it can help you meet your increased fat needs
A low carb diet is a strict one but very rewarding if you stick to the correct foods.
Low carb and keto diets limit carbohydrate intake but the main difference is the amount of it you eat.
On a low carb diet, you typically eat between 50 and 150 grams of carbs per day. On a keto diet, daily carb intake is fewer than 50 grams.
Carbohydrates are primarily found in sugary foods, pasta and bread.
Instead of eating carbohydrates, you eat whole foods including natural proteins, fats and vegetables.
This includes the use of oils and fats when cooking.
While many of them contain fats that are needed for a low carb diet, not all of them are suitable. Factors like smoking point, versatility and nutritional value are important when picking one for cooking.
Here are some of the best oils and fats to use when following a low carb diet.
The smoking point of oils and fats are important to consider.
A smoking point is the temperature at which the oil or fat starts smoking.
Each one has a different smoking point and for cooking food, it is best to use one that is high.
Even with high smoke ones, smoking can still occur in high-temperature cooking, for example, stir-frying.
It is not necessarily a bad thing but you want to take care.
Smoking oil or fat means that it is breaking down and can release chemicals that give food an undesirable burnt or bitter flavour.
It can also release harmful compounds that can have a negative effect on health.
Smoking Point: 232°C
When it comes to a low carb diet, coconut oil is one of the best to use.
Because it is pure fat, it can help you meet your increased fat needs without adding any carbohydrates to your diet.
Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, the majority of which are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
MCTs are a type of fat that may boost fat burning as well as raise ketone levels, making it a great oil to use when following a low carb diet.
But for those wanting to lose weight, it is recommended to use coconut oil in moderation because it is calorie-rich, containing 120 calories per 14 grams.
When it comes to cooking uses, coconut oil is best suited for baking and pan-frying because of the high smoking point.
It can be quite expensive so to save money, it is best to buy in bulk.
Many supermarkets stock coconut oil and it can even be bought in kilogram tubs.
Smoking Point: 199-243°C
One of the best cooking oils for a low carb diet is olive oil.
This is due to the relatively high smoking point, competitive price and is readily available.
It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which may support heart health and decrease inflammation.
Olive oil is best used for baking and for dressings.
Compared to coconut oil, it is lower in calories, containing 119 calories in one tablespoon.
While olive oil is great for low carb diets, it is recommended to avoid blends that containing olive oil mixed with vegetable oil.
This is because vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which may cause inflammation and perhaps even free radicals.
It is best to opt for more natural, less processed oils where possible.
Smoking Point: 150°C
Butter is perfect for a low carb diet as it is free of carbs and around 80% fat.
Although butter was long considered a problem for heart health, research suggests there is only a small link between butter intake and heart disease.
Butter is also one of the richest food sources of butyrate. This type of short-chain is said to promote brain health.
When it comes to choosing, ensure that the butter is of high quality.
It is said that organic butter from grass-fed cows may have a slightly more favourable composition of fats than butter from conventionally raised cows.
While butter is good with most dishes and offers added flavour, the low smoking point means is quite low, so be careful not to burn it.
Smoking Point: 270°C
Being an excellent source of fat, avocado oil is great to use when following a low carb diet.
The fat is healthy and it also provides a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Not only is it good for a low carb diet, but research indicates that it may support heart health, balance blood sugar and healthy ageing.
Avocado oil has one of the highest smoking points and because it is refined, it does not impart any flavours.
This means it is good for deep frying. Avocado oil is also good to drizzle on steamed vegetables or to make salad dressings.
However, it is not the cheapest oil and can be difficult to find in supermarkets. It is best to buy it online and used sparingly.
Nevertheless, the combination of a high-fat content and nutritional value make avocado oil a viable option.
Smoking Point: 250°C
Also known as clarified butter, ghee is essentially butter without the butter and milk sugars. This gives it a longer shelf life, which is why it is a staple in hot countries, especially South Asian ones like India.
Butter and ghee are almost the same, but with some subtle differences, but both are great when following a low carb diet.
Ghee has a higher fat content, containing 14 grams in a tablespoon compared to butter’s 12 grams.
It has more monounsaturated and saturated fats, with at least 25% MCTs.
These fats are easier to digest, making them easier to turn into ketones, which puts you faster into ketosis.
Ghee is also lacto-friendly, containing tiny amounts of lactose. Compared to other dairy products, it does not cause inflammation or trigger allergies.
However, due to being high in calories, it should be consumed in moderation if you are looking to lose weight.
With a high smoking point, ghee is good for all kinds of cooking.
It is readily available in most shops, so try using ghee if you are on a low carb diet.
Nut & Seed Butter
Smoking Point: 150°C
When following a low carb diet, nut and seed butters offer the same benefits as eating whole nuts and seeds, but in a more versatile package.
Like other butter varieties, it has a low smoking point so it is best for low-level cooking, spreading over bread or adding to sauces.
It is high in fat and carb-free, two things when considering suitable foods for a low carb diet.
This type of butter is also rich in butyrate, promoting brain health.
But when buying it, ensure that you read the ingredient label.
Some varieties contain added sweeteners that could make them unsuitable for a low carb diet.
Alternatively, you can make your own nut and seed butter.
These oils and fats are suitable when following a low carb diet, mainly because they are a rich source of fat and are carb-free.
They have different smoking points and contain a wide variety of nutrients, meaning there is one for everyone.
While they meet the required fat needs, they should be consumed in moderation when trying to lose weight.
So, if you’re following a low carb diet, these oils and fats are suitable to use when cooking.