Oils – The Good, The Not So Bad and The Ugly

As we progress down the journey of unconventional Keto one of the sidenotes on the map has to be “Are all fats created equal? Are they all good? How do I know the difference?”.

A really good set of questions and I’ll give you a bit of a start on finding your answers. I know that nobody wants to slog through a long dissertation on fat chemistry so I’ll distill things down a bit and provide you with some resources you can check out for more information if this has wetted your appetite for knowledge.

First, there are 4 types of fats or fatty acids.

  • MUFA – Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
  • PUFA – Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
  • SAFA – Saturated Fatty Acids
  • Transfats

These general types loosely relate to the title of the article “The Good” are the MUFA/PUFA, SAFA are “The Not So Bad” and Transfats are “The Ugly”. If a map of the Keto journey had been drawn as an ancient mariners map then the Transfats region would have been labeled “There be dragons here!”. Even though there are some plant based Transfats which are not as bad as the industrially produced variety they are best avoided and treated as unwelcome on your plate.

For a typical diet of 1500 calories a day your target should be a combination of no more than 33 grams of MUFA, 16 grams of PUFA and 11 grams of SAFA. The total fat intake is what you want to control as well and it shouldn’t be more than 70% of your daily calories.

I have researched many articles on common oils that we encounter in our cooking experience and found that pretty much every oil has components of all 3 Fatty Acids MUFA-PUFA-SAFA in varying degree. I’ve summarized them here for you in one diagram.

Here are the numbers to go along with the diagram above. The list is sorted with the largest percentage of monounsaturated first.

OILMUFA%PUFA%SAFA%
Hazelnut81127
Extra Virgin Olive Oil74813
Safflower74146
Almond702010
Avocado701020
Canola62326
Peanut493318
Sasame434314
Palm381052
Corn245912
Soybean236115
Sunflower196610
Grapeseed177112
Coconut6292

Last, as promised I am including here a short list of links (without endorsement expressed or implied) where you can find more information on fats and their nutritional composition. There is no substitute for knowledge and we fully encourage you to learn more about fats and how they can benefit you when used responsibly.

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