Crazy about keto? Or are you someone who thinks the word ketogenic is hard enough to pronounce let alone eat like it? Well, all of you listen up – there’s a new keto kid in town that might be your style. Lazy keto is the newest spin on the low-carb, high-fat popular diet that sounds *easy*. Yes, even Clive Palmer could do it. But just because it’s simple, is it effective? Doable? Nutritious? We’ve got the lowdown for you.
So, what is lazy keto?
Here it is: the one and only rule of lazy keto is you must only eat 20 grams of carbs a day. I told you this was easy. OK, let’s rewind a bit and explain how this lazy version came about. First, a recap on how the ketogenic diet works. Keto dictates a daily high fat intake – roughly 70-80 per cent of your calories – with protein about 10-20 per cent and the remaining 5-10 per cent of carbs (the exact amount depends on your needs). The goal is to put your body into a state of ketosis so it burns fat instead of glucose, our body’s preferred fuel source.
This is why keto is a compelling diet for weight loss and overall health and performance, according to a review of research by Harvard School of Public Health. “The ketogenic diet has been shown to produce beneficial metabolic changes in the short-term. Along with weight loss, health parameters associated with carrying excess weight have improved, such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.” Yes, even the white coats claim it works. Win. Win. The downside: a true keto diet can be pretty strict as you have to track your calories and macronutrients (fats and protein) every time you eat.
Enter the lazy – dare we say “bastardised” – version of keto. As nutritionist and presenter for House of Wellness TV and radio shows Zoe Bingley-Pullin explains. “Lazy keto essentially involves keeping an eye on carbs only – limiting to less than 20g per day – and not restricting your intake of proteins, fats and overall calories.” In a nutshell: it’s a low-carb diet similar to the Atkins or South Beach Diet.
So, will it actually work?
The good bit
As this diet is as new as our PM, there are no specific studies holding it accountable but anecdotally, as with any eating plan aimed at weight loss, people claim that if you’re strict about it you will see results. Fast.
“This approach could be a good way to ease into the keto lifestyle or to trial it out before embarking on a more regimented regime,” says Bingley-Pullin. “However, the less food rules, the better as they don’t foster a healthy relationship with food. So in theory, it’s [the lazy keto] is a better approach to take to eating compared to strictly tracking calories and macros.”
The bad bit
You’ve probably read about the delightful downsides of keto (um, keto crotch anyone?), but as this specific form of keto is about carb restriction, a number of studies have been done. First there’s the more simple side effects like tiredness, dizziness, muscle weakness and confusion, but more worryingly a study just last year by the European Society of Cardiology warned low-carb diets should be avoided and people who consumed them increased their risk of premature death. Cripes.
As for weight loss success? Bingley-Pullin says, “If it’s a goal, just because carbs have been lowered doesn’t guarantee success. In fact, if you consume more calories than you need – no matter if your diet is low carb, high protein, vegan and so on – it will lead to weight gain. Because fats are higher in calories compared to protein and carbs, calorie intake can easily blow out on a high fat diet.”
So, how can I do it?
Well, you need to get an overall idea of your macronutrient intake – that’s carbs and fat and protein. Read your food labels and write down the carb heavy foods you can cut and, no, that’s not just bread, pasta etc but also fruit, vegetables and dairy. Yep, they all – except 20gs – need to go. If you don’t have a solid understanding of foods that contain carbs, you will need to track it to meet the requirements of lazy keto.
“If the focus is just on carbs and you don’t consider the nutritional composition of other foods, it would be easy to go over the 20g per day limit without knowing,” warns Bingley-Pullin. “For example, natural yoghurt is typically classed as a protein but a 200g serve has on average 10g carbs. So if you aren’t aware of this and therefore not tracking it, those 10g of carbs wouldn’t be counted.” Oops.
Let me leave you with this nugget of wisdom from Bingley-Pullin. In fact, it’s good advice for anyone wanting to try a new way of eating: “When choosing to embark on any diet, make sure to regularly assess whether it’s working for you by asking some of the following questions – do I feel good? Do I have energy? Am I enjoying this? Has my health improved or maintained since starting this diet?” Over to you Clive.