Been seeing and hearing things about the Eco-Keto diet? Seems it’s all the rage right now and is among the top diet trends this 2019. It basically follows the same principle as that of the keto diet except that it’s more eco-friendly, hence the name.
While the ketogenic diet is truly fast and effective when it comes to losing weight, a lot of people argued that it’s damaging to the environment due to its lack of sustainability. It is for this reason that some followers of the keto diet have switched to the eco-keto diet. But is this diet better than keto? Read on to find out.
What is the Eco-Keto Diet?
The “eco” in the eco-keto refers to “eco-friendly”. Unlike the typical keto diet, this diet shuns the eating of meat products. Instead, it focuses on plant-based proteins. As such, it minimizes the impact on the environment while still helping you to stay in ketosis.
The meat industry has been getting lots of criticism over the past few years because of its environmentally harmful practices and lack of sustainability. So, the eco-keto diet encourages followers to eliminate meat from their diet although some are saying you don’t have to go vegan to make the keto diet more eco-friendly.
The trend for more plants is similar to the Keto-Alkaline diet and Dr. Will Cole’s ketotarian diet, a flexible and mostly plant-based alternative to the original keto diet.
Related reading: Is the Ketotarian Diet Better than Keto?
According to Adam MacDougall, an Australian health and fitness economist and former professional rugby league player,
“The Eco Keto diet is similar to the Ketotarian diet in that it’s largely plant-based and revolves around a low-carb, high-fat approach. This version of the diet is a little different as there is a strong push for sustainability so followers eat mostly plant-based foods, shop locally and opt for cruelty-free products. “
It is not only the ketogenic diet that has an eco-friendly version. The Atkins Diet, another popular low-carb diet, also comes with an eco-friendly alternative, called the “Eco-Atkins Diet”.
Just like the Eco-Keto, the Eco-Atkins diet does not include any meat. Since it’s a high-protein diet, followers of the Eco-Atkins diet must obtain their protein from plant-based sources. The plant-based products may include coconut oil and pea proteins, both of which are allowed and encouraged on the Eco-Keto.
The diet requires eating different portions of calories to maintain a healthy weight:
• 43% consists of vegetable fats, examples are avocado oil, olive and coconut oil.
• 31% consists of proteins, examples are nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, etc.
• 26% consists of carbohydrates that are mainly fruits and vegetables.
How to Switch to an Eco-Keto Diet
If you’re already following the ketogenic lifestyle and you wanted to switch to eco-keto. Here are three things that you can do:
Avoid eating meat – as a high-fat low-carb diet, the ketogenic diet allows the consumption of grass-fed meat, which is where most of the calories from fat can be obtained. But if you’re going to switch to eco-keto, you should really totally stop consuming meat.
Aside from the fact that a lot of red meat is said by some to not be good for the heart or the bowel, it can also increase your impact in the livestock industry.
There are lots of plant-based meats that you can eat instead but my advice is to make sure they don’t contain gluten, soy or GMOs. They are made entirely from plant-based ingredients but their taste is almost similar to your favorite meat. Not sure that vegans really relish the idea of eating something that tastes like meat!
Shop local – going local is a great way to reduce carbon footprint, regardless of the type of diet that you follow. Whether you’re buying fresh produce, cheeses, and other ingredients, always opt for local products.
The further that your food will travel to reach you, the more fossil fuel is used, which will have a greater impact on the environment. Remember, the eco-keto is all about being eco-friendly so the goal is to minimize environmental impact.
Opt for cruelty-free products – when shopping for foods to eat on your diet, always choose those food products that were produced without harming any animals. As for the local produce and fresh ingredients, always choose those that are certified organic.
Eco-Keto Diet Meal Plan
Considering the things above, you might be wondering what should your daily diet look like. To give you an idea, here’s a sample meal plan:
Breakfast: 1 organic egg or 1 tbsp. almond butter with 1 slice of wholegrain toast (yes much to my surprise wholegrain is allowed but check you stay in ketosis) or vegan protein and a non-gmo soy smoothie
Lunch: 1/4 firm tofu with vegetables or salad made up of greens, avocados, olives, cucumbers, walnuts, red wine vinegar, and Parmesan cheese
Dinner: You can eat vegetables and some grains but make sure you don’t go beyond your daily carb limit. An example is crispy tofu with a small amount of brown rice
Snacks: Eat coconut yogurt, seeds and nuts for your snacks, which count towards your daily protein and fiber intake.
Health Benefits of Eco-Keto
Since the eco-keto is based on the same principle as that of the original ketogenic diet, its health benefits are similar as well. Among these are:
Weight loss – one of the biggest benefits of eco-keto is in helping people to lose weight. Since it consists mainly of fruits and vegetables, it has high levels of fiber that can help to make you feel full easily. As such, overeating can be minimized, which aids in weight loss.
Feeling full longer – because of the high fiber content in eco-keto, you’ll feel full longer since it usually takes longer to digest these foods. This is very important if you’re trying to lose weight because it prevents you from overeating.
Helps control diabetes – One of the keto diet’s biggest benefit is perhaps its ability to control diabetes. You’ll also get the same benefit from eco-keto. The diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and these are good for people suffering from diabetes. It lowers your insulin level and stabilizes your overall blood sugar level.
Should You Switch to Eco-Keto?
There’s no doubt that the eco-keto is better than the typical keto diet especially when it comes to protecting the environment since it encourages you to go eco-friendly. However, Sydney-based dietitian Melissa Meier pointed out that the diet comes with potential risks,
“as a hybrid of the restrictive vegan and ketogenic diets, the risk of several nutrient deficiencies in eco-keto is very high. By drastically cutting carbs, you’re likely to feel fatigued and lethargic, which makes it hard to sustain. On top of minimizing carbs, your protein options are limited on the eco-keto diet, which could leave you feeling very hungry.”
So before you decide to switch to the eco-keto diet, it’s highly recommended that you seek advice from a Functional Medicine or Naturopathic doctor, certified nutritionist or dietitian. They can help to optimize your nutritional intake and prevent any harmful side effects.