Is it possible to do the keto diet as a vegetarian? A Beginner's Guide 2022
The keto diet is very popular for losing weight as quickly as possible.
However, this diet consists largely of animal products, particularly meat and fish. But is the ketogenic diet also possible for vegetarians?
In the ketogenic diet, proteins and fats are primarily ingested; carbohydrates are more likely to be left out of this diet.
Because of the reduced intake of carbohydrates, the body gets energy from the fat (ketosis) after a certain time. It is therefore advisable to use animal products and above all meat and fish.
Is a vegetarian diet possible on the keto diet?
- Many people who prefer a vegetarian lifestyle probably asked this question but would still like to lose a few pounds on the keto diet. As already mentioned, 70 percent of this form of nutrition consists of fats, which are supplied both through plant foods such as nuts or avocados, but mostly through animal products such as meat, fish, or milk.
- But they can also practice the ketogenic diet in vegetarian form. However, before you start the keto diet vegetarian, you should consider a few things and get enough information.
- Meat in particular contains the vital iron that our body needs for the formation of hemoglobin and for transporting oxygen. In general, with a vegetarian diet and also with this form of the keto diet, the iron level should always be kept in mind, otherwise, a deficiency can occur. This is where it pays to talk to a doctor and have your body's iron levels checked before and during the diet to see if supplements are necessary.
- When preparing fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C, you should be careful not to heat the food for too long, as the vitamin is not heat-stable. It's also best if fresh (or frozen) fruits and vegetables are used.
- It should also be mentioned that when the body switches to ketosis (energy is obtained from fat), various side effects such as muscle cramps, sleep disorders, fatigue, mood swings, or nausea can occur.
In principle, a keto diet in vegetarian form is possible, but iron deficiency should be ruled out before starting.
For whom is this diet suitable or unsuitable?
- In principle, this form of nutrition is suitable for all healthy people who want to get rid of excess pounds and prefer a vegetarian lifestyle.
- The diet mentioned restricts the choice of food very much and does not allow for spontaneous dinner dates. Thus, you should know how easily this type of diet can be integrated into your daily routine.
- Another important aspect is nutritional needs. Iron and calcium are only absorbed in small amounts when you avoid both carbohydrates and meat.
- The vegetarian keto diet is therefore not recommended for people who have low levels of these nutrients, anyway.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should under no circumstances practice this form of nutrition either, as the fetus and young children depend on these nutrients.
- This is the only way to ensure healthy organ development. Therefore, the diet should not be practiced with children.
- For people who do heavy physical work, the vegetarian variant of the keto diet is also not advisable. Athletes, type 1 diabetes patients, and people with eating disorders should also avoid such a diet.
The vegetarian keto diet is highly restrictive and can create some nutritional deficiencies, making it unsuitable for pregnant women and children. Athletes and type 1 diabetes patients are also advised not to use it.
What foods can I eat vegetarian on the keto diet?
Since they largely avoided carbohydrates in the keto diet, the vegetarian variant should primarily include vegetables that have a low starch content (carbohydrates).
The same applies I may consume fruit-only varieties with a small amount of fructose. The main nutrient component, fat, should primarily be ingested via unsaturated, i.e. healthy, fatty acids.
In the following list 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, cashew nuts
- Low carb vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, peppers, spinach, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomatoes, kale
- Low-carb fruits like lemons, limes, and all 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 with a low carbohydrate content such as zucchini or broccoli and foods with a high proportion of valuable fats such as walnuts are permitted.
We should avoid these foods
In principle, carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes or legumes are not allowed on the keto diet. Even those with a high sugar content (another form of carbohydrate) should not be on the menu during this time. Someone mainly found these ingredients in processed and ready-to-eat products.
I should avoid these foods:
- Carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils), rice, pasta, bread, buckwheat, quinoa, semolina, oatmeal
- Fruits with a high fructose content such as pineapples, apples, bananas, peaches, apricots, mangoes, cherries, oranges
- Heavily processed products with a high fat and carbohydrate content in combination such as fries, burgers (fast food)
- Sugary drinks such as soft drinks, fruit juices
- Sweetening foods such as white and brown sugar, honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, cane syrup
- Alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and sweet cocktails
- Products with high sugar content, such as ketchup and barbecue sauce
Above all, foods with 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 permitted.
What to remember
- The ketogenic diet consists primarily of animal products such as meat or fish. However, a vegetarian version is also possible.
- It should be noted that an iron deficiency can develop if an adequate supply of nutrients is not provided.
- The menu mainly consists of foods containing fatty dairy products such as full-fat cheese or yogurt, nuts, and low-carbohydrate vegetables such as broccoli or zucchini.
- The vegetarian keto diet can cause side effects such as muscle cramps or mood swings due to the switch to ketosis (the body draws energy from fat instead of carbohydrates).