A vegan keto diet is a plant-based version of the popular ketogenic diet. The keto diet in its original form is a low-carb diet. People who follow this diet plan get most of their energy from fat and protein.
For many, the easiest and most dense sources of fat and protein are the animal products. Therefore, when one thinks of the keto diet, most do not feel it is compatible with being plant-based.
Vegan diets are free of animal products, which means they tend to be relatively high in carbs. Consequently, following a ketogenic diet can be more difficult for vegans. In this article, we explain how to follow a vegan keto diet and more details about it.
What is vegan keto?
A person on a vegan keto diet only eats certain plant-based foods. The vegan keto diet significantly reduces carbs and limits the consumption of certain high carbs products, such as beans and starches. Most of your macronutrients come from fat, and also a normal amount of protein.
Suggested keto diet macronutrients?
- Fat: 55-60%
- Protein: 30–35%
- Carbohydrates: 5 to 10%
For people who consume up to 2,000 calories per day, this equates to a carb intake of around 25-50 grams (g).
When the body doesn’t have enough carbs to use for energy, it goes into a state of ketosis where it burns fat for energy. Therefore, most individuals go through this diet for weight loss through fat reduction. It is also great for those who have diabetes and was actually a diet originally made to help kids with epilepsy.
People who are on a standard keto diet tend to get most of their fat intake from animal foods, which are high in fat and protein but low in carbohydrates. Since vegans do not consume animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, they must eat a lot of high-fat, plant-based foods to enter ketosis.
Vegan keto benefits
Eating a vegan diet has been said to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
For example, studies have found that vegans have about a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure and up to 78% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found out that in 126 days, individuals on the diet lose a minimum of 2.5 pounds over people on non-vegetarian diets.
The ketogenic diet is well known for its efficacy in weight loss, blood sugar control, and reduction of risk factors for heart disease. A research of 58 obese children and adolescents showed that individuals who followed a keto diet lost significantly more weight and fat mass than those who followed a calorie-restricted diet.
In addition, the keto diet significantly increased levels of adiponectin, a protein involved in regulating blood sugar and fat metabolism. Higher levels of adiponectin have been linked with better blood sugar control, less inflammation, and also a lower risk of obesity-related diseases, including heart disease.
Since both the vegan and keto diets are beneficial to your health in similar ways, combining the two following a vegan keto diet is likely to have a positive impact on your health as well.
Keto side effects
Switching to a keto diet can be difficult. Most experience what is called the keto flu, which appears during the transition period. Switching from a high carbohydrate diet to a ketogenic diet can be challenging for your body.
As your body switches from burning glucose to fat for fuel, unpleasant symptoms may appear. Side effects of the vegan ketogenic diet can include:
- Little concentration
- Muscle cramps
- Difficulty sleeping.
Staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and also eating high-fiber foods, and doing light activities can help ease the symptoms of keto flu.
Additionally, supplementing with magnesium, sodium, and potassium electrolytes can help reduce some symptoms, such as muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.
Since the vegan ketogenic diet restricts many foods, it is not suitable for everyone.
The vegan keto diet might not be suitable for people who are type 1 diabetes, pregnant or lactating women, athletes, or people with eating disorders or a history of eating disorders.
If you are considering switching to a vegan keto diet, first consult with your doctor or a qualified health practitioner to clarify more about the diet’s effect on your health. Ensure that your body can be sustained and nourished on any diet you choose.
Vegan keto food list
- Coconut products: whole coconut milk, coconut cream, unsweetened coconut.
- Oils: olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado oil.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Vegetables: green leafy vegetables, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, cabbage, mushrooms, cauliflower.
- Vegan protein sources: whole grain tofu, tempeh, other soy products, pea protein.
- Vegan dairy alternatives: vegan butter, vegan cheese, vegan cream cheese.
- Avocado: Whole avocados, guacamole.
- Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are the best fruit choices
- Spices: nutritional yeast, fresh or dried herbs and spices, lemon juice, salt, pepper.
Though the keto diet eliminates most of the food groups that vegans depend on, like grains and vegetables that contain a lot of starch, a vegan keto diet can be followed with some careful planning.
People on a vegan keto diet should get their calories from whole, unprocessed foods, and also avoid highly processed vegan foods. When eating pre-made goods, always check labels to ensure you aren’t eating hidden carbs. This can hinder the ketosis process and cause frustration as to why the diet seems unsuccessful.
Foods to avoid on the vegan keto diet.
By following a vegan keto diet, you should significantly reduce your carbs intake and replace carbs with healthy fats and vegan protein sources. Here are some examples of foods that should be significantly reduced:
- Cereals and starches: Cereals, bread, pastry, rice, pasta, cereals.
- Sugary drinks: Sweetened teas, sodas, juices, smoothies, sports drinks, sweetened milk alternatives. Sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol are an exception and can be consumed as much as you please.
- High-starchy vegetables: potatoes, winter squashes, peas, beets winter squash.
- Beans and legumes: black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, etc
- Fruits: Almost all fruits should be limited. However, most berries are actually allowed and encouraged, as they are quite a low carb and low calorie, while high in nutrients.
- High-carb alcoholic beverages: beer, sugary cocktails, wine.
- High-carb sauces and dressings: BBQ sauce, sugary salad dressings, marinades.
The level of carbs restriction when you follow a vegan keto diet changes according to your individual health goals and needs. In general, healthy, high-fat vegan foods and vegan protein sources will make up the bulk of your diet.
Vegan Keto snacks
Here are some low-carb vegan foods to keep your appetite in check between meals.
- Macadamia nuts
- Raw coconut butter with vegetarian crackers or celery
- High-fat vegetarian protein bars
- Nuts and nut butter.
- Dark chocolate
- Cocoa beans.
- Nuts and coconut bars
- A mix of nuts, seeds, and unsweetened coconut
- Slow-cooked pumpkin seeds
- Celery stalks finished with almond butter
- Coconut yogurt with sliced almonds and berries
- Guacamole or vegan cream cheese on bell pepper with spices
Vegan keto diets are known for their benefits which include weight loss and reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Some supplements may be needed to meet nutritional needs, including iron and vitamins B12 and D.
Although researchers say that both the vegan diet and the keto diet can benefit your health, studies on the effects of the vegan ketogenic diet are needed to determine if this diet is effective and safe to follow in the long term.
More Vegan Diet Information:
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