The Risks and Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet as a Vegetarian

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The Risks and Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet as a Vegetarian

 Even though it's difficult, it's safe to say that following the keto diet as a vegetarian is doable. Is it, however, healthy? And does it result in weight loss?

That is conditional. According to Mass, going keto could be beneficial and lead to better blood sugar control if it motivates an unhealthy vegetarian to clean up his or her carb game. Furthermore, she claims that switching from a pasta-heavy diet to one rich in vegetables and healthy fats will help someone lose weight. However, for vegetarians who already eat relatively clean and rely on healthy carbs like quinoa and oats — which are restricted on the keto diet — to help them feel full, a low-carb keto diet may be overly restrictive.

The research on vegetarian keto diets is limited, but MacDowell claims she noticed a number of positive changes after starting the diet. "I discovered that not only did I lose weight very quickly [though in a healthy amount of time], but I also noticed things like joint pain disappearing, my digestion normalizing, and other little things that I didn't expect at all," MacDowell says.

Preliminary research has also linked the keto diet to certain diseases such as diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Obesity and Eating Disorders in September 2016 discovered that the presence of ketones in the blood can lower HbA1c levels, possibly by Ketone bodies reduce glucose metabolism and so help patients with type 2 diabetes.

 Is the Ketogenic Diet Effective for Type 2 Diabetes?

Mass, on the other hand, is hesitant to recommend this way of eating. "I don't see many benefits to going keto vegetarian," she says. The main source of concern is nutritional deficiency. Vegetarians are already at risk of deficiency in vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein, according to Medline Plus. Keto then imposes additional restrictions, increasing the likelihood of deficiency in some of these nutrients. Breakfast cereals, for example, which are typically high in vitamin B12, are not permitted on the keto diet.

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