Which fats and oils should I eat on a ketogenic diet?

By Dr. Stephen Phinney and the Virta Team

On a well-formulated ketogenic diet where 70-80% of your daily energy comes from fat, the majority of your dietary fat should be from sources of monounsaturates and saturates.

Here’s a table of the best fats and oils to consume on a ketogenic diet:

Keto diet - acceptable fats and oils

We only need about one teaspoon (5 grams) each of omega-6 and omega-3 fats each day to meet our essential fatty acid needs. Too much omega-6 in particular is not well-tolerated by our digestive tract. The older ‘high linoleic’ versions of safflower and sunflower oil are 65-75% omega-6, so if even one third of your daily energy needs (say about 600 out of 1800 Calories) came from one of these oils, that 600 kcal would contain 8 teaspoons of omega-6 fat. That’s way too much, and way out of balance with a normal omega-3 fat intake. High omega-6 oils such as corn, soybean, cottonseed, peanut, and the older versions of safflower and sunflower are good sources of essential omega-6 fatty acids if one is consuming a low fat diet. In that case, most of your daily energy comes from carbohydrates and fat is just a sliver of your daily energy use.

Olive oil is pretty close to ideal in its fatty acid composition. Other good fat sources are high oleic safflower and sunflower oils, plus lard (which is typically half monounsaturated) and canola oil.

Back to Keto FAQ


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4 Comments

  1. What about dairy products ? Do they have to be grass fed animals
    or any regular dairy

    Reply

    1. Virta Health

      Dairy products are OK as long as they don’t have sugar in them. Some examples of acceptable dairy products are cheese, cream cheese, heavy cream and sour cream. These dairy items do not have to be from grass fed animals, they just have to be full fat. I hope that helps!

      Reply

  2. Hi , what about peanut oil .

    Reply

    1. Virta Health

      Peanut oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids, so we recommend sticking to the oils in the table above.

      Reply

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