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.
“What is a keto diet?” you might ask. The keto diet plan involves eating lots of fat, a modest amount of protein, and tiny amounts of carbohydrates and sugar. Following a keto diet plan will eventually bring your body into a state of ketosis, where your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. This supports quick, but safe and healthy, weight loss!
In contrast to the typical, animal based keto diet with it’s high fat levels, a typical vegan diet often consists of a significant portion of grains and high calorie carbohydrates, often with a high carbohydrate to fat ratio. If we’re going to adapt a vegan diet to be keto friendly we need to really up our intake of a selection of higher fat vegetables etc. and cut down on carb heavy ones. Avocados and nuts are great sources of healthy fats to include along with nut and olive oils, and coconut (For more avocado recipes try this round up for some great ideas).
“There is no secret. The only thing that I did differently was stay committed. I made a promise to myself not to give up and even when I wanted to quit, or when I messed up I just kept pushing. I took on a low-carb diet and started to run consistently. I also joined a weight loss clinic named Transform Institute, which gave me the tools and support that I needed.”
If you follow these steps but don’t feel your best, you may benefit from paying attention to which nutrients you could be deficient in. Click on the button below to see the appendix on specific nutrients that can be an issue for keto vegetarians. But remember that if you feel good and are eating a range of nutrient-dense foods, you probably don’t need to worry about specific micronutrients. Simple does the trick!
If you’re interested in finding out what nutrients you actually might be needing more of based on your age, body, activity levels, etc., check out this calculator from the US Department of Agriculture. However, vegetarians have been known to lack nutrients including but not limited to iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D (read more about deficiencies below). While supplements for these deficiencies are fairly easy to get, you should check with a doctor to make sure you need them before purchasing.
Still, Mass is hesitant to recommend this way of eating. “I don’t see many benefits to going keto vegetarian,” she says. The major concern is nutritional deficiencies. As Medline Plus notes, vegetarians already are at risk of being deficient in vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. Keto then puts more restrictions in place, further increasing the likelihood of being deficient in some of these nutrients. For example, breakfast cereals, which are usually rich in vitamin B12, are not allowed on keto.
Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., one of the world’s foremost ketogenic diet researchers and founder of ketonutrition.org, agrees. “I generally avoid soy isolate and soy milk,” he says. “But I don’t think this is a major concern unless you are consuming large amounts of soy.” Note that fermented soy products—such as soy sauce and tempeh—don’t pose the same risk, and can, therefore, be eaten more liberally.
This way of consuming is hard to stay with because it combines two restrictive diets. Mass believes the dangers outweigh the advantages. But if making a decision to attempt it, Mass cautions to technique the food regimen cautiously, preferably below the guidance of a certified registered dietitian who will let you select your ingredients strategically and ensure you are supplementing the weight loss program in which wanted. Mass also shows lowering your carb intake regularly instead of going complete-blown vegetarian keto overnight so you don’t completely surprise your device. Finally "fake" weight loss results aren't just a problem of water fasting. Most quick weight loss diets on the market today take advantage of this as well.