The Keto diet has been taking the nation by storm thanks to endorsements by celebrities, athletes and chefs alike. Everywhere you look there are pictures and social media posts raving about the amazing results of this low-carb diet. If you’re interested in starting Keto you might be wondering what you are and are not allows to eat. After all, fat makes up the majority of your calories on Keto, but how are you supposed to get that much fat in every day?
One of the best ways to do this is by adding avocado oil into your diet. The following article will explain how Keto works, the benefits of avocado oil and how to best incorporate this healthy fat into your Keto meal plan.
Overview of Keto
Most people know that the Keto diet is an ultra-low carb diet which encourages you to eat a lot of fat. What you may not know, is why Keto asks you to make this switch. The goal of Keto is to change the way your body metabolises food to create energy. A high carb diet causes your body to create glucose in your liver which is then shuttled around your body as fuel. Keto seeks to switch your body’s primary source of fuel from glucose to ketones and in order to do this, it needs a lot of fat.
Glucose is a quick burning fuel that’s similar to the tinder and kindling you put on a fire. It may light up quickly however, it’s burned through just as fast and more fuel (ie carbohydrates) is needed to keep that fire roaring. This can be exhausting and the highs and lows that your blood sugar experiences as it receives and burns through the carbohydrates you eat can leave you feeling drained one minute and energetic the next.
Ketones are a more stable form of energy. If we stick with the fire metaphor, ketones would be more similar to a large, slow-burning log. Except, they’re also a slow-burning log that has new logs ready to roll into the fire whenever they’re needed. This is because ketones are made from fat, and the majority of us have plenty of stored body fat waiting to be turned into ketones for energy.
In order for your body to make the switch from glucose to ketones, it needs to believe that there isn’t enough food to continue making glucose. However, you don’t need to deprive yourself of food or calories in order to make the switch. Instead, you need to trick your body slightly by changing up the type of calories you eat. This means cutting back your net carbs to 20-25g a day or less while increasing your healthy fat consumption.
This switch means giving up on flour, bread, pasta and grains while adding in plenty of heathy fats. The Keto diet also asks you to steer clear of processed and packaged foods that don’t have nutritional benefits. Instead, you should focus on low-carb, whole foods whenever you can. This means that your diet will probably be full of non-starchy veggies, low-sugar fruits, nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, red meat, whole-fat dairy and healthy oils.
Not all fats are created equal
The majority of the calories you consume on Keto are supposed to come from fats; however, not every fat is a healthy fat. The burger and fries that you get from your neighbourhood drive through is loaded with fat, but it’s not the type that’s encouraged on Keto.
Processed foods and restaurant fast foods are loaded with trans fats and saturated fats. Trans fats have been in the news a lot in the last decade due to increasing concern that they cause a variety of diseases. Trans fats raise your LDL cholesterol levels (the bad kind) while lowering your HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind). This is why the Keto diet asks you to stay away from trans fats.
Saturated fats are the ones that are most commonly found in animal products. Scientists are still on the fence about how bad saturated fats are for you because recent research has hinted that it’s not as bad as we once thought. For the purposes of your Keto, it’s best to limit your saturated fats while cutting out all trans fats.
If you’re wondering where that leaves you in terms of the fats that you’re allowed to eat on Keto, the answer is: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These are the types of fats that are most commonly liquids at room temperature. They include all sorts of vegetable fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil. They can also be found in nuts and seeds.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are great for your brain and your heart. They lower your LDL cholesterol while raising your HDL cholesterol levels. This decreases your chances of developing blot clots, thickening of the arteries and heart disease. They also feed your brain and your Keto with plenty of healthy fats. Although it’s alright to eat some saturated fats (like the ones found in your favorite steak) on Keto, it’s best to try to get the majority of your calories from plant-based sources. This is where avocado oil comes in.
What is avocado oil?
Avocado oil is the liquid oil that’s pressed from avocados. The pulp of the avocado contains healthy fats that many people enjoy as an alternative to mayonnaise, spread on a slice of Keto-toast or sliced on a salad. Avocado oil an easy way to get the same health benefits of the fruit with added versatility and a lower price point.
A good bottle of avocado oil should say that’s its 100% pure, cold-pressed and unrefined. This type of oil will be more expensive than its refined counterparts’ however, the less refinement an oil goes through, the more health benefits it retains.
Avocado oil is slightly green and has a mild taste that’s very similar to the fruit it came from. Depending on where the avocados were grown, there can be slight differences in both the taste and the nutrition of the resulting oil. Avocado oil has the highest smoke point out of all of the cooking oils which makes it a popular choice for pan frying. The smoke point of an oil determines how hot it can get before it starts to break down and release free radicals. Avocado oil boasts an impressive smoke point of 520F; which makes it well suited to almost every cooking application you can think of.
Benefits of avocado oil
Avocado oil has a variety of health benefits that make it a great addition to any diet. A single tablespoon of avocado oil contains 124 calories, all of which come from fat! There are no carbs or protein in avocado oil, just a whopping 14g of fat that can help you reach your macro goals.
Avocado oil is a good source of vitamin E which is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin E is important for the health of your skin, vision, brain, blood and reproductive system. Avocado oil is also a good source of heart healthy HDL cholesterol and oleic acid.
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid that contains Omega 9. The benefits of oleic acid to your health are far reaching. It’s useful in maintaining the health of your brain and it can improve cognitive function. It’s also great for the health of your heart because it lowers the levels of LDL in your body, reducing your risk of developing heart disease or a stroke. It can improve your circulation and reduce inflammation throughout your body. This monounsaturated fatty acid can even help boost your mood!
Avocado oil contains lutein, which is a vitamin that’s more commonly found in yellow, orange and red vegetables. Lutein is important for the health of your skin as well as the health of your eyes. It’s been shown to reduce your risks of getting skin cancer as well as preventing degeneration in your eyes.
How to incorporate avocado oil into your Keto
It can be difficult to reach your fat macros on Keto because 75% of your calories from healthy fats is a lot of fat if you eat it in its solid form. A liquid like avocado oil adds some versatility to your fat consumption, allowing you to incorporate it into almost any meal so that you can up your fats without even noticing it.
If you’re going to pan fry some fish, meat or veggies, add some avocado oil to the pan first. This will give your food a crispy coating as the food soaks up the oil and, as a bonus, prevents it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You can drizzle avocado oil over foods that you’re going to bake in the oven for a similar effect.
Making a marinade with avocado oil is as simple as mixing a few of your favorite herbs and spices in with some oil and allowing your chosen meat or veggies to sit in the mixture so that it can soak up the flavor and the benefits of the oil before you cook it. You can also mix some vinegar, avocado oil and herbs and spices together and drizzle it over a salad for a simple, heart healthy vinaigrette.
Avocado oil is an easy way to reach your healthy fat goals on Keto. This versatile oil has a variety of health benefits and you can incorporate it into just about any meal. If you’re struggling to get enough healthy fats into your Keto, try adding some avocado oil into your Keto meal plan.