Are all keto diet fats equally healthy?

Keto diet now seems to be a great topic of discussion when it comes to weight loss. But, how can it be that you lose weight if you have to take more fats within this diet? How important is oil consumption for the Keto diet? Are all keto diet fats and oils valid for your health?

Mediterranean diet vs. Keto diet. What should you know about the fat source of both?

  1. How different are the keto diet and Mediterranean diet?
  2. What is ketosis? And why is the keto diet high in fat?
  3. Who should be careful when considering the keto diet?
  4. What are the healthiest sources of fat to consider?
  5. How can you prepare a high-fat menu for a day?

 

1. How different are the keto diet and Mediterranean diet?

Mediterranean diet is a very complete diet that is based on the intake of cereals, vegetables, seasonal fruits, legumes, mainly lean meats, eggs and derived dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. The main source of fat in this diet is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) along with nuts and bluefish. Do you recognize the pyramid that indicates the proportion of foods within this diet?

 

Pyramid of a Mediterranean lifestyle
Pyramid of a Mediterranean lifestyle

So, as you surely also know, the Mediterranean diet is part of a lifestyle in which you choose to eat healthy and balanced dishesexercise and have a good rest. This means that it has multiple benefits for health (specifically for the cardiovascular), but also protects us against chronic diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and some types of cancer.

On the other hand, the ketogenic or keto diet), unlike the previous one, is characterized by high consumption of fat (70%), a low consumption of carbohydrates (10%), and moderate consumption of protein foods (20%). More specifically, to carry out this diet it’s important to avoid those carbohydrates rich in sugar and starch such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, as well as milk and most fruits among which a small amount of berries such as raspberries and strawberries blackberries is excluded.

In this way, on a (strict) ketogenic diet you have to limit yourself to the consumption of about 20 grams of carbohydrates a day, mainly from those vegetables that grow on the earth surface such as broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, tomato, pepper, spinach, asparagus, cucumber… Check out the proportions below:

Keto diet food pyramid
Keto diet food pyramid

A keto diet meal plan has many benefits for effective fat burning, but also for improving digestive problems, energy and stamina, and mental performance. In fact, many dietitians (based on a patient study) are recommending this diet as an option to lose weight, as well as to improve type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. This is because the ketogenic diet subjects the body to a metabolic state known as ketosis:

 

2. What is ketosis? And why is the keto diet high in fat?

Most of us use sugar from carbohydrates such as bread, rice, potatoes… as energy fuel. However, the body can also obtain energy from fat, through a process known as ketosis.

Ketosis is a natural physiological state that our body produces, more specifically our liver, when we don’t have enough glucose (blood sugar that comes from carbohydrates that we consume) and begins to burn fat to get the energy we need. This happens because as the fat breaks down, ketones begin to be produced, molecules that will become a source of energy, that is, an alternative fuel for our body and, especially, for our brain.

Thus, when a person considerably reduces their carbohydrate intake and begins to consume healthy fats in addition to other nutrients considered in this diet, he is encouraging this metabolic change, this ketosis, to occur, promoting a greater fat burn that occurs 24 hours a day. Consequently, weight loss is favoured, even without exercising.

3. Who should be careful when considering the keto diet?

On the one hand, people who take medication for diabetes or high blood pressure, or women who are breastfeeding are the ones who should consult with their doctor when implementing changes in their diet, especially keto, since we are talking about causing a metabolic change.

On the other hand, it’s worth mentioning that some people may suffer side effects from this diet such as bad breath, headache, muscle cramps, constipation or the ketogenic flu. For this reason, we recommend going to the specialist again.

Besides, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, not all the fats we eat are valid. You should always take into account the quality and properties of the food you eat and its health benefits. For this reason, you must take special care when choosing the sources of fat for this diet:

4. What are the healthiest sources of fat to consider?

So, whether you decide to go on the keto diet or follow a Mediterranean lifestyle, you must take into account the quality of the fats you consume. Many studies have determined that saturated fats are harmful to health. Hence, if better if you choose oils and foods with a higher proportion of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as:

5. How can you prepare a high-fat menu for a day?

If you are wondering which recipes are low in carbohydrates and what you could eat in a day to test what the ketogenic diet consists of, here are some ideas:

  • For breakfast, try an omelette (2 eggs) with spinach, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and avocado as an aside, don’t forget to make this preparation with extra virgin olive oil.
  • To snack between meals, if you are hungry, you can always opt for nuts without artificial additives such as walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds, as they are sources of healthy fat and can fill you up until the next meal.
  • For lunch, you would have the option of making keto meatballs (with the minced meat of your choice, egg and Parmesan cheese, and without using breadcrumbs in the mix) and grilled vegetables such as zucchini, peppers, asparagus, fresh green beans, etc.
  • For dinner, you could opt for grilled salmon or trout with steamed broccoli and grated cheddar cheese on top. Although you’re cooking fatty fish, you can also use extra virgin olive oil.

Finally, remember that, although we use the concept of diet, we are referring to leading a healthy lifestyle and that if weight loss is among your concerns, we recommend consulting with a specialist who will be able to tell you which is the best option you, especially considering a long term.

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