The ketogenic (commonly shortened to just keto) diet is a well-known dieting technique practiced all over the world by people wanting to lose weight and remain healthy. It is a low-carb and high-fat diet that is known to have many health benefits. Over the years, many variations have emerged of the keto diet, one of which is the lazy keto diet. This popular diet is usually used for achieving weight loss and is designed in a manner that is easier to follow than the original keto diet. We take a closer look at what is lazy keto and what are the benefits and downsides of this popular dieting method.
What is Lazy Keto?
The original classic keto diet involved calculating and strictly watching your intake of calories, fat, carbs, and protein for achieving ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state during which the body starts to primarily burn fat for energy.(1)
Lazy keto, on the other hand, is much less restrictive than the original ketogenic diet, and all you need to do in this method of dieting is to pay attention to your overall carb intake.
The original keto diet came into existence in the 1920s as a medical approach for the treatment of epilepsy.(2) Recently, though, many variations of the keto diet, including the lazy keto, have become popular and part of mainstream medical strategies for losing weight.(3)
The traditional format of the keto diet required you to monitor and track your macronutrient intake and also follow a strict high fat and very low carb eating guidelines that only included moderate to little amounts of protein. The intention of the diet is to bring the body to a state of ketosis, as described above. This state of ketosis was said to help treat the condition of epilepsy.(4) (5) However, in the years that followed the introduction of the keto diet, there are many misunderstandings that have become associated with this dieting technique.(6)
Most of the variations of the ketogenic diet that have emerged focus on less restrictive guidelines for following the diet. Similar to these variations, the lazy keto also drastically limits your intake of carbohydrates, restricting it to around just 5 to 10 percent of your total daily calories, or only between 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day for most people following the diet.(7)
At the same time, though, you are free from the hassle of having to closely track your protein, fat, or calorie intake while you are following the lazy keto diet.
What are the Health Benefits of Lazy Keto?
Many studies have been done on the different versions of the keto diet. These studies indicate that these variations of the diet actually offer many potential health benefits. However, the potential health benefits of the lazy keto diet have not been researched specifically.
For example, there are many studies that have found that keto diets help weight loss, even more than other diets that focus on having low-fat foods.
A study done by the Universidade Federal de Alagoas in Brazil in 2013 compared very low carb keto diet versus a low-fat diet to observe long-term weight loss results. The study successfully established that participants who were strictly following a very low carb keto diet went on to achieve a more significant weight loss than those individuals who were following only a low-fat diet in the long-term. The study proved that a very low carb ketogenic diet could be useful as a tool against obesity.(8)
Another more recent study done by the University of Padova in Italy and published in 2017 looked at the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet for obesity. The study looked at the physiological basis of keto diets and what was the underlying rationale for using the keto diet in obesity. The study found that following a low-carb keto diet for a prescribed period of time might help control hunger and also improve fat oxidative metabolism in the body, thus reducing your body weight. The study also stated that the newer variations of the keto diets that focus on limiting carb intake are likely to improve a person’s compliance to the diet since these are not as restrictive as the classic ketogenic diet.(9)
In December 2017, a study by the San Francisco State University, University of Michigan, and the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, conducted a 12-month randomized trial of a moderate carb diet versus a very low carb diet in adults who were overweight and also had prediabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus. The study concluded that adults who had elevated blood sugar and body weight lost more weight and experienced a greater reduction in their blood sugar levels by following the very low carb ketogenic diet. These adults were also able to successfully reduce their medications as compared to those who were following a moderate carb intake diet.(10)
However, all these effects described in the studies are probably not specifically unique to just keto diets. Other research has also shown that any diet that follows a reduction in overall calorie intake and is followed diligently for the long run will result in weight loss over a period of time.(11)
So even though there are no rules to be followed with in regards to calorie restriction in lazy keto, studies have nevertheless suggested that keto diets are successful in suppressing appetite as well as food cravings. This makes it easier for the person to reduce the overall calorie intake while not feeling hungry at the same time.(12)
Furthermore, research also suggests that keto diets may help people have better blood sugar control, especially in those individuals who have type 2 diabetes. It also helps reduce the risk factors for developing heart disease.(13)
However, findings from the many research studies are mixed, and the biggest fact is that the lazy keto diet, by itself, has not been explicitly studied.
You should also keep in mind that the beneficial health effects of keto diets are usually because of the body attaining a state of ketosis. So studies have ensured that the metabolic state of ketosis is achieved by tracking the participants’ diets very carefully and also by measuring their levels of ketones. Ketones are the compounds that are produced by your body when the state of ketosis is reached and then maintained.
There are no requirements of tracking your protein intake, calories, and fat intake as well as measuring ketones while you are on the lazy keto and due to this, people following the lazy keto diet are not aware of whether they are genuinely in ketosis or not.
Are There Any Drawbacks Of Lazy Keto?
Similar to the classic ketogenic diet, a lazy keto diet might cause dieters to experience the keto flu when they first begin transitioning to a keto diet. Keto flu includes symptoms of headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and constipation.(14)
Another drawback is that there is no way of knowing whether you have reached ketosis or not. After all, in order to reach ketosis, you need to not only severely limit your carb and fat intake, but you also need to control your protein intake. Since a lazy keto diet does not follow the other criteria of restricting fat and protein intake, there is no guarantee that a dieter achieves ketosis.
Furthermore, there is a lack of research that looks specifically at the lazy keto diet, analyzing the long-term effects of the diet.
Lazy Keto Diet: What Foods to Eat and What to Avoid in Lazy Keto Diet?
When you follow a lazy keto diet, you are encouraged to have very low carb foods without taking into account their protein and fat contents.
Some examples of foods you should be eating on lazy keto include:
- Healthy oils: Avocado oil, flaxseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, and others
- Fish and shellfish: Trout, tuna, salmon, lobster, shrimp, and crab
- Meat and poultry: Turkey, chicken, beef, pork, and deli meat
- Eggs: Scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, and nearly any other types of eggs are allowed
- Fruits: Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, but in small portions
- Low-carb vegetables: Broccoli, tomatoes, onions, leafy green veggies, and many others
- Nuts and seeds: Tree nuts, peanuts, nut, and seed butter, and sunflower seeds
- High-fat dairy products: Cream, butter, and most cheeses
- Unsweetened beverages: Tea, coffee, and plenty of water
When you follow a lazy keto diet, you have to restrict all foods that are rich in carbs. Here is a list of foods that have to either restricted or completely avoided while you follow this diet:
- Legumes: Lentils, soybeans, chickpeas, and all types of beans
- Grains: Pasta, rice, cereal, bread, and oats
- Fruits: Apples, oranges, bananas, and most other fruits
- Starchy vegetables: Sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, peas, and corn
- Sugary foods: Cakes, ice cream, cookies, candy, and nearly all other desserts
- Certain dairy products: Yogurt and milk, especially all flavored yogurts
- Sugary beverages: Sports drinks, sodas, and fruit juices
A lazy keto diet is a popular and appealing dieting technique designed for those who find the traditional keto diet extremely restrictive and strict. A lazy keto restricts your intake of carbs, but other than that there are no rules regarding your intake of protein, fat, or calories for that matter.
Overall, the lazy keto might offer some health benefits similar to the traditional ketogenic diet, at least during the short term. Some of these potential health benefits include a decrease in your appetite, better control of blood sugar levels, especially in people with type 2 diabetes, and of course, quick weight loss.
However, at the same time, there are also some potential drawbacks to the diet, particularly with regards to the ignoring of calorie intake as well as the intake of protein and fat.
Furthermore, you may or may not achieve the state of ketosis, which is one of the biggest achievements or benefit that is attributed to the traditional keto diet.
More research specifically tailored to the lazy keto diet is still required to determine just how long these benefits last.
- Wirrell, E.C., 2008. Ketogenic ratio, calories, and fluids: do they matter?. Epilepsia, 49, pp.17-19.
- Wheless, J.W., 2008. History of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia, 49, pp.3-5.
- Paoli, A., Rubini, A., Volek, J.S. and Grimaldi, K.A., 2013. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European journal of clinical nutrition, 67(8), p.789.
- Sampaio, L.P.D.B., 2016. Ketogenic diet for epilepsy treatment. Arquivos de neuro-psiquiatria, 74(10), pp.842-848.
- Roehl, K. and Sewak, S.L., 2017. Practice paper of the academy of nutrition and dietetics: classic and modified ketogenic diets for treatment of epilepsy. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117(8), pp.1279-1292.
- Manninen, A.H., 2004. Metabolic effects of the very-low-carbohydrate diets: misunderstood” villains” of human metabolism. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 1(2), p.7.
- Noakes, T.D. and Windt, J., 2017. Evidence that supports the prescription of low-carbohydrate high-fat diets: a narrative review. Br J Sports Med, 51(2), pp.133-139.
- Bueno, N.B., de Melo, I.S.V., de Oliveira, S.L. and da Rocha Ataide, T., 2013. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(7), pp.1178-1187.
- Paoli, A., 2014. Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend or foe?. International journal of environmental research and public health, 11(2), pp.2092-2107.
- Saslow, L.R., Daubenmier, J.J., Moskowitz, J.T., Kim, S., Murphy, E.J., Phinney, S.D., Ploutz-Snyder, R., Goldman, V., Cox, R.M., Mason, A.E. and Moran, P., 2017. Twelve-month outcomes of a randomized trial of a moderate-carbohydrate versus very low-carbohydrate diet in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus or prediabetes. Nutrition & diabetes, 7(12), p.304.
- Bray, G.A. and Siri-Tarino, P.W., 2016. The role of macronutrient content in the diet for weight management. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics, 45(3), pp.581-604.
- Gibson, A.A., Seimon, R.V., Lee, C.M., Ayre, J., Franklin, J., Markovic, T.P., Caterson, I.D. and Sainsbury, A., 2015. Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Obesity Reviews, 16(1), pp.64-76.
- Gershuni, V.M., Yan, S.L. and Medici, V., 2018. Nutritional ketosis for weight management and reversal of metabolic syndrome. Current nutrition reports, 7(3), pp.97-106.
- Masood, W. and Uppaluri, K.R., 2019. Ketogenic Diet. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.