But what if a vegetarian decides to go keto? Do people risk developing deficiencies and side effects by following a vegetarian ketogenic diet? More importantly, is this type of diet even sustainable? The short answer is yes – a keto vegetarian diet can be nutritious, sustainable, and healthy when you plan it right. It can also be satisfying enough to make you stick for the long haul.
Protein - It is well documented that vegetarians supposedly lack protein sources. It is also well documented that vegetarians and vegans usually aren't deficient in protein at all. It is true, however, that vegetarian keto restricts some of the usual sources of protein for vegetarians, like beans, for example (except for these 1g net carb black soybeans).
The research on vegetarian keto diets is limited, but anecdotally speaking, MacDowell says she noticed a handful of positive changes once she started following the diet. “I found that not only did I lose weight very quickly [though in a healthy amount of time], I also noticed things like joint pain was disappearing, my digestion was normalizing, little things that I didn’t at all expect,” MacDowell says.

When enjoyed in smaller portions, there’s such a low amount of net carbs that it can be a safe way to satisfy your sweet tooth, without kicking yourself out of your body’s state of ketosis. Enjoying a few here and there throughout your day is not as harmful as one would lead you to believe. In fact, with the amazing antioxidants and nutritional benefits of raspberries, I’d encourage it!
“I was 18 years old and 230 pounds. I was unhappy and realized after my freshman year of college that I needed to change my lifestyle. I come from a family of marathoners, but in 2012 when I told everyone I wanted to run my first marathon, I was told I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it—by family, friends, and even professors in front of my whole class. I took that adversity and have run the Marine Corps Marathon five years in a row, competed in six half marathons, and lost 83 pounds along the way.”

But that doesn't mean it's going to be easy. Because, at their core, a typical vegetarian diet and a traditional keto diet contradict one another. "The essence of a vegetarian diet is healthful carbohydrates, and keto diets are very low in carbs," says Sharon Palmer, R.D.N. And depending how strict a vegetarian diet you follow, you most likely avoid all meats, poultry, and fish—the main sources of protein recommended in a typical ketogenic diet, adds Sheth. Not to mention that many plant-based protein sources, such as beans and lentils, are high in carbs—so they'd be a no-go on a vegetarian keto diet plan.


Some diets are set up to include an initial phase where you lose more weight. Atkins, South Beach and many other popular programs include a jump start for a week or two when food restriction is more intense and you lose more weight. You can lose five pounds or more per week during this initial phase. As a result, the weight loss will be noticeable sooner.
One thing you can rejoice about are hot drinks like coffee and tea. Both coffee and tea do not inherently have any sugar if made from scratch. Even coffee and tea K-cups tend not to have any sugar in them (and are, in fact, calorie free), but the other flavors of K-cups do. You can even order a black coffee at Starbucks or an Americano, which has only 3 carbs. Take a look at Starbucks’ menu organized by nutritional information too.

I think that in some recipes you can substitute it with full-fat cheese or meat but in general, it really depends on the recipe. Nutritionally, macadamia nuts are similar but they would not be suitable for most recipes as a replacement (taste-wise). You could try to build your own plan by excluding avocados (please, use the filtering tool in KetoDiet Blog: Recipes). I hope this helps!
“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’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.
With all that in mind, one thing is clear: A vegetarian keto diet has the potential to get confusing, fast. So if you're considering it, Sheth recommends meeting with a registered dietitian nutritionist to ensure that you are adequately meeting your nutritional needs. (You could also share this beginner keto-friendly meal plan with non-vegetarians.)
Instead of Butter use Coconut Oil or Vegan Butter. Coconut oil has a slightly lower melting point than butter and the same smoke point as butter, which makes it a good butter replacement. If you are not a fan of the flavor of coconut oil, look for vegan butter in your local health food store. Make sure the vegan butter doesn’t contain any hydrogenated oils because these oils increase the risk of heart disease tremendously.
A study published in The International Journal of Obesity studied 420 overweight and obese adults and found those who ate their major meal after 3 p.m. — lunch for this Spanish cohort — lost less weight than those who ate earlier in the day despite similar calorie consumption and activity levels. Scheer, who co-authored the paper with professors Marta Garaulet, believes diet-induced thermogenesis, the increased energy expenditure after food intake, could be the reason for the results.

Common side effects of Saxenda® include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headache, vomiting, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), decreased appetite, upset stomach, tiredness, dizziness, stomach pain, and changes in enzyme (lipase) levels in your blood. Nausea is most common when first starting Saxenda®, but decreases over time in most people as their body gets used to the medicine. Tell your health care professional if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
One of the coolest things that intermittent fasting does is trigger a phenomenon in your body called autophagy. Autophagy is a process in which your body recycles and consumes its own cells and proteins in a healthy manner. Often it means that damaged cells are turned into energy for your body, which is the equivalent of cleaning out the depths of your kitchen cupboards. For more on this check out this article.
Dr. Axe recommends getting no more than 20 percent of your daily calories from plant-based sources of proteins, since eating too much protein will interfere with ketosis. “Most beans and legumes will contribute too many carbs to your diet and too little protein,” he says. “The best sources of low-carb protein are plant-based protein powders (like hemp, brown rice, or pea protein) and fermented soy products like tempeh.” Other plant-based sources of protein in your diet can include nutritional yeast, nuts and seeds, and even vegetables.
These keto cookie recipes are all designed to use coconut or almond flour (some are even flourless!) so you don't have to worry about converting recipes. And these recipes use keto-friendly low carb sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit—or baking blends like these substitutes for white sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar. And of course, the chocolate chip cookies use no sugar added chocolate chips.
“Like many—and I know this dates me—Oprah was my original inspiration. However, the sense of accomplishment running gives me is my fuel. It is far more to me than a calorie burner, a meditation, or even a chance for alone time. It is now necessary to be my best--energized, focused, connected to my city, my dogs, and myself. (Here’s why you should try meditating while running, and how to do it.)”
This is going to be tough, but always ask your server for help. Usually they’ll be more than happy to help you find what you need (especially since they’re expecting a tip). Look out for side/garnishing sauces or glazes, many of which will contain a lot of sugar. Most restaurants have their nutritional information online somewhere, so take a look at their options online before you go or on your phone while you’re there.
You might be wondering why we calculate net carbs instead of total carbs. The reason is simply because our bodies don't transform fiber into sugar the way they do for other carbs. In actuality, some keto experts say that even having too many carbs from fiber can knock you out of ketosis. In order to get around the carb rules, some companies make keto food using sugar alcohols, which don't fall under the sugar or the dietary fiber categories.

Sugars and processed carbs have an interesting effect on your hunger. The sharp rise in blood glucose causes your body to release tons of insulin, causing your blood sugar to then dramatically drop. This "sugar crash" leaves your body telling you that you need more energy, since your blood sugar is low. Carbs make you hungrier. This leads to a very dangerous cycle of overeating that can lead to prediabetes and insulin resistance.
Protein is likewise a large challenge. “Since the keto weight loss program is counting on protein and fats for your calorie consumption, you are slicing out many of the entire proteins you would be achieving — say from legumes and grains — on a normal vegetarian food plan,” Mass says. “On a keto weight-reduction plan, this supply of whole proteins is now basically eliminated.” Protein is critical to help the frame build bones, muscle tissues, and pores and skin, in line with Medline Plus.
The health benefits of vegan and vegetarian diets are well-documented; in fact, cutting meat out of your diet has been linked to many health benefits, including a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. (5) Plus, just like regular keto, vegan keto results in some pretty impressive benefits as well, ranging from increased weight loss to improved heart health. (6)

The vegetarian diet is commonly regarded as one of the healthiest diets for humanity. Many studies have found that vegetarian diets reduce the likelihood of prevalent diseases like heart disease and diabetes and improve health more than the average non-vegetarian diet. However, this doesn’t mean that the vegetarian diet is the best diet for everyone’s health.


I’ve never worked with a personal trainer and had quite a few fears. I was afraid it would hurt to lift weights. I was afraid that I would develop big muscles. I was afraid that I would need to work out constantly to lose weight. I was afraid that I would never eat the things that I enjoyed. Well, none of these fears came true. Samantha helped me put everything together and calmed my fears.

According to a new Cornell University study, people who ate smaller, portion-controlled lunches consumed about 250 calories less per day (that’s about two pounds a month) than those who ate as much as they wanted. Portion control doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry. Reward yourself with a snack for sticking to smaller meals, which can help shave off pounds without major sacrifice.


Opt for low-carb and high-fat vegetables whenever possible. There's a range of low-carb fruit you can enjoy on your vegetarian ketogenic diet. You can also find a few high-fat examples with avocado being the most notable. Make sure to track your carb intake when making meals with these as it's easy to go overboard with carbs on a vegetarian ketogenic diet.
Warning: It is a good idea, with both these, to see how your body reacts to them. If you start feeling more sensitive to the cold, battle with constipation or very dry skin, you should limit consumption and possibly consider taking an iodine supplement. Soy might impair the functioning of your thyroid. It is wise to look for an organic source for all your soy products.
While grains and legumes are not allowed on keto, low-carb vegetables definitely are. You need to eat at least 3 servings of vegetables a day to meet your daily needs for vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Vegetables are also rich in health-benefiting phytochemicals that research shows reduce your risk of heart attack, cancer, and cognitive decline [6]. Examples of low-carb vegetables are:
It’s worth noting that while the ketogenic diet has many merits that extend beyond purely the weight loss benefits, at 8fit, we believe in well-rounded, balanced eating rooted in fresh, unprocessed whole foods. That’s why you’ll notice that even though we do have vegetarian and vegan options in our in our 8fit app recipe book at this point in time, this doesn’t include a vegetarian keto diet meal plan option. However, if you sign up for 8fit, you can create your personalized plan by reducing the carbs in your diet through the exclusion option in your onboarding. It’ll allow you to cut out high-carb foods from your meal plan, such as grains, pasta, and high-carb veggies. You’ll end up with low-carb recipes that are easy to cook and even easier to eat.
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