The keto diet has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its effectiveness in promoting weight loss and overall health. However, not all fats are created equal, and it is important to be mindful of the types of fats you consume on a keto diet. Vegetable oils are a common ingredient in many processed foods, but they can be harmful to your health. In this article, we will discuss why vegetable oils should be avoided on a keto diet and offer alternatives for healthy cooking oils.
Why Vegetable Oils are Not Good for You on a Keto Diet
When you’re on a keto diet, you need to be careful about what oils you consume. That’s because some oils contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which can increase inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. This can lead to various health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
In this article, we’ll look at why vegetable oils are not suitable for a keto diet, which oils you should avoid, and what you can use instead.
What is a Keto Diet?
Before we dive into the details, let’s quickly go over what a keto diet is. A keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been shown to promote weight loss, improve blood sugar control, and reduce the risk of various diseases.
On a keto diet, you consume foods that are high in healthy fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil, while avoiding foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables.
The Dangers of Vegetable Oils
To date, there is a lot of evidence that you are better off avoiding vegetable oils and the omega-6 fats they contain. Studies show that vegetable oils can lead to obesity, cause inflammation, and increase the presence of free radicals in the body.
Most vegetable oils contain a particularly harmful omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid called linoleic acid. Among its negative effects:
- May slow weight loss
- Causes inflammation
- Oxidizes when cooked, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid are not suitable for cooking.
- Harmful Vegetable Oils to Avoid on a Keto Diet
Soybean oil is one of the most commonly used vegetable oils in the world. You will find it on the ingredient lists of salad dressings, spreads, baked goods, french fries, and so on. Most soybean oil is produced from GMO soybeans.
Soybeans contain about 55% linoleic acid, which contributes to weight gain, inflammation, and other health problems.
Peanut butter is a popular food among keto dieters because it is high in healthy fats and low in carbs. However, it is also rich in linoleic acid, so eating it increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and even cancer.
Peanut butter contains adequate amounts of vitamin E, which the companies say is good for health. But the cons outweigh all the pros. It is better to get vitamin E from olive oil and avocados.
Corn oil is another commonly used vegetable oil that is high in omega-6 fatty acids. It is especially rich in phytosterols, the plant-based version of cholesterol. One of the benefits of corn oil is that it lowers cholesterol: this happens because phytosterols block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines, which lowers total cholesterol and LDL levels.
But a large amount of phytosterol increases the risk of developing heart disease. In addition, corn oil contains 57% linoleic acid, making it one of the worst cooking oils available.
Rapeseed (Canola) oil
Rapeseed oil is a popular cooking oil that is often marketed as a healthy option. It lowers cholesterol levels with the help of phytosterols, those nasty molecules that seem to increase the risk of heart disease.
It also contains erucic acid, which has been shown in animal studies to impair heart, liver, and fat metabolism.
Cottonseed oil is a common ingredient in many processed foods, as it is cheap and widely available. However, it is high in omega-6 fatty acids, with about 50% of its composition being linoleic acid. This can lead to inflammation and other health problems.
What to Use Instead
If you’re on a keto diet, it’s best to stick to oils that are high in healthy fats and low in omega-6 fatty acids. Some great options include:
- Coconut oil: This oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which can increase ketone production and aid in weight loss.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and improve heart health.
- Avocado oil: Avocado oil is rich in oleic acid, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Butter/ghee: Butter and ghee are high in saturated fats, which can increase ketone production and provide a good source of energy.
- Animal fats: Fats from animals, such as lard and tallow, are also good options, as they are high in saturated fats and low in omega-6 fatty acids.
In conclusion, vegetable oils are not suitable for a keto diet due to their high omega-6 fatty acid content, which can lead to inflammation and other health problems. Instead, opt for oils that are high in healthy fats and low in omega-6 fatty acids, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, butter/ghee, and animal fats.
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