2018 saw the rise and rise of the Keto diet – a low-carb, high fat regime that aims to get your body to go into ketosis – as it became the new go-to weight loss eating plan.
While incredible keto diet before and after photos showed how successful the regime could be, the diet is also known for being incredibly tough and anti-social. Plus, it’s also not in any way vegetarian friendly, being that a large part of the diet compromises of eating increased amounts of meat protein.
Adam Macdougall, a health and fitness economist, warns of the possible negative effects of the popular keto diet, saying, “They are very limiting as far as lifestyle goes. Ketogenic diets can cause bad breath (because of ketones) and mood swings and are really hard to maintain over the long term.”
The former professional rugby player, who is also the host of PodcastOne’s Health Hacker podcast, has revealed that one of the top health trends for 2019 will be a more eco-friendly take on the keto diet, aptly named the eco-keto diet, which is not only vegetarian friendly, but also supposedly better for the environment.
What is the eco-keto diet?
The eco-keto diet follows the same low-carb, high-fat principles of the keto diet, advocating eating lots of ‘good fats’, with foods that are big on the original keto diet such as avocados, nuts, oils featuring heavily.
This trend first emerged with the ketotarian diet, a flexible, mostly plant-based alternative to keto created by Dr Will Cole. However, the ‘eco’ in eco-keto stands for eco-friendly, and this is because the diet doesn’t involve eating any meat, instead substituting it for plant-based protein.
The meat industry has been under the spotlight over the last few years for its lack of sustainability and environmentally harmful practises.
As a result, the eco-keto diet encourages participants to cut out meat, shop locally and where possible choose cruelty-free products.
Adam talks in the latest Health Hacker podcast about how the new eco-keto diet is much more achievable than the original keto diet, and plugs in to the growing foodie trend and consumer demand for meat-free products.
“The plant-based meat market is absolutely booming,” Adam reveals on the podcast. “It grew by nearly 25 per cent last year.”
“These products taste exactly like meat, but they’re made entirely out of plant-based materials.”
The plant-based materials can include pea proteins, coconut oil, potato starch – all of which are allowed and encouraged on the eco-keto diet.
While the eco-keto diet has some obvious benefits, such as the fact that it encourages you to eat more plants, dietician Melissa Meier points out that there are still some risks, namely, “as a hybrid of the restrictive vegan and ketogenic diets, the risk of several nutrient deficiencies is very high.”
“The ketogenic diet results in quick weight loss due to the depletion of carbohydrate stores and the associated water weight,” Melissa explained to body+soul.
“By drastically cutting carbs, you’re likely to feel fatigued and lethargic, which makes it hard to sustain. On top of minimising carbs, your protein options are limited on the eco-keto diet, which could leave you feeling very hungry.”
“In my opinion, any type of fad diet isn’t going to work out in the long term, and this one in particular could lead to serious nutritional deficiencies and complications,” Melissa concluded.
If you’re thinking of embarking on the eco-keto diet, Melissa advises seeking advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian first, who can help you to optimise your nutritional intake.