Ketogenic diet or keto diet is one of the popular trends with people who are looking to burn fat from the body in the most effective manner. Keto diet is low-carb but high-fat diet. Since this diet is low on carbohydrates, the source of energy is less. In such a situation, the body burns its own fat for the production of energy and hence fat deposits are reduced. Ketogenic diet abounds in fish, meat, poultry and other kinds of fatty items.
But what will happen to vegetarian people? Will, they are not able to follow ketogenic diet? These are some very common questions that come in front of health experts and nutrition experts. The good news is that keto diet can be adjusted and adapted into a vegetarian diet as well. Thus, people on a vegetarian diet can also reap benefits from this amazing diet. Read on this article to know more about a vegan ketogenic diet.
What is a vegetarian ketogenic diet?
It is evident from the name of the diet that this diet combines aspects of keto dieting and vegetarianism. There are no animal products in vegan diets. Therefore it is obvious that these diets are quite high on the carbohydrate content. As a result, maintaining a keto diet properly is quite difficult and challenging for vegetarians. This is because keto diet abounds in high-fat and is low on the carbohydrate content. Though a keto diet is difficult for vegetarians, it is not impossible. One needs to have proper planning for such diet routines.
In a vegan keto diet, carbohydrate intake has to be significantly restricted. Only plant-based foods are allowed in this kind of diet. The vegan keto diet is high in fat content and has an abundant amount of protein as well. However, there are no kinds of animal products in this kind of diet.
The ratios of the macronutrients present in this kind of diet are as follows. These are average numbers.
- Carbohydrates – 5% – 10%
- Protein – 30% – 35%
- Fat – 55% -60%
If you calculate you will see that if a person consumes 2,000 calories per day, it means that you will have carbohydrate intake of just 20-25gms. We all know that the body uses carbohydrates for energy production. But when an adequate amount of carbohydrate is not available, the body enters into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a process in which the body has to burn fat for the production of energy. By following this diet, people can lose weight in the most effective manner and also minimize the total body fat. With ketosis in action, one can get a slim, trim and well-toned body in a short span of time.
Recommended Keto Diet Programs
We recommend the following programs for people who want the keto diet
What are the benefits of a vegan ketogenic diet?
It is quite interesting to note that scientists and researchers have not been able to find the benefits of a vegan ketogenic diet. However, there are many benefits and advantages of a vegan diet and a ketogenic diet separately. When there is a combination of both the diet types, it is obvious that great results are obtained. Some of the most important benefits of a vegan ketogenic diet are as follows:
- Helps in providing protection against various kinds of chronic diseases
It is a well-known fact that vegetarian diets have been closely associated to reduce risk of various kinds of chronic conditions. Studies have proved the fact that with vegan diets people are at a lower risk of cancer. Not only this, but levels of various heart disease risk factors are also improved with such diets. Some of these factors include the likes of blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, and BMI. Along with minimizing the risks of these diseases, the diet also has excellent effects on disease prevention.
In a 56-week study done on several people (1), it was seen that a keto diet caused considerable reductions in total cholesterol including LDL or bad cholesterol, body weight, blood sugar, triglycerides, etc. All these things are great contributors to heart diseases and increase the risks of such ailments.
In other studies, it has been revealed that with a vegan ketogenic diet, it is possible to safeguard brain health. As a result, degenerative ailments of the brain like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can be kept at bay with this kind of diet. There are also indications that with this diet growth of cancerous tumors can be reduced significantly. But more research and confirmed news regarding this matter are needed.
- Helps in promoting weight loss
The main aim of a vegan ketogenic diet is losing weight in the most effective manner. In fact, this is the motto of the ketogenic diet as well as the vegan diet independently as well.
In a review, it was seen that people who followed a vegetarian diet lost more weight on average when compared to people who were on a non-vegetarian diet. The results of the study were studied for almost 18 weeks and more. Also, it was seen that vegetarian diets were more suitable for people with type 2 diabetes. This is because of the fact that this diet promoted fat loss as well as weight loss at the same time. The effectiveness of this vegan diet was way more when compared to traditional and conventional low-calorie diets. Obese people have also gained significantly from vegan diets. There have been considerable reductions in body mass index (BMI) and body weight (2).
All this is possible because a vegan diet abounds in healthy fats and this helps in keeping one feel fuller for long periods of time. Hunger and appetite are curbed with this kind of diet, hence restricting calorie intake considerably.
- Helps in keeping blood sugar levels under control
Both the keto diet and vegetarian diet help in supporting blood sugar control. In reviews of various studies, it was seen that vegetarian diets led to a significant reduction in HbA1c levels. This HbA1c level is a marker of long-term blood sugar control. In a study spanning for about 5 years, it was deduced that people who switched to a vegetarian diet had reduced their risk of diabetes by almost 53%. This is the effect of a vegetarian diet (3).
Now one comes to a keto diet. Keto diet helps in improving the regulation of blood sugar in the body. It also increases the sensitivity of insulin, which is the most important hormone which is involved in blood sugar control. With a keto diet, people could lower their HbA1c levels by almost 16%, which is quite impressive. Infact more than 80% of people were able to reduce or even minimize their medications for the treatment of diabetes by following a keto diet.
What are some of the potential downsides of a vegan ketogenic diet?
If you thought that vegan ketogenic diets only came with positive results and have no downsides, you are mistaken. There are some very prominent downsides of this diet and these should be kept into consideration for sure. Some of them are as follows:
- Can cause flu-like symptoms
When one transitions into ketosis, there can be numerous side effects. One prominent among them is referred to as keto flu. Some of the symptoms of this kind of flu include difficulty in sleeping, headaches, constipation, fatigue, mood changes, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, etc (4). Generally, these symptoms tend to clear away within a few days. For easing the symptoms in a better manner try getting abundant rest, exercise regularly and most importantly drink lots of fluids and stay hydrated as much as possible.
- Risks of nutritional deficiencies can increase with this kind of diet
There are some specific nutritional needs of the body and they have to be met with. For people who consume vegetarian diets, it is important to ensure that a proper plan is made so that all nutritional needs are met properly. Eating a vegetarian meal might lead to low nutrients in the body, including protein, vitamin B12, calcium, and iron (5).
The vegan keto diet is considered to be more restrictive in nature. The diet limits many nutrient-dense food groups, like legumes, fruits, whole grains, etc. With these restrictions in place, chances of nutritional deficiencies increase more. In such a situation, it is important that nutrition intake is monitored carefully. Also, one should consume varieties of whole foods, which are healthy so that the body receives the required amounts of minerals and vitamins. Another way to meet the deficiencies is by taking supplements. This is more effective for nutrients like vitamin B12, which are practically absent in any kind of vegetarian diet.
- Vegan keto diet not suitable for everyone
Since the vegan keto diet is highly restrictive in nature, it might not be very suitable for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should definitely avoid this diet as many nutrients are restricted in this diet. The same is applicable for children as well. Children require various kinds of nutrients and nutrition for their growth and development. The vegan ketogenic diet restricts various kinds of nutrients, hence their growth and development might be hampered greatly. This diet is also not suitable for athletes and sportspersons, for people suffering from type 1 diabetes as well as for people who have a history of eating disorders.
It is recommended to seek medical consultation from a doctor if you suffer from any kind of ailment or underlying health condition or take any kind of medication before starting this diet.
Foods which are integral parts of a vegan keto diet
If you thought that the vegan keto diet is boring and there are just some food items which you can take, you are mistaken. There are lots of food items that are included in a vegan keto diet. Some of them are as follows:
- Soy milk
- Nuts and nut butter
- Vegan butter
- Coconut yogurt, sugar-free
- Nut and soy-based cheeses
- Coconut – fresh as well as dried and coconut milk
- Various kinds of oils including olive oil, coconut oil, nut oil, avocado oil
- Various kinds of non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, leafy greens, cucumber, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, pepper, etc.
- Seaweeds like kelp, nori, dulse etc.
- Coffee and tea
- Various kinds of condiments like pepper, salt, lemon juice, spices, nutritional yeast, fresh herbs like paprika, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, thyme etc.
All these above-mentioned food items are quite readily available in the market and are not overly expensive as well.
Foods which should be avoided when on a vegan keto diet
There are certain food items, which should be avoided when one is on a vegan keto diet. Taking these foods might hamper with the ketosis action and does not bring in favorable results. Some such food items which should be avoided include the following:
- Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans
- Various kinds of starches and grains like oats, bread, rice, pasta, quinoa, breakfast cereals, baked food items, etc.
- All kinds of sugary foods and drinks including soda, maple syrup, juice, sports beverages, agave syrup, barbecue sauce, etc.
- Almost all fruits and fruit juices apart from some amounts of berries and avocados
- Starchy vegetables like corn, carrots, parsnips, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and peas
- Packaged and processed foods
All kinds of anima products will also be avoided by people, who are on a vegan keto diet. The items which should be avoided include:
- Dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt
It is recommended to create a menu for each meal course throughout the day – breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and includes varieties of items in the same from the eat-able list. This will help in getting proper nutrition throughout the day while following the vegan ketogenic diet.
The pattern of the vegan ketogenic diet remains the same as that of a general keto-diet. The eating pattern is that of high-fat, low-carb, while eliminating meat and seafood and many other food items. Both the health benefits and the potential showdowns of the vegan keto diet have already been discussed above in detail.
But if you are a vegetarian and you want to lose weight and fat through a keto diet, the combination of the vegan keto diet is the solution to the issue. Start the diet plan and you will see results for sure.