Vegan Keto Diet: Is it a Healthy Way of Eating?

It might seem like a contradiction to be on a vegan keto diet plan. After all, many keto advocates love their steak-and-egg dinners! Yet, the benefits of vegan dieting are innumerable.

If you’ve had the opportunity to read our Guide to the Keto Diet then you are likely up-to-speed on the merits of ketogenic dieting, which may include:

  • Support for weight loss and reducing hunger
  • Improving mental peformance (cognitive function)
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity and normalizing blood glucose levels
  • Enhancing cardiovascular function
  • Reducing the risk of cancer, possibly

Thus, it seems that a vegan keto diet would confer a synergy for longevity and overall health; but is a plant-based keto diet sustainable?

Surprisingly, a vegan keto diet is practicable if you’re willing to make some adjustments. This article will walk you through how to incorporate a plant-based keto diet into your healthy lifestyle!

Benefits of Going Vegan

Even if you currently follow a plant-based diet, you may not be completely mindful of the large body of evidence supporting its health and longevity advantages. Here’s a concise summary of the most compelling benefits of a vegan diet (and diets that are largely plant-based).

Lower risk of type-2 diabetes

In a recent research study, the relative risk of establishing type-2 diabetes in women almost doubled in those who consumed three portions of meat daily.

Furthermore, it’s well known that greater consumption of veggies, fruits, and foods abundant in alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), such as nuts, are associated with a considerably reduced risk of insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes.

This makes a plant-based ketogenic diet even sounder, given the heavy concentration on nuts and veggies.

Healthier cholesterol and blood lipid profiles

Many research studies demonstrate that consuming 6-10 portions of veggies and fruits daily considerably decreases high blood pressure. Moreover, vegans don’t just have a lower rate of high blood pressure than those who regularly consume meat, but also other vegetarians.

Blood lipid profiles and cholesterol tend to also be healthier for people who follow a plant-based diet. Of specific note is that soy consumption appears to significantly lower LDL (aka “bad”) cholesterol and reduce the risk of CVD. This is fantastic news for the keto vegan diet, which includes oodles of greens and soy.

Better heart health and blood pressure

A recent meta-analysis of five research studies – including over 75,000 males and females – reveals that vegans are at a 25% lower risk of heart disease (CVD) than routine meat eaters. This was the risk differential after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and factors such as tobacco and alcohol usage.

Astonishingly, if you were to follow a vegan diet for your whole life, it’s approximated you would be 60% less likely to develop CVD than someone who regularly eats meat.

Reduced risk of cancer

Determining the risk of developing cancer is a complex task due to the multitude of factors that play into this disease. However, epidemiologic research studies consistently demonstrate that veggies, fruits, and fiber all considerably reduce the risk of developing cancer (even tobacco-related cancers).

For women specifically, a plant-based keto diet appears to be a great approach for lowering the risk of breast cancer (likely due to a greater consumption of soy foods).

Furthermore, one research study found that females who ate 100 grams of meat daily were at a 60% greater risk of developing breast cancer than those on a plant-based diet.

Avoiding Nutrient Deficiency on a Keto Vegan Diet

While the keto vegan diet plan may appear the like finest method of consuming for total health and durability, there are a couple of things to think about prior to you begin.

Focus on soy, walnuts, and flaxseed consumption

Your body requires essential fatty acids (EFAs) to operate effectively and maintain healthy organ function, especially the brain and heart.

For vegans, it can be tricky to meet the recommended amount of one specifically crucial EFA – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is primarily found in fish and egg yolks.

However, ALA (another EFA) helps your body in converting docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to EPA. As noted earlier, nuts and lentils tend to be dense sources of ALA. Specifically, walnuts, soy nuts, and flaxseeds have abundant amounts of ALA and should be a part of your daily plant-based keto diet.

Protein, calcium, and vitamin D are crucial

Naturally, you will not be consuming any dairy or animal products on the vegan keto diet. This suggests you are going to be susceptible to low intake of crucial amino acids, vitamin D, and calcium that your body normally requires for repairing tissues, particularly your skin and bone.

Research consistently demonstrates that vegans have considerably lower bone density than non-vegans, and this is tied to insufficient protein and calcium consumption. Likeiwse, vegans appear to lack vitamin D, which further exacerbates the health ramifications of low protein and calcium intake.

To avoid such deficiencies, your keto vegan diet should include ample micronutrient-rich veggies, protein, and soy-based foods, as they will help you get the nutrients you require for promoting bone health and lean tissue synthesis.

Ensuring zinc and iron bioavailability

Both iron and zinc are connected with lessened bioavailability in vegan diet plans, generally due to chemicals called phytates (which are found primarily in nuts and beans).

An easy workaround to enhance the bioavailability of zinc and iron you consume on the vegan keto diet is to supplement with vitamin C, which reverses the inhibitory action of phytates on these minerals.

Best Foods for a Vegan Keto Diet Meal Plan

The following section includes our food recommendations for a vegan keto diet meal plan! The list is divided into different food groupings which help you easily identify which foods are best for the vegan keto diet. Print it out and take it to the supermarket if you need!

It’s prudent that you monitor your serving sizes so you reach the calorie and macronutrient goals of your vegan ketogenic diet.

If you’re uncertain of what your calorie and macronutrient quotas should be on a plant-based keto diet, then head over to our quick and accurate keto macro calculator.

We also strongly encourage that you use a calorie/macronutrient-tracking app, such as MyFitnessPal or MyDailyPlate; these will help ensure you’re staying on track with your diet.

Just search for foods from the vegan keto diet food recommendations listed below in the database of the app you’re using to track your food intake (and be sure to enter the correct serving sizes).

Vegan Keto Diet Food Recommendations

Protein Sources

    • Tempeh (be careful as this contains carbs)
  • Vegan protein powders (soy, brown rice, pea, etc.)

Fat Sources

    • Whole olives 
    • Sesame seed oil
    • Nut butter varieties (soynut, cashew, walnut, almond, peanut, etc.)
    • Walnut oil
    • Macadamia nut oil
    • Flaxseeds & flaxseed oil
    • Olive oil
    • Coconut oil/coconut flakes/coconut milk
  • Avocados & avocado oil

High-Fiber Vegetables

Related: Top 10 High-Fiber, Low-Carb Foods on The Keto Diet

    • Water chestnuts
    • Sauerkraut
    • Sea plants
    • Sprouts
    • Leafy greens
    • Kimchi
    • Cucumber
    • Celery
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli
    • Broccolini
  • Asparagus

Lower-Carb Fruits

    • Kiwi
    • Berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.)
  • Grapefruit

Liquids

    • Unsweetened herbal tea
    • Black coffee & espresso
    • Natural-flavor sparkling water
  • Mineral water

No-Sugar Sweeteners

    • Erythritol
    • Xylitol
  • Stevia

Related: The Top Four Sweeteners for a Low Carb Keto Diet

Toppings and Condiments

    • Spices & Herbs (cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, thyme, cilantro, etc.)
    • Soy sauce
    • Lemon juice and lime juice
    • Mustard (brown, spicy, dijon, etc.)
    • Flavored extracts (vanilla, orange, chocolate, etc.)
  • Hot pepper sauce (sriracha, Tobasco, etc.)
  • Vinegar, unsweetened varieties (apple cider, balsamic, red wine, rice, etc.)

Take-Home Points

It’s readily apparent that a plant-based keto diet is both practical and beneficial (especially for females) if you are consuming the right foods to make up for possible nutrient deficiencies. Deriving from the research covered in this article, benefits of  the vegan keto diet may include:

  • Support for healthy weight loss
  • Improved heart health and metabolic function
  • Better insulin sensitivity and blood glucose balance
  • Reduced risk of cancer (particularly breast cancer for females)
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes

There are also eco-conscious and ethical advantages to a plant-based keto diet, but those tend to be more personal, philosophical, and political aspects to vegan dieting. 

All in all, whatever reason(s) you choose to follow a vegan keto diet, it’s a choice you really can’t go wrong with for longevity purposes. 

More Readings:

Is The Keto Diet Healthy? The Truth Might Surprise You…

Nutritional Labels for Keto: Everything You Need to Know

Low Carb Vs. Keto Diet: What’s the Difference?

Tofu: A Popular Vegan Option But Is It Keto Friendly?

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Elliot received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and has been a freelance writer specializing in nutritional and health sciences for the past 5 years. He is thoroughly passionate about exercise, nutrition, and dietary supplementation, especially how they play a role in human health, longevity, and performance. In his free time you can most likely find him lifting weights at the gym or out hiking through the mountains of Colorado. He will also host the upcoming BioKeto podcast. You can connect with him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/elliot.reimers) and Instagram (@eazy_ell)

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