Trying to manage our weight at a healthy level has become more difficult than ever. Our modern diets are filled with fattening ingredients that don’t do anything to help us reach our goal weight.
Ironically, fat in itself isn’t the culprit here. In fact, if you plan out your diet well, fat can actually help you achieve your weight goal. And this is the foundation of the popular keto diet.
What is a Keto Diet?
With their very busy lives, most people are looking for an easier and quicker approach to weight loss. While it always takes some patience to start noticing any visible changes in your weight and fitness levels, there are some ways you can effectively quicken the process.
However, it is important to have a proper plan and sustainable approach towards weight loss if you hope to experience any lasting changes.
If you aren’t just looking to lose the water weight, and are actually ready to commit to finding a long-term solution, the keto diet plan is perfect for you.
It is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb diet that kick starts your weight loss journey as well as providing you with a wide variety of benefits. Following a ketogenic diet plan enables your body to burn fat more effectively.
The keto diet encourages you to get a whopping 70% of your daily calories from fat. About 25% can be obtained from proteins, and no more than 5% should come from carbohydrates. While mild changes in the fat and proteins ratio are acceptable, it is important to keep your carbohydrates ratio as low as possible.
When you keep your carb intake low, the body eventually goes into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When in ketosis, your body used fat as its main source of energy instead of the glucose obtained from breaking down carbs. The liver then starts to produce ketones from fat, which is used as the main fuel source throughout your body.
The reduces intake of carbohydrates decreases your insulin levels dramatically. This makes it easier to burn the stored fat for energy.
Since fat is very satiating, it prevents you from overeating as well. So while it is necessary to ensure that you don’t eat more than your daily calories requirement, it is almost impossible to do so with keto.
Despite being very effective, the keto diet isn’t for everyone. People with blood sugar, blood pressure, and similar conditions should refrain from trying it. Women who are pregnant, nursing, or trying to get pregnant should also avoid it. If you suffer from any other medical condition or are on any medication, it is important to consult your doctor before opting for keto – or any major dietary change for that matter.
Fulfilling Your Fat-Intake for Keto
Since you are required to intake 70% of your daily calories from fat in the keto diet, it can be quite difficult to fill that quota. It is also important to remember that you need to take your fat from healthy sources. So anything with trans-fat should be off the menu.
While there are foods like cheese and avocado that you can load up on, it is hard to imagine that you won’t be consuming all kinds of oils to fulfil your intake. However, you have to be smart about the oils you take to see effective results. Following are some of the healthiest oils that you can take on keto.
1. Avocado Oil
Most people are still unaware, but avocado oil is one of the healthiest oils for consumption. It is a mild, versatile vegetable oil that is high in monounsaturated fats – the type of fat you want to consume most of.
It also contains a high amount of antioxidants, and an extra healthy dose of vitamins A, D, and E, as well as potassium and proteins. What makes this oil so great is that it can be easily added to your diet in various ways.
While it is a cold pressed oil – which means you can consume it raw – it also has a very high smoke point. In fact, it is one of the only oils that have this advantage. It can be used in everything from salad dressing to deep frying and everything in between. With avocado oil, you really don’t have to wonder if it is suitable for usage in a certain dish or not – because it most likely is.
It provides a hearty amount of fatty acids that are beneficial for your keto diet and can help you fill up on your calories. In addition, it also enhances nutrient absorption and encourages better cholesterol levels. All in all, it is a great oil in every aspect.
The only minor downside of this oil is that it can be hard to find and tends to be on the more expensive side. However, if you are able to get your hands on it, it is certainly worth the price.
2. Sesame Seed Oil
Extracted from the roasted or unroasted seeds of sesame, sesame seed oil has a rich and smooth flavor with a nutty aroma. This makes it very popular in Asian cuisines, especially Chinese stir-fries. It is heart-healthy and all-natural, packed with a healthy dose of fatty acids. When using sesame oil, it is important to be aware of whether it is extracted from roasted seeds or unroasted seeds.
The oil extracted from roasted seeds has a relatively high smoke point, which means that it is safe for high heat cooking. However, it is suitable for raw consumption. On the other hand, oil extracted from unroasted seeds has a low smoke point – making it safe for raw consumption but not suitable for high heat cooking. If you use it for sautéing or grilling, the nutrient starts degrading.
However, both oils are excellent additions to a keto diet plan, as they can help fulfil your fat intake while also providing some major health benefits. Just make sure that you use the right oil for the right purpose to get all the proper nutrients in the oil.
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
When it comes to healthy oils, extra virgin olive oil is the most popular one you’ll find – and for good reason. It contains a large number of monounsaturated fats polyunsaturated fatty acids, which makes it a heart-healthy oil. In fact, it is agreed by many cooking experts and nutritionists that extra virgin cooking oil is one of the most versatile and healthy oils to consume.
However, it has one of the lower smoking points, which makes it unsafe for high-heat cooking. Therefore, it is better used in low to medium-heat cooking like sautéing. A better way to consume extra virgin olive oil is by taking it raw as a salad dressing or by drizzling it over other foods like sandwiches and pasta. It is also a great option for baking.
In addition to being delicious and healthy, extra virgin olive oil is a great addition to a keto diet. It contains a high amount of fatty acids and can be consumed in a variety of ways to help you stay full and satiated throughout the day.
4. Coconut Oil
Over the past few decades, there has been a debate over the health benefits of coconut oil. A lot of people have started believing that the high amount of saturated fats makes it unhealthy for regular consumption.
However, this isn’t true. Extracted from the fruit of the coconut palm trees, coconut oil is one of the most keto-friendly oils you can get your hands on. While it is high in saturated fat, these are the healthy fats that are required by your body for proper functioning.
Coconut oil share a similar consistency as butter and has a relatively high smoke point, making it great for frying, sautéing, roasting, and even baking. It can also be consumed raw by adding it to salad dressing or drizzling it over keto-friendly vegetables.
However, what makes it great or keto is the medium-chain triglycerides that help speed up the metabolism and induce ketosis. So not only does it help fulfil your fat intake, but it can also encourage your body to stay in ketosis and burn fat more effectively.
5. Walnut Oil
Generally extracted from English walnuts, this keto-friendly cooking oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. In addition to that, it also contains a high amount of vitamins like manganese, zinc, potassium, and niacin.
It has a delicious nutty flavor that makes it a great addition to a variety of recipes. However, since walnut oil is usually unrefined or semi-refined, it contains naturally occurring nutrients and phytochemicals, due to which it has a relatively lower smoking point. While it can be used for low-heat cooking, it is better to use walnut oil raw by adding it to salads, sandwiches, and cold pastes, or using it as a dip.
Walnut oil can also be on the pricey side and can go bad if not stored properly. So make sure to check the manufacturing date while buying, and store it in the refrigerator – preferably in a dark colored bottle.
6. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is arguably the most flavorful oil you’ll ever come across. Therefore, it is only recommended to use it if you are okay with your dish having a strong peanut flavor. However, it can be fun to experiment with peanut oil and other nut oils in the kitchen.
The nutty aroma and taste can add a new spin to your dish and enable you to try different recipes with it. It also has a relatively high smoke point, which makes it ideal for stir-frying, sautéing, roasting, grilling, frying, and searing meats.
It has one of the highest amounts of monounsaturated fats. In fact, almost half of peanut oil is basically monounsaturated fats. This makes it easy to hit your fat-intake healthily. Additionally, a single serving of peanut oil contains about 11% of the daily recommendation of vitamin E.
7. Hazelnut Oil
Hazelnut oil is high in essential fatty acids that aid your keto diet plan. It has a strong flavor and can be used as a richer alternative to olive oil. While you can use hazelnut oil in a variety of ways, it is especially delicious to add to your keto-baking endeavors. Since you’re not allowed to have any carbs, you will be doing a lot of homemade baking while trying to follow a keto diet plan, and hazelnut oil just makes this experience better.
If you’re using hazelnut oil for cooking, make sure to get roasted hazelnut oil as it has a high smoking point and is exceptionally flavorful. It can add another layer of taste to any dish you incorporate it into.
Overall, the keto diet can prove to be very beneficial for weight loss. And adding these oils to your diet only enhances the benefits. However, don’t just stick to one oil. All of these oils serve multiple purposes and provide a range of different benefits. Therefore, to reap the most benefits, use different oils for different benefits. This will help you stick to the keto diet more easily.