Ketogenic diets are low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diets that are growing popular for their weight loss benefits. Keto diets are often associated with animal foods but you can follow one while being a plant-based dieter. It will not be that easy but it isn’t impossible either.
Vegan diets do not include any animal products. Plant foods are mostly rich in carbs, which means limiting carb intake is going to be difficult when on a vegan diet.
This article is a guide to the vegan keto diet.
What Is A Vegan Keto Diet?
Keto diets are based on a metabolic process called ketosis, where your body uses fat as fuel instead of glucose. Fats are the key parts of a ketogenic diet and 75% of the foods you take while on a keto diet will be fats.
Vegans reach ketosis by eating high-fat plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, and more.
What Are The Benefits Of A Vegan Keto Diet?
Vegan and keto diets are known to offer several benefits. However, no studies until now have focused on the combination of vegan and ketogenic diets.
A vegan diet is known to reduce the risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Some studies have found that vegans were at 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure and 78% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Vegan diets if planned appropriately could also help lose weight.
Keto diets are popular for their weight loss benefits and the better control they give on blood sugar levels. They also reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Keto diet also increases the levels of adiponectin, a protein that plays a key role in fat metabolism and regulation of blood sugar. Higher levels of adiponectin help reduce inflammation and control blood sugar levels better. It is also associated with a lower risk of obesity-related diseases like heart disease.
As vegan diets and ketogenic diets help improve your health in similar ways, their combination will also have a positive impact on your health.
What Foods To Avoid While On A Vegan Keto Diet?
When on a vegan keto diet, you have to cut down on your carb intake and replace carbs in your diet with healthy fats and protein sourced from vegan foods.
Avoid the foods completely from your diet:
- Animal-based ingredients: whey, honey, egg white protein, gelatin, and more.
Animal foods are often rich in fats but they cannot be added to a vegan keto diet.
Reduce the following foods from your diet as a vegan keto diet requires you to eat low carbs:
- Grains and starches: Baked goods, bread, rice, pasta, chocolate milk, cereals.
- Sweeteners: White sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave.
- Starchy veggies: Sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, winter squash, peas
- Fruits: Limit all fruits. However, you may eat fruits like berries in moderation.
- Low-fat diet foods: Low-fat foods often contain high amounts of sugars.
- High-carb alcoholic beverages: Sweetened cocktails, beer, wine
- Beans and legumes
What Foods To Eat?
When on a vegan keto diet, eat foods that are high in fats and low in sugars.
Include the following foods in your diet:
- Coconut products: Coconut cream, unsweetened coconut, Full-fat coconut milk
- Nuts and seed butter: Almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter, cashew butter
- Oils: Nut oil, olive oil, MCT oil, avocado oil
- Vegan protein sources: Tempeh, full-fat tofu
- Nuts and seeds: Pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts, walnuts.
- Condiments: Fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, pepper, salt, and spices.
What Are The Risks Of Vegan Keto Diet?
When compared with the standard keto diet, a vegan keto diet is more restrictive. Hence you will have to do some extra planning when starting one. The long-term effects of the keto diet are not known, as research on the subject is lacking.
Some of the health risks posed by keto diets include:
- Constipation caused by lack of fiber
- Kidney stones
- Low blood pressure
- Nutritional deficiencies
As you are adapting to a keto diet, you may develop “keto flu” that is associated with the following issues. However, they aren’t permanent.
- Muscle cramps
- Mood swings
- Low energy
- Sleep issues
- Upset stomach
A vegan diet can be healthy but only if you plan it appropriately. If not planned well, vegan diets may lack important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iron.
If you are on a vegan keto diet, make sure that you are taking supplements for the nutrients you might lack lest your health will be adversely affected.