Lazy Keto: What It Is & Whether Or Not it Works
Maybe you’re like me, and you’ve been confused on ever-evolving definition of the “lazy keto” diet. I have read so many conflicting articles on what lazy keto is, and the root reason is - people are just making up their own definitions about what lazy keto means! It’s almost as if when vegan people had started to self-identify as “vegan”, another group of cattle ranchers started calling their beef sticks “vegan” because they allow their cows to roam free. Just because people are using the same terminology doesn’t mean they are necessarily promoting the same thing. Ah, nothing like the limitations of language to get us all mixed up!
The purpose of this article will be to include commonly used definitions for lazy keto and then provide information to inform whether or not each diet approach works (“works” essentially meaning a reduction in body fat and general alignment with the individual’s body weight goals). The long and short of it is: Do whatever works for your body to keep it in nutritional ketosis. If you’re not sure what that means, don’t worry, read my blog post on nutritional ketosis (coming soon!)
What Are Common Definitions of Lazy Keto?
IIFYM: Eat low-carb, up to 20 carbs per day, but no restriction to sugar-filled or junk foods; rather, eat it “if it fits your macros” (hence the IIFYM acronym)
Does this work? Probably not
Even if you are keeping under 20 carbs per day, if you are eating foods that are not going to bring your body into ketosis, your body will not make the transition to burning ketones (body fat)
In fact, this approach can backfire: if you eat low carb but still eat high fat, and are not in ketosis, then you could even gain weight
Eat to approximates: While maintaining the tried-and-true tenets of the standard ketogenic diet, don’t track every “macro” that enters your body; rather, make sure that you are eating mostly fat, some protein, and low carb/sugar
*For those of you who are less familiar with the keto diet, this approach differs from the most commonly adhered to version of keto where people religiously track their daily macros. For more information on the standard keto diet, see my article entitled, “The Path to Improved Nutrition: Keto".
Does this work? Yes, if you tweak it correctly for your body!
As long as you are aware of the daily intake proportions required to trigger and maintain ketosis the no sugar, high fat (roughly 65-75% daily intake), moderate protein (15-30% daily intake), and under 20-30 grabs of carbs/day (5-10% daily intake)
However, there are some cons to this approach, as people can tend to assume they are eating the correct proportions but in reality, they may be off-kilter without knowing.
For example, there are negative implications to both overeating or under-eating protein; if protein intake is too low, this an result in your body usurping fuel from your lean muscles, which can be harmful to your body; and, if your protein intake is too high, this can actually result in increased insulin resistance.
So Which Approach Should I Follow?
Here are my recommendations:
Unless you have already achieved a great deal of weight loss, or aren’t that invested in your results, steer clear of the laziest of lazy keto, the “if it fits your macros” mentality.
If you are going to forgo the daily macro calculation regiment, find some way to ensure that you are “right-sizing” your daily intake ratios:
Follow a macro tracking app for at least 2-3 days to experience the correct daily ratios so that you can re-create them later
Follow an already-designed keto meal plan by a trusted resource
Remember… you are are not getting the benefits of keto if your body is not running off of ketones, so make sure you are taking the necessary steps to ensure your body is not running on glucose.
My personal strategy for monitoring my diet is this:
While I don’t have a daily practice of calculating, I have a practice of periodically checking my blood ketone levels. This allows me to retroactively test my blood’s reaction to the foods I have been eating. I am currently using the Keto Mojo testing kit, which I prefer to the urine test strips because they are more accurate. I am not sure if someone has already “branded” this approach, but let’s call it “Lazy Keto With Data”.
In the meantime, let me know - do you ascribe to a “lazy keto” theory? Does it differ from the approaches outlined above?