The Ketogenic Diet was developed in the 1920s as an effective treatment for epileptic seizures. By eating predominantly fat, limited protein and a very small amount of carbohydrates the human body switches its main energy source from glucose to ketones, which are produced in the liver. Following the Ketogenic Diet keeps your body running on ketones, leading to many health benefits including weight loss, increased energy, and athletic endurance. The diet is restrictive and many people following the Ketogenic Diet will consume a lot of animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, and cheese. Vegans do not eat any animal products so the Vegan Ketogenic Diet is exceptionally restrictive.
People following a strict Ketogenic Diet will eat a normal number of calories each day but will aim to get 75% of these calories from fat, 20% from protein and only 5% from carbohydrates. Consuming sufficient fat while following the Vegan Ketogenic Diet can be difficult. Vegan sources of fat include avocados, nuts and seeds, nut butters and various oils. Some people following the Ketogenic Diet add butter and MCT oil to a morning coffee to boost fat intake.
For a vegan, an alternative would be to eliminate butter in favour of a second shot of MCT oil.
Protein is needed for muscle growth and repair. Protein-rich legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas are high in carbohydrates and should be avoided on the Vegan Ketogenic Diet. Good sources of protein on the Ketogenic Diet include vegan dairy substitutes and tofu.
These foods all contain some carbohydrates so it is important to measure portions to calculate your nutritional intake. Be sure to buy full-fat tofu and vegan dairy substitutes to boost your fat intake. Low-fat versions of these products tend to have a high sugar content, which contributes to your overall carbohydrate intake.
Nuts and seeds are also rich in both protein and fat but some people recommend avoiding them on the ketogenic Diet due to the high carbohydrate content. Most of the carbohydrates found in nuts and seeds are insoluble fibres. Insoluble fibres are classified as carbohydrates in a basic nutritional summary but they do not affect ketosis, so you can discount them when calculating your nutritional intake. For example, 90% of the carbohydrates found in chia seeds come from fibre, so when calculating the amount of carbohydrates you are consuming you can count just 10% of the carb value stated on the packet. Similarly, 95% of carbohydrates found in flaxseeds come from fibre so you can count just 5% of the carb value.
Vegan diets are often seen as healthy because they are rich in fruit and vegetables.