A Vegan’s Guide to Fitness and Health

Vegan Keto Diet | What My Clients Know That You Need to Know

Should I try a vegan keto diet to lose this weight? This is a question I have heard from my clients often as of late. So often, I dug into the research on this new fad of keto dieting to give my two cents on this latest diet craze.

You have likely heard of the keto diet by now. Likely, you’ve heard of a diet that is high in fat, high in protein, low in carbs.  As a vegan, you may question the health benefit of eating so much meat. For example. research has consistently shown high intakes of meat increasing risk of many diseases (Harvard Health).

So, my clients ask: would a vegan keto diet have the same weight loss benefit, without the risk? 

First, her is the scoop on keto dieting……

What is Keto?

The Ketogenic Diet, or Keto as it is known, is a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat. While it seems counterintuitive, there are proven health benefits to this type of diet. For example, the keto diet may fight diabetes, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease

When you replace carbs with fat in your diet, your body becomes ultra-efficient at fat burning.

There are different types of keto diets. The difference in each is the percentage of carbs, proteins, and fats you allow into your diet. In general, you will find something like this for a keto diet:

  • 70-80% of calories from fat
  • 15-30% calories from protein
  • 5% calories from carbohydrates

You might think this is slightly problematic for vegans, and you would be right. A vegan keto diet would restrict nutrient rich foods like vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, and fruits, all of which are staples in the vegan diet.

Non-vegan keto dieters would add animal protein in place of these items.

So, is vegan keto a good, healthy diet option?

Vegan Keto Foods -squash and salad


What does the Keto Diet Do?

The Keto diet puts your body into a state called Ketosis. In fact, ketogenic comes from the term Ketosis, for using fat for fuel instead of carbs.

First, fats break down into ketones. Next, you can measure these ketones in your urine. Finally, your body is in ketosis when measurable amounts of ketones are in the urine.  

You can also achieve ketosis through fasting, whereby your body will start to burn fat for energy.

What Foods Can You Eat on a Vegan Keto Diet?

Below is a sample list of foods you would avoid on a vegan keto diet:

  • Sugar
  • Grains
  • Rice
  • Breads
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Sugary sauces
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Most fruits
  • Nuts high in carbs such as cashews and pistachios
Steaming Hot Bowl of Vegan Mac and Cheese

What Foods Should you Eat on a Vegan Keto Diet?

As you are restricting high carb foods, you will be looking to add high protein and high fat vegan foods. These could include:

  • Tofu
  • Chia seeds, hemp hearts and flax seeds
  • Almond butter
  • Avocado
  • Coconut milk/oil
  • Protein Powder

As always with a vegan diet, you will want to ensure you are getting key nutrients in your diet. See our related articles Vegan Protein and Key nutrients for a vegan diet for more information.

Tofu Complete vegan protein

Pros and Cons

In general, here are my pros and cons for a vegan keto diet:

Pros                                                                         Cons

Fit female bodybuilder

Protein intake on a Vegan Keto Diet

Another area to be aware of is your protein intake. This diet will require you to still vary your protein sources, while avoiding those with high carb content. Seitan, hemp seeds, tofu and protein powders offer a lower carb ratio. See our related article on Vegan Protein Sources for some ideas.

I would highly recommend working with your health care professionals to ensure you are getting adequate sources of protein and other nutrients. We have some excellent information on the best way (we think) to lose weight as a vegan, and the top supplements and nutrients you should be aware of as a vegan while losing weight and shredding.

Man doing pull-ups

Vegan Keto Diet? Would I Recommend This to my Clients?

My final verdict – no, I would not recommend a keto diet to my clients. Unfortunately, a vegan keto diet is more a fad than friend. It carries a lot of risk in causing issues with organs in the body, is not friendly with certain medications, and hard to sustain. For example, a banana, slice of bread of even one apple could put you over the carb allowance for the day on a strict keto diet.

In my opinion, the use of plant-based and whole foods is more effective if the intent is to lose weight and be healthy are your main goals. There are so many ways to incorporate a solid weight-loss plan into your diet as a vegan

Ultimately, unless the keto diet is recommended by your health-care professionals, steer clear, and stick to a sustainable, healthy way of eating.


Scott @ Veganfitllama

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