Keto diet for vegans

flouis6944 Posts: 1 Member
edited March 30 in Food and Nutrition
What would be an alternative or potential plans for a vegan who wants to do keto? Is it even possible ?


  • neanderthin
    neanderthin Posts: 8,920 Member
    edited March 31
    What makes the vegan diet even remotely healthy is getting enough essential vitamins and minerals from the plant foods your restricted too, and even then, supplementation and a well designed diet is required so removing almost all carbs and protein for that matter and replacing these with (plant fats in isolation) vegetable oils is probably not going to be in your best interest. I suggest you do a deep dive into both the vegan diet and the ketogenic diet before you give it a go. Cheers
  • tomcustombuilder
    tomcustombuilder Posts: 690 Member
    flouis6944 wrote: »
    What would be an alternative or potential plans for a vegan who wants to do keto? Is it even possible ?
    Why do you want to do KETO, especially as a vegan?
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 28,190 Member
    edited March 31
    Up-front bias admission: I've been vegetarian for 48+ years, so I know a lot about plant-based eating, but I'm not vegan. I'm also not low carb or keto, and wouldn't choose that route myself. (I didn't find it necessary in order to lose 50+ pounds, don't find it necessary to stay at a healthy weight, don't have any of the health conditions that can make managing carb intake necessary or helpful. In year 7 of weight maintenance, I eat 200g+ carbs most days. (It was more like 150 during the fastest weight loss, at lower calories.))

    Combining fully plant-based eating with keto is IMO going to be a hard route, but some people do it. It's hard to find references on the web that aren't . . . well, more advocacy-oriented, true-believer type stuff, vs. evidence based. That's true about fully plant-based/vegan eating in the first place, and adding a second trendy element (like keto) makes it even harder. (For clarity: To me, "trendy" doesn't mean bad or wrong. It just means much-trumpeted, with a lot of fuzzy thinking around it by some of the popularizers, making it hard to sort out the real pros and cons.)

    So, I share the question above: Why do you want to be vegan? Why do you want to be keto?

    Neither of those is IMO necessarily a path to better health. Details matter.

    I routinely discourage people from being vegetarian or vegan unless their motivation includes ethical or moral concerns. It isn't IMO inherently healthier, and it certainly doesn't magically result in weight management for any and all. (I do think that the average person would benefit from increasing intake of plant foods, though.)

    As far as adding keto, that's a harder (more restrictive) route all on its own, without adding it to fully plant-based eating. Some people find it helps them manage appetite, and if so, it can be worth doing. Some people have health conditions that make it useful, and if so, it can be worth doing.

    Many foods that I choose as a vegetarian are not going to be very accessible for someone pursuing keto. Legumes are a prime example. I think beans, peas, etc., are nutritious and delicious, and they bring along some protein and good fiber, as well as micronutrients. They're not going to be a great choice on keto.

    I personally prefer to get 10+ servings daily of varied, colorful veggies and fruits, and I'd find it hard to get the variety and amount I prefer at a very low carb intake. I enjoy veggies like sweet potatoes, corn, parsnips, etc., and think they're nutritious. I eat 3+ servings of fruit daily, don't want to stop, and also think fruit is nutritious and delicious, but the types that are low carb are limited. I don't want to give up or reduce apples, citrus fruits, mangoes, prunes, etc.

    On top of that, as a recreational athlete, I find carbs helpful in managing my energy level, and carbs can be protein-sparing besides, something that may be especially helpful for those of us who get a lot of our protein from plants.

    So, yes, vegan keto is possible. But what benefits do you hope to gain from it? How hard will it be for you personally, with your individual preferences and habits, to get good nutrition while combining veganism with keto levels of carb intake?
  • zenseekingmom
    zenseekingmom Posts: 2 Member
    My understanding of keto is that you don't eat carbs. Your brain needs carbs, so I don't necessarily understand the idea of zero carbs. Americans have the tendency to overdue carbs so....lo and behold..the answer is keto. So I hear keto says no potato. Well potato also has iron, vitamin a I think. We (not me, but Americans) also bought that fad that said you can eat a pound of bacon a day diet if you do the research you could probably answer your own question. What are the parameters for keto and do they require animal products to achieve the end game. Can you incorporate the veg requirements to keep carbs low but nutrition high, etc.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 28,190 Member
    In case you're not familiar with it, there's a good evidence-based vegan nutrition site (content by registered dietitians who are vegan) here:

    They don't have keto information specifically, but the information about protein and amino acid balance may give you some food for thought about the kinds of eating adjustments you might need to make in order to get overall good nutrition. To quote one passage as an example:
    It’s hard to design a vegan diet that meets lysine requirements for someone who doesn’t exercise daily without including legumes, seitan, quinoa, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds. People who exercise have higher caloric needs, making it easier to meet lysine needs through other foods.

    On this page:

    There's more, that's just an example. I'm still saying, as in my PP, that it can be done, but it makes things harder (more complicated).