Curious about whether the ketogenic diet could help you achieve your goals but are afraid of busy counting macros and calories every day? Then a "lazy keto diet" could be ideal for you.
This approach mainly focuses on limiting carbohydrate intake while allowing more flexibility in the amount of fat and protein you eat. While this type of diet may not help you get into nutritional ketosis as easily as a stricter keto diet, many find it can still pay off, resulting in weight loss and other benefits.
1. What is lazy keto?
Just like a traditional ketogenic diet (TKD), the lazy keto diet is a high-fat, very low-carbohydrate diet that is less strict overall. The diet's goal is still to consume around 20 grams of net carbohydrates per day or less, but it doesn't place as much emphasis on eating a certain amount of protein or fat each day as compared to a TKD.
Because carefully counting macronutrients (your "keto macros") each day during TKD can be difficult and tedious for some people, lazy keto is a good alternative when weight loss and other benefits are desired but is very restrictive and detail-oriented not realistic.
2. Lazy keto versus Dirty keto
What is the difference between dirty and lazy keto? A "dirty keto" diet describes a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that contains a decent amount of processed foods. For example, foods like processed meats like salami and bacon, poor quality cheese and butter, and refined oils can provide a large portion of a person's daily calories during a dirty keto diet.
When someone eats dirty, they usually just focus on minimizing their carbohydrate intake, but are not intentionally adding healthy, nutritious foods like vegetables to their diet. A "clean keto diet" is the opposite of a dirty, low-carb diet, prioritizing whole foods like non-starchy vegetables, herbs, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat, and so on.
Lazy keto, on the other hand, isn't necessarily an unhealthy diet. It is not "lazy" because the person following the diet eats tons of convenient junk foods, but rather that they are not carefully tracking their intake of fat and protein.
Can You Still Lose Weight On Dirty Keto? This is possible because even a dirty, low-carb diet can decrease your appetite, and therefore your calorie intake. Protein and fat tend to be very filling, so many people find that they eat less when they eliminate carbohydrates and sugars from their diet.
However, this doesn't give you the green light to forget about the overall quality of the food you are eating.
3. Benefits of Lazy keto
1. Can help you lose weight
For example, suppose you aren't eating a junk food keto eater and you get most of your calories from keto fats. Then weight loss is definitely still possible even if you let up a bit in tracking your food intake. Since any type of low-carb, high-fat diet is usually filling and less hungry, it may be easier to consume fewer calories.
However, remember that using the keto diet for weight loss is most likely if you are following a clean version. So focus on eating real whole foods.
2. Less restrictive, more accessible and easier to start
Starting a lazy keto diet can be less overwhelming and flexible than a traditional keto diet, which means you may be more willing to give it a try. Since it requires a little less mental energy and commitment, it also seems easier to maintain, which leads to more favorable results in the long run.
3. May lead to other health improvements
Because lazy keto is low in carbohydrates, especially sugar and refined grains, diet can help improve many health traits - like blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, body weight, blood pressure, etc.
Of course, it all really depends on the quality of your diet. If you are on a clean keto diet that emphasizes lots of low-carb, anti-inflammatory foods (like vegetables, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, and avocado), the chances are you will get additional benefits much higher than weight loss.
4. Grocery list
What to Eat on Lazy Keto In short, the lazy keto diet is a very low-carb diet, which means that foods like meat, fish, eggs, healthy oils, and non-starchy vegetables should provide the majority of your calories. Here is a more detailed list of low-carb keto foods:
Healthy fats, including MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, avocado, and fats naturally found in meat, eggs, and fish.
High quality sources of protein such as pasture eggs and poultry, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish and full-fat cheese
Non-starchy, low-carb vegetables like leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, peppers, herbs, etc.
Fresh or dried herbs and spices.
Unsweetened keto beverages, including water, seltzer, low-sugar green juices, coffee, tea, or herbal tea.
Monk fruit or stevia extract instead of sugar to satisfy cravings for sweetness.
5. What you CANNOT eat on the keto diet?
- Grains and products made from wheat / cereal flour
- Most fruits (berries can be eaten in small quantities)
- Legumes / beans
- Added sugars of all kinds
- All desserts
- Sweetened dairy products
- Soda, juices, and other sweetened drinks
- Most starchy vegetables such as potatoes, beets, and butternut squash.
Recall from above that a dirty keto diet doesn't differentiate between healthy, unprocessed fats and those known to be flammable. Avoid things like highly refined vegetable oils, rinds, bacon, sausage, and processed cheese to get the most benefit from your diet.
6. Meal Plan
Now that you know what foods to include in lazy keto meals, let's take a look at a sample lazy keto diet plan:
Breakfast: Eggs boiled in oil or butter with sauteed vegetables and sliced avocado. Another option is skipping breakfast and fasting intermittently with keto.
Lunch: Grass-fed burger with aged cheddar cheese, served over a salad with dressing and pickled vegetables.
Dinner: Wild-caught salmon, steak or chicken cooked in butter or oil, served with sautéed vegetables, cooked in more butter / oil.
Keto snacks (optional, if necessary, depending on hunger): devil eggs made from avocado, keto smoothies (made from ingredients such as collagen powder or protein powder from bone broth, cocoa and coconut milk), a handful of nuts or "keto fat bombs" with ingredients such as nuts, seeds , Cocoa powder and coconut flakes.
While you don't necessarily need to carefully monitor your food intake, here are general tips that you should keep in mind to make sure you are sticking to the correct keto macros:
- Add at least 1-2 servings of healthy fats to each meal.
- Try to consume small amounts of healthy sources of protein through-out the day.
- Eat several servings of vegetables a day, ideally with all meals.
- Read the ingredient labels carefully. This way you avoid added sugars and carbohydrates, as well as hard-to-pronounce chemical ingredients.
7. Risks and Side Effects
While not necessarily a "risk," trying the lazy keto diet can make it harder to get into ketosis and get all of the benefits of a traditional ketogenic diet. If you don't eat enough fat and consume too much protein, your body may have difficulty making ketones, which are responsible for many of the unique benefits of a high fat diet.
If you are following lazy keto and find that you are not losing weight, feeling sluggish, and overall are not seeing the results you expected, you have two options:
Instead, try a stricter, traditional keto diet. This can help you actually get into ketosis and burn fat for energy, and you can experience many other benefits associated with ketone production such as: Reduced inflammation, more energy and appetite control.
Stop following a low-carb diet and instead focus on improving the overall quality of the diet (i.e., eat more whole foods, cut out processed foods, pay attention to portion sizes, etc.).
8. Final Thoughts
What is lazy keto? It's a high-fat, low-carb diet that's a little more flexible than a traditional keto diet. It focuses on limiting carbohydrates but not counting macros otherwise.
A list of lazy keto diets includes foods like olive oil, coconut oil, free range eggs, grass-fed butter and meat, and wild-caught fish. Clean keto encourages you to eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables each day to get essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and to keep hunger at bay. Highly antioxidant foods like sea vegetables, probiotic foods like fermented vegetables, and bone broth are also recommended.
Examples of popular recipes for a lazy keto diet include: breakfast with coffee and cream, and three butter-fried eggs with sautéed vegetables; Lunch of a grass-fed burger (not a bun) with melted cheddar, vegetables, and avocado; Dinner with a protein like fish or chicken with buttered vegetables and cauliflower rice.