The keto diet is very popular when it comes to losing weight as quickly as possible. But this diet includes mostly animal products, especially meat and fish. But is the ketogenic diet also possible for vegetarians?
In the ketogenic diet, proteins and fats are primarily consumed, carbohydrates are more likely to be spared in this diet. Due to the reduced intake of carbohydrates, the body gets the energy from the fat after a certain time (ketosis). It is therefore advisable to use animal products and, above all, meat and fish. For people on a vegetarian diet, however, this seems to be a problem. Or is it not? EAT SMARTER explains.
Watch Video: Guide to the vegetarian keto diet
1. Is a vegetarian diet possible on the keto diet?
Many people who prefer a vegetarian lifestyle but would still like to lose a few pounds on the keto diet ask themselves this question. As already mentioned, 70 percent of this form of nutrition consists of fats, which are obtained from plant foods such as nuts or avocados, but mostly from animal products such as meat, fish or milk.
But the ketogenic diet can also be practised in vegetarian form. However, before starting the keto diet, you should be aware of a few things and be adequately informed.
The vital iron, which our body needs for the formation of haemoglobin and for the transport of oxygen, is mainly found in meat. In general, the iron level should always be kept in view with a vegetarian diet and also with this form of the keto diet, as otherwise, it can lead to a deficiency. Here it is worth talking to a doctor and having the amount of iron in the body checked before and during the diet to see whether additional preparations are necessary.
When preparing fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C, you should be careful not to overheat the food, as the vitamin is not heat-resistant. It is also best to use fresh fruits and vegetables (or in frozen form).
It should also be mentioned that switching the body to ketosis (energy is obtained from fat) can cause various side effects such as muscle cramps, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings or nausea.
In principle, a vegetarian keto diet is possible, but an iron deficiency should be ruled out before beginning.
2. For whom is this form of nutrition suitable or unsuitable?
In principle, this form of nutrition is suitable for all healthy people who want to get rid of excess pounds and who prefer a vegetarian lifestyle. Nevertheless, the mentioned form of nutrition restricts the choice of food very much and does not allow spontaneous meal appointments. You should therefore be aware of the extent to which this type of diet can be integrated into your daily routine.
Another important aspect is the nutritional requirements. By avoiding both carbohydrates and meat, iron and calcium are only absorbed in small amounts. For people who already tend to have a low level of these nutrients, the vegetarian keto diet is not recommended.
Also, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not under any circumstances this dieting practice, since the fetus and young children are dependent on these nutrients. This is the only way to ensure the healthy development of the organs. Therefore, the diet should not be practised with children either.
The vegetarian version of the keto diet is also not advisable for people who do heavy physical work. Athletes, type 1 diabetes patients and people with eating disorders should also avoid this type of diet.
The keto diet for vegetarians is very restrictive and can cause some nutritional deficiencies, making it unsuitable for pregnant women and children. It is also not recommended for athletes and type 1 diabetes patients.
3. Which foods can I eat vegetarian on the keto diet?
Since carbohydrates are largely avoided in the keto diet, vegetables with a low starch content (carbohydrates) should be selected for the vegetarian variant. The same applies to fruit: only varieties with a small amount of fructose may be consumed here. The main nutrient component of fat should be absorbed through unsaturated, i.e. healthy, fatty acids. In the list below you will find all suitable foods:
- Dairy products with a high-fat content such as milk, cheese or yogurt
- Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews
- Low-carb vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, peppers, spinach, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomatoes, kale
- Low-carbohydrate fruits like lemons, limes and all kinds of berries like raspberries and blueberries
- Pecan, peanut, almond or hazelnut butter
- Flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds
- Fats and oils from avocado, olives, coconut
- Eggs, tofu, spirulina
- Herbs like basil, thyme, oregano
Foods that are low in carbohydrates such as zucchini or broccoli and foods that are high in valuable fats such as walnuts are allowed.
4. These foods should be avoided
In principle, foods rich in carbohydrates such as potatoes or legumes are not allowed in the keto diet. Even those with high sugar content (other carbohydrate form) must not be on the menu during this time. These ingredients are found primarily in processed and ready-to-eat products. These foods should be avoided:
- Carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils), rice, pasta, bread, buckwheat, quinoa, semolina, oatmeal
- Fruit with a high fructose content such as pineapples, apples, bananas, peaches, apricots, mango, cherries, oranges
- Highly processed products with a high fat and carbohydrate content in combination such as French fries, burgers (fast food)
- Sugary drinks such as soft drinks, fruit juices
- Sweetened foods such as white and brown sugar, honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, sugar beet syrup
- Alcoholic drinks such as wine, beer, sweet cocktails
- Processed products with a high sugar content such as ketchup, barbecue sauce
In particular, foods with a high sugar and carbohydrate content such as heavily processed products, but also potatoes, pasta and the like as well as fish, meat and sausage products are not allowed.
Knowledge to take away
The nutrition plan of the ketogenic diet consists mainly of animal products such as meat or fish. But a vegetarian variant is also possible. It should be noted that iron deficiency can arise if an adequate supply of nutrients is not provided.
The menu mainly consists of foods containing high-fat dairy products such as full-fat cheese or yogurt, nuts and low-carbohydrate vegetables such as broccoli or zucchini.
The vegetarian keto diet can result in side effects such as muscle cramps or mood swings due to the switch to ketosis (the body draws energy from fat instead of carbohydrates).