This is an article about high-quality, good fat foods for your low-carb and/or ketogenic diet.
Before I get into what those are though, I want to talk about the Atkins era. In the ’80s and ’90s, Dr. Atkins and his diet was pretty popular, but there were two things that were missing in his information related to eating fats.
Number 1: it’s most accurate and valuable to test ketones in the blood. Ketones are the fat that the body loves to burn more than any other fat: when you’re burning ketones, it’s called ketosis. To test for ketones in the body, Dr. Atkins was using “keto sticks,” which are little sticks that you urinate on, and they’ll tell you if there’s a certain quantity of ketones in the urine. Unfortunately, having raised ketone levels in the urine doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in ketosis. You see, if the level of sugar in your blood is greater than the level of ketones, it means you’re burning sugar. In order to be in ketosis, you have to have more ketones in the blood than sugar. With the way Atkins was testing, you might witness an increase in ketones from eating healthy fats, causing some of those ketones to spill over into the urine and make it seem, based on the keto stick reading, like you’re in ketosis, but if there’s still more sugar in the blood—something that can’t be measured using the keto sticks—then in fact you’re still burning sugar and are not in ketosis. Dr. Atkins missed this simply because there didn’t exist the correct technology at the time. But now it exits! You can buy something [link/product name] online to measure ketones in the blood, and compare that with glucose.
Number 2: Atkins was missing the concept of eating healthy food that’s not filled with chemicals. He recommended artificial sweetener, other preservatives, and processed food. As a matter of fact, they still make Atkins bars, and they’re filled with chemicals. You want to avoid that. Of course, it was more okay in the ’70s when most of the food was pretty good, but now our food is a disaster, so you want to eat as cleanly as possible.
Those are the things Atkins was missing. One more note before I get into the list of fats: ketosis is not the same as ketoacidosis. Ketosis is simply burning fat, whereas ketoacidosis denotes a Type 1 diabetic that’s dying because his or her glucose and ketones are out of control. The ketones might be 25, not 2.0 and the blood glucose is 350, not 100. Ketoacidosis is very dangerous. Saying ketosis and ketoacidosis are the same thing is like saying cat and car are the same thing: the words are similar, but obviously a cat and car are very different things.
Here’s the list of fats, broken into a couple of different categories.
The first category is fats that are really good for when you’re fasting. Let’s say you’re skipping breakfast and doing what’s called intermittent fasting: you eat dinner at 6:00 p.m., and your next meal’s at noon the next day. You just went 18 hours with no food. That’s intermittent fasting. These fats can be consumed while you’re fasting around 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. to help yogurt through it.
– MCT oil – which stands for medium-chain triglyceride oil (in fact, all of the fats in this category are medium-chain triglycerides, meaning they pass into the brain easily to feed it, as opposed to long-chain triglycerides, like what’s in bacon or steak).
– Coconut oil
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– Avocado oil
– Fish oils- Butter
– Bone broth
All of these you could just drink, or for the coconut oil, eat it with a spoon!
The next category is healthy fats that have some carbohydrates or protein in them. You’d consume these during your eating hours, since otherwise they would break your fast.
– Good Fat Bar. That’s a company I started with a couple of friends. The website’s “goodfat.bar”. The base of the bars is cacao butter, which is fantastic, super satisfying fat.
– Organic pasture-raised eggs
– Fish eggs
– Nuts, seeds
– Nut butters
– 100% chocolate – If you find a chocolate bar that’s 90%, that means it’s 90% chocolate, 10% sugar. If your chocolate bar is 75% chocolate, then it’s 25% sugar. This is 100% chocolate. It’s bitter, but it’s full of fat.
The next category is dairy. Dairy’s very valuable for its fat. If your body can’t handle dairy, if you’re lactose intolerant or it causes a runny nose, then this category isn’t for you.
– Full-fat cheese, including cottage cheese. Raw and/or organic is best.
– Yogurt, full-fat with no added sugar
– Grass-fed butter or ghee (clarified butter)
– Kefir, which is a thick, fermented dairy, full-fat of course. It’s a bit bitter. You can buy kefir that’s full of sugar and is low fat—don’t bother.
– Whole milk, raw and from grass-fed animals. Some people are drinking goat’s milk. In any case, you want it to be as clean as possible, and not skim milk and not 2%. Skim milk is like drinking Gatorade with the amount of sugar that’s in it. You have to go with full-fat.
The final category is meat and fish.
– Red meat: steak, pot roast, beef
– Fatty chili
– Brats, sausage. You can go to a store and find all-lean brats and lean sausage. It’s dry, and it’s not very satisfying. You want to go with a higher fat brats and sausage. It has to make you happy.
– Bacon. There’s turkey bacon, which has basically no fat, and then there’s regular bacon. If you’re going to eat bacon, you have to go with the full-fat bacon. This is to get your body into fat-burning mode; we’re trying to reduce the protein and the sugar.
– Fats and organ meats from organic, grass-fed animals
– Whole fish that’s fatty, like salmon. These fish swim deep in the ocean where it’s cold. Preferably the Atlantic Ocean, not the Pacific.
At the very least, you want to get into ketosis a few days a year. If you’re in ketosis four days a year, you’ve turned off bad DNA, cancer DNA, heart disease, diabetes. If you’re an endurance athlete, you should be in ketosis 15 hours every day. It’s a gradient, depending on what you want to do.
Start incorporating these fats into your diet!
Yours in Health,
Dr. Darren Schmidt