Eat Fat, Lose Fat!

The biggest draw of the Keto Diet (and also the biggest controversy) is that the majority of your calories will switch from coming from carbohydrates to coming from fat (yes, fat!). But, that doesn't mean to just go hog-wild on all the fats, and it also doesn't mean that every form of fat available is necessarily good for you. 

Where Should My Fats Come From? 

This is a great question and a place where a lot of people get scared to start the Keto Diet. In my opinion, understanding fats starts with understanding cooking oils and making a few swaps. 

The Truth About Healthy (?) Vegetable and Corn Oils

Most people think these oils are healthier than animal fats due to the nature of the name, but, the opposite is true due to the carcinogens that are released at high cooking temperatures. Because it's cheap, vegetable oil is typically used for frying in many restaurants and at home, so the temperature is as high as it gets when cooking. Vegetable oils secrete aldehydes at high temperatures: 

"Consuming or inhaling aldehydes, even in small amounts, has been linked to increased risk of heart disease and cancer. So what did Prof Grootveld's team find?

"We found," he says, "that the oils which were rich in polyunsaturates - the corn oil and sunflower oil - generated very high levels of aldehydes."

I was surprised as I'd always thought of sunflower oil as being "healthy."' 

Butter, Ghee & Lard

Yo, did she just say LARD? Yep. Lard. Gone are the days when we were scared into eating margarine at the risk of "heart disease" and research has shown (for many years, actually) that margarine is packed full of chemicals and garbage. 

According to The DailyMail UK, "Not only does butter taste incomparably better, it's a natural product that human beings have been eating and cooking with for centuries without ­damaging their health." 

In fact, we were essentially told to eat margarine way back in hopes of lowering the heart disease issue, but in reality the reasons behind it were more so financial with an alliance between the USDA and agriculture. Margarine actually tends to cause more health issues than butter ever had and is continually touted as "healthy" regardless. When you visit the grocery store, 75% of the "butter" section is not real butter! 

In short, choose something like Kerrygold Irish Butter, or make your own Ghee (clarified butter) using unsalted butter and a heating process (see this one). 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Avocado Oil & Coconut Oil

All of these oils are less processed than any vegetable or corn oils as mentioned above. Most are cold-pressed and easier to get to. The best way to decide what oils to use is to think about the extraction process - the easier it is to extract the oil from the original source, the better it is for you. Coconut, olive and avocado oil are all treated better than vegetable and corn oil as the same methods are not required for extraction. 

Make sure you choose extra-virgin with olive oil and coconut oil and look for dark bottles or boxes to keep light out and prolong the life of your oils. 

How Do I Get Enough Fats? 

When you first start the Keto Diet, focus on simply cutting carbs. You're adding the fat to keep yourself satiated as you go through the transition to becoming "fat-adapted." So, take small steps like cooking your eggs in butter, using the bacon grease for scrambled eggs (or saving in a jar for other applications). Eat an avocado on the side once a day if you can. Add avocado mayo to different meals. Eat cheeses and cured meats as snacks (Duke's sausages are great, also Belgioioso parmesan snacks or softer cheeses like brie or bleu cheese for higher fat content over protein). Be aware of trace carbs in cheese (usually around 1g per oz) but don't let that scare you! 

Use olive oils or avocado oil with some vinegar as salad dressing (many dressings are made with soybean oil... so try to avoid premade). In a pinch, opt for ranch or bleu cheese dressing when dining out for a better high-fat option with less chance of added sugars. 

I'm Overwhelmed. What do I do? 

That's okay. There a ton of weird rules and theories about Keto all over the internet and everywhere. The truth is, you can do Keto whether you're doing it with all grass-fed beef, raw milk, and non-refined oils -- OR -- you can do Keto with the dollar menu at your local fast food restaurant. The main point is to avoid carbs and sugars and do your best. Start by saying no to the fries and taking off the bun and just take it one step at a time from there. Keto is an evolutionary process and as you move through it, you'll change your likes and dislikes and you'll evolve the way to eat and behave. All you have to do is start with your next meal, don't be afraid! 

No bun, please! 
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