If you want to lose weight, or maybe just want to eat more healthily, the keto diet is a great choice. A very low-carb diet, keto involves cutting things like bread, rice, pasta, cereal, and potatoes from your diet to dramatically accelerate fat loss.
On the downside, the keto diet can be very strict. For it to work, you’ll need to measure and monitor your intake of fat, protein, and carbs. For many people, this is just too time-consuming. Luckily there is an alternative: The lazy keto diet. What is lazy keto? Let’s discuss!
Compared to the strict keto diet, lazy keto is much less labor-intensive. It’s easier to follow and allows you to eat a broader range of keto-friendly foods. However, while it’s a good diet for weight loss, it might not be the healthiest choice.
What is lazy keto?
To understand what lazy keto is, we need to compare it to the strict keto diet. The keto diet has been around for close to 100 years. It was initially developed by doctors (yes, doctors!) to control the symptoms of hyperactivity and epilepsy. As a happy coincidence, the keto diet also proved to be great for fat loss.
In most traditional diets, you eat a lot of carbs, moderate amounts of protein, and only a little fat. Fat loss is the result of eating less food. This creates a calorie deficit which forces your body to burn stored body fat for fuel.
With keto, this macro pyramid is flipped on its head. Instead of eating mostly carbs, you eat more fat – much more. The ideal calorie ratio is 65–75% fat, 15–30% protein, and 5-10% carbs. This means your carb intake should be no more than 50 grams per day, and most people should aim for 20-30 grams.
With no carbs available for energy, your body has to use more fat for fuel. However, fat is not a great source of energy for your brain and muscles. Subsequently, your body must convert fat into a substance called ketones. Ketones are used in place of carbs. Turning fat into ketones is very inefficient – it takes a lot of fat to make relatively few ketones. This increased energy expenditure leads to fat loss.
In strict keto, you are encouraged to eat a healthy diet that meets those 65–75% fat, 15–30% protein, and 5-10% carbs ratios. There is an emphasis on things like grass-fed beef and butter, organic organ meats, leafy green vegetables, line-caught fish, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats such as coconut oil and olive oil.
Hitting these numbers will require care and attention. You may need to use a food tracking app to make sure you meet your macros. In all likelihood, you’ll also have to follow keto recipes and buy keto-approved ingredients. This will make your diet quite regimented.
With lazy keto, things are altogether simpler. Instead of paying so much attention to the quality and amount of food you eat, there is one rule: Limit your carb intake to 20 grams or less per day.
Forget tracking your fat or protein intake, don’t worry about calories, and eat any food that allows you to keep your carb intake under that magic 20 grams per day barrier. With only one aspect of your diet to track, everything else will just fall into place.
The lazy keto diet makes low-carb dieting much more straightforward. All you need to do is identify foods that contain carbs and avoid them all, period. For those who find strict keto dieting too labor-intensive, the lazy keto will seem like a fat loss dream come true. But, does it deliver the goods, and, most importantly, is it safe?
Benefits of lazy keto
Both strict and keto diets have a major benefit: fast weight loss. There is a reason that these diets are so popular – they really work. However, for any diet to produce the goods, you need to be able to stick with it for as long as it takes to reach your target weight. This may take weeks, months or even years.
Very strict diets can be hard to maintain. The more complicated or time-consuming a diet is, the less likely you are to maintain it. This is human nature. Humans look for the path of least resistance. Willpower can help you stick with a difficult task for a while, maybe a week or so, but even strong willpower eventually runs out. Once your willpower dries up, it’s only a matter of time before you quit.
As soon as something becomes more trouble than it’s worth, we look for an easier option. In dieting, that usually means going back to our previously unhealthy way of eating. That’s why so many people break their diets and regain the weight they’ve lost. We call this yoyo dieting.
The lazy keto diet makes living the low-carb lifestyle much easier. Instead of weighing and measuring your food, tracking all your macros, and preparing special keto-friendly meals, you only have to do one thing – limit your carb intake to 20 grams per day or less.
For most dieters, this is very appealing. The easier and simpler a diet is to follow, the more likely you are to stay on track and stick with it. Remember, even the best diet will fail if you don’t follow it consistently.
To summarize, the main benefit of lazy keto, over strict keto or any other weight loss diet, is its simplicity. With only your carb intake to track, the process is as straightforward as possible. In essence, lazy keto is a bare-bones approach to the keto diet. It’s not fancy, and it’s not pretty, but it works.
Lazy keto drawbacks
Most strict keto diets place an emphasis on eating healthy keto-friendly foods. As a result, you not only lose weight, you may also improve many of the markers associated with good health including your blood glucose, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is because the strict keto diet includes things like healthy fats, quality sources of protein, low-carb fruits, (e.g., berries) and leafy green veggies, (e.g., spinach, kale, etc.).
With lazy keto, there is much less emphasis on food quality. So long as you limit your carb intake, you are good to go.
While this will still lead to weight loss, such an approach ignores a crucial nutritional fact: you are what you eat. If you eat lots of unhealthy junk, even if it IS low in carbs, you too can become unhealthy.
With lazy keto, you are free to eat lots of foods that aren’t that good for you. Examples include bacon, processed deli meats, and all types of fats and oils including very unhealthy trans fats. There is no real requirement to include non-starchy fruits and vegetables in your meals. The only thing you need to worry about is keeping your carb intake as low as possible.
While the lazy keto diet will help you lose weight, it’s possible that your health could suffer is you continually make bad food choices. For the lazy keto approach to work, you need to exercise a little common sense as well as willpower. Yes, you COULD eat nothing but bacon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but that doesn’t mean you should!
How to start lazy keto
The great thing about lazy keto is that you can start it almost right away. All you need is a basic knowledge if the three food groups so that you can identify your macros and choose food appropriate to your diet.
Fats are usually easy to spot. They are the foods we’ve been told are bad for us – but actually aren’t! Butter, lard, olive oil, sunflower oil, and avocados are all great choices. You need to eat lots of fat on the keto diet. Low fat keto diets do not work! Fat is also a common component in high-protein foods such as meat and fish.
Protein is the next most important food group in keto. Protein contains amino acids, and your body uses aminos like building blocks for muscle repair and growth. Protein is also filling and has a high thermic effect. This means it boosts your metabolism for faster fat loss. Good protein sources are also generally high in fat too. Great protein choices include pork, beef, lamb, poultry, salmon, tuna, mackerel, eggs, and full-fat dairy.
While you won’t be eating many carbohydrates with lazy keto, you still need to be able to identify it for elimination purposes.
Carbs are your primary source of glucose. Your body can use fat or glucose for energy. With less glucose available, your body has no choice but to burn more fat for fuel. Consuming glucose and fat creates competition for fuel, and your body is more likely to use glucose and store the fat. With no competition for fuel, your body has no choice but to burn fat.
In both the strict and lazy keto diets, carbs are the enemy. Consuming more than 50 grams of carbs per day will kick you out of ketosis and stop you from losing weight, and you’ll do better if you limit your intake to 20-30 grams per day.
The high-carb foods you need to avoid include:
· Breakfast cereals
· Most fruit and fruit juice
· Potato and corn chips
· Processed foods
· Many sauces and condiments, e.g. barbeque sauce and ketchup
With lazy keto, the only macro you need to track is carbs. Keep your carb intake very low, eat plenty of fat and moderate amounts of protein, and everything required for fat loss should naturally fall into place.
One of the easiest ways to start lazy keto is to look at your meals and simply discard the obvious sources of carbohydrate. For example, if you are about to chow down on a takeout cheeseburger meal, just ditch the bun, scrape off the high-sugar ketchup, and skip the fries. Make sure your soda is the diet variety and as if by magic, your meal is now lazy keto-friendly.
With practice, you should have no problem creating lazy keto meals from scratch. That’s good news if tossing away high-carb food tests your willpower!
Is lazy keto right for you?
Lazy keto offers some obvious advantages over strict keto. While both can help you lose weight, many people find the lazy keto approach more accessible and more sustainable. Lazy keto is ideal for people who:
· Find following a strict diet off-putting
· Can readily identify carbs and know how to avoid them
· Have the willpower to eat healthily even when not specifically told to do so
· Can create meals “on the go” and with minimal planning
· Are happy to wing it and don’t sweat the small stuff
· Are interested in weight loss rather than health
In contrast, the strict keto diet is better for people who:
· Like a more structured approach to meal planning
· Enjoy tracking macros
· Want to be able to control their food intake more precisely
· Are interested in health as well as weight loss
While strict keto versus lazy keto seems like an either/or kind of a deal, it doesn’t have to be. With minimal time and effort, you can use both of these approaches to create a simple keto diet that is healthy and easy to follow.
Lazy keto has one rule – track your carb intake and keep it below 50 grams per day. That is set in stone.
Apply this rule to your diet but then make sure you also try and eat as healthily as possible. Include a variety of natural fats in your diet, include non-starchy veggies in your meals and don’t eat tons of processed foods.
This means adding one new rule to your diet: consider the nutritional value of the food you eat, and not just its carb content.
Let’s call this the smart keto diet!
With the smart keto diet, you have all the advantages of the lazy keto diet with none of the drawbacks. It’s easy to follow, will help you lose weight fast, but it’s healthy too. Brilliant!
Not sure what to eat on the lazy keto diet? Here are a couple of examples:
Lazy keto breakfast:
- 2-3 fried eggs cooked in oil
- 2-3 rashers of pork bacon
- 1-2 slices of American cheese
Or, if you want to make your lazy keto diet smarter:
- 2-3 poached eggs
- 2-3 slices of duck bacon
- Half an avocado, sliced
- 6 grilled mushrooms
- 1 cup lightly cooked baby spinach
From a macro and calorie perspective, these meals are very similar. However, nutritionally, they are very different. The second meal contains essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats while the first meal does not. And while the second meal might take an extra minute or two to prepare, the added health benefits mean that you get a lot back for your small investment of additional time.
If you are new to the world of keto, you should learn the ropes by first following the strict keto diet. It will teach you all the ins and outs of the low-carb lifestyle so that you understand exactly how this fantastic diet works.
With a couple of months of strict keto dieting under your (now much smaller) belt, feel free to try the lazy keto approach. Pay a little less attention to your exact macros, and just focus on keeping your carb intake to around 20-30 grams per day.
Monitor your progress and record how you feel. If you are still losing weight, and you feel good, the lazy keto approach is right for you. On the other hand, if you start to regain weight or feel unwell, you should stick with the strict keto diet. Alternatively, clean up your diet and adopt the smart keto approach instead.
Whichever option you choose, it’s good to know that the keto diet will help you reach your weight loss goals more quickly than any other diet around. Just select the variation that works best for you.