The scale isn't always the best marker of your results given that it doesn't tell you what type of weight you're losing -- water, lean tissue or fat. If you weight train as part of your weight-loss plan, you may actually acquire lean muscle mass, which may show up on the scale as a gain. You will notice that your clothes fit differently, and your appearance is slimmer and more taut, despite what the scale says. The results of weight training may be apparent in the first few weeks after you start the program, but visible results will slow down as your body becomes more accustomed to the routine.
“The original keto diet is extremely high in fatty meats, which is not good for our cardiovascular system,” says Melissa Bailey, RD, creator of the Nourished Fork. “The vegetarian version eliminates these meats and allows for more plant-based options, such as avocado and nuts and seeds. In general, the population is going towards a more plant-based, whole-foods diet, which is why the ketotarian diet is emerging.”
Vegetarians following the keto diet could also run the risk of becoming deficient in certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Three big ones: B12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. "B12 is largely found in animal products; heme-iron, which is most readily absorbed, is only obtained in animal products; and fish is a great source of omega-3s," explains Sharp. Unfortunately, those aren't the only elements at risk of being deficient. Zinc, an important antioxidant, most often comes from meat and poultry; calcium and vitamin D—two nutrients that are crucial for bone health—are mostly found in dairy products; and magnesium, another important nutrient for bone health (and energy) is typically ingested via grains, which are on the no-no list for vegetarian keto followers.
“Physiologically speaking, to lose weight, you have to burn more than you eat. It requires a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose a pound,” says Meg Sharp, director of personal training for the Cambridge Group of Clubs. “This can be done through either diet or exercise alone, but the human body is complicated. It’s a bit of an oversimplification that you can choose to either burn your calories or reduce their intake.”
“I love how our bodies are designed to respond to exercise. If I am willing to be consistent and work hard, I’ve learned my body can accomplish amazing things. I enjoy hard work and running as fast as I can, for as far as I can, in the most efficient way possible. Because I haven’t always enjoyed good health, I really appreciate being able to run and exercise. Each day I am able to run and be active fills me with gratitude because I personally understand how so many others aren’t as blessed.”
Processed soy-based meat substitutes (such as Boca Burgers) and protein powders are major go-to’s for people transitioning to vegan diets, but they come with a catch. A 2016 position paper published by Virginia State University explains that soy contains isoflavones, a kind of plant estrogen that can act like the female hormone in humans. While typical serving sizes (one to three of soy foods, or less than 25g of soy protein from non-concentrated sources like tofu) have not been shown to be problematic, amounts more than that (totaling around 100mg isoflavones or greater daily) could negatively impact testosterone. To our thinking, why take the risk? It may be best for a keto dieter to get the majority of his/her protein from nuts, seeds, vegetables, and supplements and less from soy products, apart from the occasional slice of tofu.
For anyone following any vegan diet, and athletes especially, the question always comes up: “How do you get enough protein?” Nelson recommends about 0.7g of protein per pound of your goal body weight as a baseline daily intake for active people—and most nutritionists recommend up to one gram per pound if you’re weight training. (Goal body weight means the amount you want to weigh—not the number that currently comes up on the scale. So, if you weigh 205 pounds but remember looking and feeling your best when you weighed 175, eat 0.7g of protein x 175, or about 120 grams daily.)