The lazy keto diet only requires people to restrict their intake of carbohydrates. It is less restrictive in terms of carb intake than the original keto diet and does affect fat and protein consumption.

Lazy keto is a more straightforward version of the keto diet. On the keto diet, a person drastically reduces their carbohydrate intake and eats a high amount of fats and a moderate amount of protein to allow them to enter a state of ketosis.

This article explains what the lazy keto diet is and discusses its benefits and drawbacks. It also explains which foods to eat and avoid on the lazy keto diet and gives an example of what to eat in a day.

a plate of scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and cooked spinach, which are foods suitable for a lazy keto dietShare on Pinterest
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The lazy keto diet is a less restrictive variation on the keto diet.

Someone eating a traditional keto diet would aim to consume macronutrients in the following ratios:

  • 55–60% fat
  • 30–35% protein
  • 5–10% carbohydrate

A lazy keto diet only requires someone to limit their carbohydrates to 10% or less of their daily calories. This approach means that a person does not need to track their fat and protein intake.

Some people use keto diets to lose weight or reduce their body fat.

According to research, the traditional keto diet may offer benefits for certain health conditions, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

People use the keto approach to put their body into a state called ketosis.

Under normal dietary conditions, the body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose, which it uses as its primary source of energy. When a person restricts their carbohydrate intake, the body produces ketone bodies to use for energy instead of glucose.

Ketosis can cause someone to store less energy as fat and utilize fat for fuel, which may account for the effects of the keto diet on weight and metabolism.

While restricting carbohydrate intake is the primary driver of ketosis, relative intakes of the other macronutrients matter, too. A person may not get into ketosis if they do not adhere to the traditional keto diet’s macronutrient ratios.

For example, according to a review of studies, limiting protein intake to less than 1 gram per pound of body weight prevents glucose production in the body via gluconeogenesis. A traditional keto diet restricts protein to this level, but the lazy keto diet may not.

If someone eating a lazy keto diet consumes more protein than this, ketosis may not happen.

However, a low carbohydrate diet can be beneficial for weight loss, diabetes, and cardiovascular risk, even if a person does not enter ketosis.

By requiring people to limit carbohydrates to 10% or less, the lazy keto diet may help them avoid heavily refined foods and added sugars.

As a result, this approach could help a person manage their weight or improve their health, depending on their food choices. On the other hand, a low carbohydrate diet that is lacking in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, and other sources of dietary fiber may not promote health. Also, some researchers have reported that low carbohydrate diets are not superior to other balanced diets.

Someone eating a lazy keto diet should ensure that they eat enough fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber, all of which experts list as being important for promoting health.

A 2015 review suggests that this dietary approach is also associated with improved diversity in gut bacteria. According to the authors, eating a diet high in animal protein and low in plant-based foods may increase colonic disease risk.

A lazy keto diet restricts carbohydrate-rich foods. However, some of these foods, such as whole grains, starchy vegetables, and pulses, are an important part of a healthy diet.

People trying to follow the lazy keto diet should limit carbohydrates to 10% or less of their daily calories and focus on nutrient-rich carbohydrates as part of their allowance.

Foods that the lazy keto diet permits include:

  • meat and poultry
  • fish and seafood
  • eggs
  • dairy foods, such as Greek yogurt and cheese
  • healthy oils, such as olive oil and avocado oil
  • nonstarchy vegetables, including leafy greens, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and mushrooms

Healthy carbohydrates to eat as part of the 10% allowance include:

  • Whole grains: Examples include bread, rice, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, and quinoa.
  • Pulses: These include garbanzo beans, lentils, peas, kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans.
  • Starchy vegetables: People can choose from a range of vegetables, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, and parsnips.
  • Fruits: Options include blueberries and strawberries or higher carbohydrate fruits, such as bananas, mangoes, and grapes.

Someone eating a lazy keto diet should avoid refined carbohydrates and foods with added sugars. These include:

  • white pasta, bread, and rice
  • cakes, biscuits, sweets, and pastries
  • ice cream and desserts
  • sugar-sweetened hot and cold drinks
  • packaged breakfast cereals that contain refined grains or are high in added sugars
  • snack bars and chocolate
  • alcohol
  • ready-made meals high in carbohydrates or added sugars
  • sauces, marinades, and dressings with a high sugar content

Here is an example of a 1-day meal plan for someone following the lazy keto diet:

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms
  • Lunch: roast salmon with salsa verde and a green salad
  • Dinner: chicken breast with broccoli, green beans, and a small baked sweet potato

People who wish to have a dessert after lunch or dinner can opt for a portion of fresh blueberries with unsweetened Greek yogurt.

People who do not want to track all their macronutrients are likely to find the lazy keto diet an easier option than the original keto diet.

The less restrictive approach may also suit those who like to eat out or cook larger meals for a family.

However, as the lazy keto diet does not always induce ketosis, it may not promote weight loss as effectively as the traditional keto diet. A person who is not tracking all of their macronutrients may also be less likely to create a calorie deficit, which is necessary for weight loss.

In some cases, though, lazy keto might help people reach a calorie deficit by encouraging them to replace unhealthy higher carbohydrate foods with more nutritious and lower calorie options.

People should ensure that they consume all the essential nutrients they need for health. Restrictive diets, such as the keto diet and lazy keto diet, can potentially lead to long-term health consequences.

In some cases, the keto diet can also lead to symptoms in the short term. These may include nausea, headaches, lightheadedness, constipation, and a reduced tolerance for exercise.

A person can check whether a diet is suitable for them by speaking with a doctor or registered dietitian.

Checking with a healthcare professional first is particularly important for those taking medication or living with a health condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Lazy keto may be a less restrictive option than a standard keto diet for people who do not wish to track all their foods and macronutrients.

This approach could help someone lower their carbohydrate intake and potentially lose weight.

It is important to note that restricting any food group could lead to nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, people should speak with a healthcare professional before starting a diet, particularly if they have a health condition.