Sticking to an eating approach that involves counting macronutrients can be indimidating for many people. The keto diet, for instance, adheres to certain amounts of carbs (usually 20-50 grams), fat, and protein to trigger a fat-burning state known as ketosis.
However, there’s a version of keto that offers simplicity, which makes reaching and maintaining ketosis more manageable. This guide discusses why some people might opt for a lazy keto approach instead of the traditional one and how to implement it successfully.
What is Lazy Keto?
Lazy Keto is a simplified version of the traditional ketogenic diet that primarily focuses on limiting carbohydrate intake to induce ketosis, without the need to track fats and protein . Unlike traditional keto, where precise fat and protein ratios are emphasized, lazy keto allows for a more relaxed approach while still aiming to achieve a state of fat metabolism or ketosis for energy (1).
How Does Lazy Keto Differ from Traditional Keto?
Unlike the traditional keto diet, which strictly adheres to specific fat, protein, and carbohydrate ratios, the lazy keto diet requires that you only track carbohydrates to achieve most of the benefits of keto — such as weight loss, reduced blood sugar levels, and decreased hunger and cravings (2)(3)(4).
With that said, all you need to do is simply limit your daily carbohydrates to less than 50 grams. You can achieve this by focusing on mostly animal-based foods, such as eggs, beef, poultry, fatty fish, and other types of seafood. You can eat nuts and seeds, but make sure to count the carbs in them. The same applies to vegetables and fruits.
Although lazy keto offers more flexibility and may be easier to follow, it might not yield the same level of precise results as traditional keto for some individuals. For example, you might not get enough fat, which can negatively affect your satiety and vitamin status (since fat is needed to absorb certain vitamins).
Principles of Lazy Keto
The three key principles of lazy keto are as follows:
- Carbohydrate restriction: Lazy Keto involves limiting carbohydrate intake to induce a state of ketosis. Limit carbs to only 5-10% of your daily calories, or 20-50 grams of total carbs per day, while also avoiding anything with added sugar and refined foods.
- Limited tracking: Unlike traditional keto, where meticulous tracking of all macros is essential, lazy keto simplifies the process by requiring less detailed tracking. At the end of the day, counting only carbs still accomplishes the primary goal of the keto diet, which is entering ketosis.
- Flexibility in food choices: A broader range of foods is allowed on lazy keto, such as processed foods and restaurant foods. This means you can consume snack bars, cheese crisps, keto ice cream, and diet soda.
Lazy Keto Benefits
The benefits of lazy keto compared to the traditional keto approach include:
- Simplicity: Lazy keto involves less meticulous tracking, making it less stressful and more manageable for individuals who find strict tracking challenging. Busy parents who want to embrace a low-carb lifestyle for their family and individuals who are always on the go will love this kind of simplicity.
- Flexibility: Lazy keto allows for a wider variety of food choices and is more adaptable to different dietary preferences, making it easier to maintain in social settings or when dining out.
- Easier transition: The less strict nature of lazy keto might facilitate a smoother transition from a standard diet, which makes it more realistic for total beginners.
- Sustainability: The flexibility and reduced tracking burden of lazy keto can contribute to its sustainability as a long-term dietary approach, helping individuals maintain their progress over time.
- Adaptability: The adaptability of lazy keto makes it well-suited for people who prefer enjoying occasional treats or navigating situations where strict tracking is impractical. This strategy can be beneficial for reducing stress. It keeps you moving forward.
It’s important to recognize that although lazy keto has these unique benefits, it might not yield the same level of precision or rapid results as traditional keto for some individuals.
Before you decide between lazy keto and the traditional keto diet, ask yourself: “What are my individual health considerations? Personal preferences? Long-term goals?” Consulting with a healthcare provider may help you with the process.
Lazy Keto Drawbacks
Some drawbacks of lazy keto include:
- Inconsistent results: Due to the more relaxed tracking and potential variations in food choices, results can be less predictable and consistent compared to the more structured approach of traditional keto.
- Slower weight loss: Lazy keto’s less strict nature might result in slower weight loss for some individuals compared to those adhering to precise macronutrient ratios (fat and protein). This is especially true if the person who does lazy keto eats mostly processed foods.
- Nutritional imbalance: Less emphasis on tracking may lead to nutritional imbalances, potentially resulting in inadequate intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Not tracking fat, for instance, can present the risk of undereating fat. For those who don’t know, your body needs fat to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- Risk of overconsumption: Relying on high-fat foods without careful portion control could also lead to overconsumption of calories, which can stall weight loss and potentially lead to weight gain.
- Potential for carb creep: Without vigilant tracking, it’s possible to unknowingly consume more carbs than intended from highly processed foods, preventing the body from entering or maintaining ketosis.
- Limited scientific research: Compared to traditional keto, there’s limited scientific research on the effectiveness and potential long-term impact of lazy keto.
It’s important to weigh these drawbacks against the benefits and consider personal goals, health status, and preferences when deciding whether this is the best approach for you.
Lazy Keto Food List
On a lazy keto diet, you can eat foods that are low in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats. While the focus is on carb reduction, here are some foods you can include:
- Meats: beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, veal
- Fish and seafood: salmon, tuna, shrimp, cod, scallops, lobster
- Healthy fats: avocado oil, olive oil, unsweetened coconut oil, beef tallow,
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds
- Eggs & Dairy: eggs, cheese, butter, ghee, unsweetened full-fat yogurt, heavy cream
- Vegetables: Spinach, kale, lettuce, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, zucchini, bell peppers, mushroom, asparagus
- Fruits: avocado, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, cantaloupe
- Snacks: pork rinds, dark chocolate, keto cookies
Lazy Keto Meal Plan
Here’s a sample lazy keto meal plan that will fill your week with nutritious and satiating meals:
- Breakfast: scrambled eggs cooked in butter with spinach and diced bell peppers
- Lunch: grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar
- Afternoon snack: Greek yogurt (full-fat and unsweetened) with a few raspberries
- Dinner: baked salmon with a lemon-dill sauce
- Evening snack (if needed): a small portion of dark chocolate (with 85% cocoa or higher)
Remember, this is just a sample meal plan. You can mix and match foods based on your preferences and what’s available to you. Whatever your meal, make sure to focus on low-carb, higher-fat options. Avoid high-sugar options — and as much as possible, processed foods.
It’s also important to stay hydrated and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. If you’re looking for more variety, you can explore different protein sources, vegetables, and healthy fats to create personalized keto diet meals.
Tips for Successful Lazy Keto
Here are some tips for a successful lazy keto lifestyle:
- Choose whole, nutrient-dense foods: Opt for unprocessed foods like meats, fish, vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats. Focus on quality to ensure you’re getting essential nutrients.
- Mindful carb choices: While you don’t need to track everything, be aware of carb content in foods. When it comes to plant-based foods, choose those with the fewest carbs leafy greens and berries.
- Avoid sugary foods and processed carbs: Steer clear of sugary snacks, high-carb processed foods, and sugary beverages, as they can easily derail your ketosis.
- Incorporate healthy fats: Include sources of healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts. These fats help keep you satiated and support ketosis. Choose fatty cuts of meat and fatty fish (for omega-3s).
- Moderate protein intake: While protein is important, excessive protein intake might lower your ketone levels. Focus on moderate portions of protein-rich foods. Better yet, prioritize foods containing both protein and fats, such as eggs, chicken wings, and ribeye steak.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support your digestion and metabolism.
- Limit snacking: Try to eat satisfying meals that keep you full for hours. This will reduce the need to grab snacks since you’re not hungry.
- Read food labels: If you’re consuming packaged foods, read labels to understand their carbohydrate content and ingredients.
- Stay active: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine, as it can enhance ketosis and help you achieve healthier blood sugar levels.
- Individualize your approach: Remember that everyone’s body is different. What works for someone else might not work the same way for you. Be patient with the process. If you didn’t get the results you expect, try a different strategy as long as it still aligns with keto diet principles.
Remember that while lazy keto offers more flexibility, achieving success still requires awareness and intentionality in your food choices!
Is Lazy Keto Recommended for Everyone?
Lazy keto is not universally recommended for everyone. It may be simpler than a traditional keto approach (that involves counting all three macros), but suitability varies on individual factors. Lazy keto may be more suitable for those seeking a more manageable approach to staying in ketosis, especially in social settings and for weight management, through carb restriction only.
On the other hand, it might not be appropriate for individuals with specific health conditions wherein precise results are required, or those needing strict nutrient control. In such cases, guidance from a doctor or registered dietician is needed. They will help you determine if lazy keto is compatible with your needs and individual health goals.
The Bottom Line
Lazy keto isn’t as strict as the traditional keto diet in the sense that you only need to track carbohydrates. If you adhere to unprocessed foods, as long as they’re keto-friendly, while also prioritizing variety — there’s no reason why you cannot get enough fats and protein, as well as vitamins and minerals, to boost your health.