto diet is high fat - 70% to 75% of your calories should be coming from fat. That's a lot.
But here at CastleintheMountains.com we are about more than weight loss from the Ketogenic diet. We want you to be truly healthy. We want your body to purr like the machine that it was designed to be.
There are some really helpful posts here:
Why are we afraid of fat?
Fat has been the boogie man of the diet and health industry for years. And, there has been no fat more vilified and maligned than saturated fat.
Even with recent studies that show almost no link between saturated fat consumption and the health problems that have been attributed to it, saturated fat is still not recognized by the mainstream as something healthy to eat.
The benefits of eating clean, healthy saturated fats include lower risk of heart disease, less insulin resistance and lower blood pressure.
Before I begin, I am not suggesting that you eat a bunch of cheap processed meats, no matter how Ketogenic they look.
And, I am not saying that all sources of saturated fat are healthy. As I have said many times Keto is not the bacon and cheese diet.
So that I can avoid writing a whole book about other stuff like toxins and food additives....understand that I am only talking about eating saturated fat from clean sources.
Clean sources of saturated fat include:
Saturated fat from organic grass fed animals, things like Butter, ghee, cheese, meat etc.
Saturated fat from plant sources like coconut oil, coconut milk, cocoa butter, and palm kernel oil.
Note: Palm oils are fine sources of saturated fat for your body, but they are bad for the environment. In fact, we made a deal with our tween years ago that we would not buy anything with palm oil in it.
They are cutting down rain forests and destroying habitat for endangered animals, to make space to plant palm trees to produce cheap palm oil.
Do you need saturated fat to be healthy?
No, I'm sure there are plenty of healthy people in the world who don't eat saturated fat, and if you want to eat Keto without saturated fat I'm sure that can be healthy if done correctly.
To have a healthy Keto diet without saturated fat you would need to stick to the monounsaturated fats like olive oil, nut oils, and avocado oil. There are some problems with this plan, but that's going to have to be for another post.
Why do you want to eat saturated fat?
You want to eat saturated fats because they don't cause inflammation in your body.
The reason they don't cause inflammation is that they are stable at high temperatures - that's why they are solid at room temp.
What this means is that they don't oxidize.
Oxidized fat causes inflammation and can cause cell mutation and cancer.
Low net carb diets are great for reducing inflammation because most inflammation in the Standard American Diet is the result of metabolizing way too much sugar and highly processed carbs.
The other big sources of inflammation in your diet are polyunsaturated fats and trans fats.
Trans Fats and Vegetable Oils
Polyunsaturated fats oxidize quickly at lower temperatures than saturated fats.
Additionally, most polyunsaturated fats are produced by high heat and unnatural chemical processes.
That means they are already oxidized before you eat them, and they start to cause inflammation as soon as you swallow them.
Most polyunsaturated fats are made with GMO seeds and beans that are heavily treated with pesticides. The potential for such a "food" to cause irritation and inflammation in your body seems obvious.
Probably the best reason to avoid polyunsaturated oils is that they have an extremely high level of the inflammatory omega 6 fatty acid.
Omega 6 is an essential fatty acid which means that your body cannot make it on it's own, and you do need a little in your diet to support immune and repair functions, BUT WE GET WAY TOO MUCH IN OUR DIETS.
Most "Vegetable" and seed oils are over 50% Omega 6. Safflower oil is 71% Omega 6. This is a very good informational video about the inflammatory and disease causing properties of these oils.
You shouldn't eat vegetable oils like safflower, soy bean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil.
Food Chemists pump the vegetable oils full of hydrogen molecules via a disgusting metal catalyst process.
What they managed to create is trans fats.
They have an extremely long shelf life so they were added to all sorts of processed food.
Turns out they are so terrible that now even the FDA now says you shouldn't be eating trans-fats.
Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is caused by the build up of plaques in your arteries, this narrows and hardens the arteries which inhibits blood flow.
This causes high blood pressure to rise and makes the heart work harder to supply oxygen to the body. If you get a blood clot with this condition, it can cause a heart attack or a stroke.
For years heart disease was been blamed on saturated fat and eating cholesterol, because the "plaque" is made up of cholesterol, fatty substances and cellular waste products.
Since saturated fat is the largest source of dietary cholesterol it seems natural say "eating saturated fat is the problem, so just stop eating fat." And that's what doctors have been telling us for years.
Here's the thing though, all that cholesterol, fat and cellular waste didn't come from eating butter, or coconut oil.
Your body makes 85% of it's own cholesterol in response inflammation, and the most common inflammation peoples bodies are responding to is caused too much sugar and highly processed carbohydrates.
If you're following the Keto diet, you have eliminated the main source of the inflammation.
On the Keto diet, you are going to get at least 70% of your calories from fat.
If you're losing weight all of those calories are going to be burned - or metabolized if you want a fancy medical word.
What that means for you is that the only cellular waste inflaming your body will be the toxins that you stored in the fat weight that you're losing.
So, drink enough water and get those toxins moving out...
You want a clean burning fuel that's not going to produce the inflammation that will make your body produce cholesterol and clog up your arteries. What you want is saturated fat.
The Easiest Way to Get Clean Healthy Fat
There are three places you can get your dietary fat. Plants, animals, or horrible chemical processes (see below).
Currently, saturated fat is only from plants and animals. I am sure that it can be made in a lab, but not cheap enough to compete with trans fats and sugar.
If you are going to eat animal fat, it normally will come with animal protein. Even bacon has 4 grams of protein to every 5 grams of fat.
For animal fat to be clean and non toxic, it will need to come from organic grass fed animals.
Organic meats and dairy can be expensive. For many of us - including yours truly - that means we can't ALWAYS buy organic. But if you can, you should.
You can still be healthy even without organic meat. The protein part of the meat is healthy, but you won't want eat or use the fat that comes from cooking the meat. Leave that in the pot.
What we do is buy the lower fat cuts and cook them in clean coconut oil.
Or buy the higher fat cuts and remove the fat. You can either do this before you cook the meat by cutting the fat off. Or, you can remove the fat afterwards, by draining the fat off.
The Bottom Line on Saturated Fat.
Saturated fat is the cleanest burning, least inflammatory fuel you can put in body. The best sources are organic meat, dairy products and coconut oil.
The health benefits of eating clean healthy saturated fats as part of a balanced Keto diet are reduced risk of heart disease, increased good cholesterol, lower blood pressure and less insulin resistance.
You should avoid eating saturated fat from non organic animal sources.
Your next level of desirable fat is from monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil and nut oils.
Don't consume any of the unnatural polyunsaturated fats. i.e.. vegetable oils.
You should absolutely not eat any artificial trans fats found in processed food.
I hope this clears up the relationship between the Keto Diet and Saturated Fats....
It can be confusing and fats have been vilified for so long that it's completely understandable as to why.
As always, I would love to hear your take on this, answer any questions you might have or just say hello.
I also have a question for you...
Do you have trouble getting enough healthy fat into your daily macro count?