One thing you hear about when starting keto is to eat healthy fats. The problem with that is that there’s a disparity between what “the guidelines” say about healthy fats versus what are actually healthy fats. We’ve all heard about the heart-healthy benefits of olive oil, and they are correct regardless of what guidelines you’re following. But the rest of the fats that the current dietary guidelines tell you are healthy are what they call vegetable oil. The problem is, none of these oils from from vegetables. They are an industrial byproduct that it is processed and repurposed as a consumable item.
These vegetable oils, which from now on we will call what they really are – industrial seed oils, are ultra-processed and require a lot of steps before they are safe to consume. Because of this, these are oils that were completely unavailable in the human diet until technology in the 20th century made it possible to extract and process these oils to make them non-toxic and palatable. This makes them very different from healthy oils from olives or avocados, which release their oils simply through being pressed. The process to bring industrial seed oils to you is far different, and includes a number of steps that require chemical solvents and exposure to heat that oxidizes these oils well before they get to you. The top offenders?
- Canola Oil
- Corn Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
These oils are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are the most easily oxidized form of oil; this leads to them being very unstable, going rancid very easily, and most likely to promote inflammation in the body. The more saturated a fatty acid is, the harder it is for that oil to oxidize. What’s worse is that the process to harden these oils to create products like margarine is called hydrogenation, which solidifies the oils but also significantly increases the risks of the product containing trans fats.
Let’s look at how vegetable oils are made. Canola oil, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cfk2IXlZdbI
Chemical solvents, degumming, processing, cleansing, bleaching and deodorizing is required to make it palatable. Not to mention, most seed oils are from GMO plants.
Now let’s look at how olive oil is made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aieNV3V4b_s
No chemical solvents, no degumming, minimal processing (smashing and pressed/crushed/centrifuged only), no cleansing, no bleaching or deodorizing. In fact, pure, unfiltered olive oil is the most prized and it can be tasted for quality (like a wine) as soon as it’s pressed.
Generally, when one is eating a ketogenic diet, we want what we are putting into our bodies to be as unprocessed as possible – the closer something is to its natural state the better. And avocado, olive, and coconut oils fit this bill the best. Keto Quest advocates for a whole-foods based ketogenic diet. This does not mean that you can’t use products like exogenous ketones, keto bars, shakes, MCT’s, etc, but those products should not form the basis of your diet in the place of fatty meats, eggs, fish, fibrous, low-carb veggies, nuts and seeds. For ideas on how to eat keto, check out the Keto Quest Program in the Programs section of the network, or feel free to check out all the recipes (with more to come) from Keto Quest’s own Keto Chef Max: https://ketoquest.com/recipes/
by Chris Wolf