If you’re vegetarian but you like the idea of starting a keto diet, which prioritizes fats and restricts carbs, you might wonder if vegetarian and keto diets can be combined.
This can be problematic because many foods that are allowed on the vegetarian diet are restricted on keto.
How can a keto vegetarian diet work? To make this diet successful, you have to ensure you get enough of the right foods and meet your nutritional requirements on a daily basis.
With that in mind, let’s explore what you need to know about combining a vegetarian diet with a keto diet.
We’ll look at the pros and cons of being a keto vegetarian, as well as the foods you should be adding to your daily eating plan so that you keep the diet as healthy as possible.
What Is The Keto Vegetarian Diet?
The keto vegetarian diet basically combines the benefits of both the vegetarian and keto diets. For example, on a vegetarian diet, you won’t eat any meat, but you can consume other animal-based products such as dairy and eggs. You’ll fill your regular diet with plant-based, whole foods.
By comparison, the keto diet reduces carbs and focuses on the consumption of fat. This type of diet encourages ketosis to occur, which is a metabolic state when your body burns fat for fuel instead of relying on glucose, which is why you have to eat high-fat foods.
Blending both diets does pose some problems. For starters, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy fats, so you have to choose plant-based fats. Another issue is that you might consume lots of carbs on the vegetarian diet in order to fill you up, but carbs are restricted on the keto diet.
Therefore, careful planning of the keto vegetarian diet is required.
Vegetarian Keto Diet: Pros
- Both a vegetarian and keto diet are linked to increased weight loss, so you can reap these benefits by combining them. The research found that people who followed a vegetarian diet for 18 weeks lost approximately 4.5 pounds more weight than non-vegetarians. As for the keto diet, a study tracked people who followed a keto diet for six months and found that they experienced significant weight and body mass index reductions, with an average weight loss of 31 pounds.
- Both diets protect your body against disease. The vegetarian diet has been linked to a lower risk of cancer as well as healthier levels of heart disease factors, such as cholesterol. Similarly, in a study people who followed the keto diet had significant reductions in bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels, both of which are risk factors for diseases.
- Both diets help you to stay away from unhealthy carbohydrate sources, such as ready meals that you can buy from the supermarket which are packed with preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients. Avoiding a high quantity of carbs on the keto diet can make your keto vegetarian eating plan healthier. To meet your plant-based food requirements as a vegetarian, you’ll choose low-carb fruits and veggies that offer many other nutrients.
Vegetarian Keto Diet: Cons
- This diet is highly restrictive. It requires you to cut out all meat as well as reduce your carbs, even in fruits and legumes, so you are at risk of experiencing nutritional deficiencies. This is why it’s important to eat a variety of healthy foods and be sure that you’re getting all the important nutrients you need.
- It’s not suitable for everyone. As a result of how restrictive the vegetarian keto diet is, it’s not suitable for children, women who are breastfeeding or pregnant, athletes, and people with type 1 diabetes. If you have a health condition or you’re on chronic medication, you’ll have to consult with your doctor before starting the keto vegetarian diet.
- This diet is challenging because some foods that are considered staples on a vegetarian diet, such as lentils and beans, are not allowed on the keto diet because they contain a large number of carbs. This can make food choices tricky.
Foods To Eat On The Keto Vegetarian Diet
If you’re interested in starting the keto vegetarian diet, you should include more of the following foods into your regular eating plan.
- Plant-based fats. Healthy fats are recommended on both the vegetarian and keto diet plans, so add more avocados, coconut oil, and olive oil to your daily eating plan. Remember, just because the keto diet prioritizes fats, this doesn’t mean you should reach for unhealthy fats, such as trans fats, that raise your cholesterol.
- Low-carb proteins. Your protein content should come from plant-based sources, so seitan and tofu are great examples of plant-based proteins. Try to avoid processed faux-meat products as these usually contain a high amount of sugar and/or carbs that you want to avoid.
- Low-carb vegetables. These include mushrooms, cauliflower, celery, spinach, cabbage, kale, lettuce, and brussel sprouts. They will give you a small amount of carbs while boosting your nutritional intake.
- Nuts. These work well in vegetarian and keto diets but make sure you choose ones that are high in fat but low in carbs. These include hazelnuts, pecans, and macadamias.
- Seeds. These are always good to sprinkle over sandwiches, salads, and soups. They have healthy fats, they’re full of fiber, and they don’t contain a high amount of carbs.
- Dairy. To ensure you get enough protein and other nutrients from your yogurt, milk, and other dairy, make sure you choose the full-fat varieties. Avoid dairy that contains lots of sugar.
- Eggs. These will give you complete protein, so they should be added to your diet regularly.
- Low-carb fruits. Some of the healthiest picks include strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.
Foods To Avoid On The Keto Vegetarian Diet
- On a keto diet you’ll have to eliminate all meat and seafood, so ensure you get your protein from other sources, such as eggs and dairy.
- Avoid high-carb foods such as legumes, fruits, and starchy vegetables. You can eat these in small quantities, but just make sure you don’t consume more carbs than you should.
- Avoid consuming sweetened beverages, such as sports drinks, energy drinks, soda, and sweet tea.
- Limit grains. While on a vegetarian diet you can eat grains like quinoa and millet in large quantities, you can’t do this on a keto vegetarian diet.
- Reduce processed foods. These include granola, baked goods, and breakfast cereals.
How many carbs can you eat daily on the keto diet?
You have to limit your carb consumption to 50 grams or less. You also have to ensure you get enough of the right macronutrients.
You should get 70-80 percent of your daily calories from fat, 10-20 percent of your calories from protein, and just 5 to 10 calories from carbs.
How can you eat low-carbs on a vegetarian diet?
While you can eat more carbs than 50 grams on a vegetarian diet, you should try to stay around this amount on a vegetarian keto diet as it will put your body into a state of ketosis.
This is when your body starts using its fat reserves for energy, which helps you to lose weight.
What can vegans do to enter a state of ketosis?
Since vegans don’t eat any animal products at all – even eggs, dairy, and foods such as honey are eliminated – they have to ensure that they consume a large amount of high-fat plant-based foods. This will help them to enter ketosis.
If you’re vegetarian but you want to add the keto diet to your eating plan, or you’re already keto but you want to stop eating meat, the vegetarian keto diet is worth considering.
While it encourages weight loss, you should be careful when following it. It’s easy to lack important nutrients on this diet, so you have to know what healthy foods to add to your daily eating plan.
In this article, we’ve given you important information to know about the keto vegetarian diet, how to start it, what foods to eat, and what foods to restrict for better health.