Is A Vegan Ketogenic Diet Healthy? Dr Greger & Dr Barnard
One of the most popular diets at the moment
is the ketogenic diet.
This diet was originally discovered as a useful
treatment for epilepsy, however it’s being
widely used today for weight loss and there
are some clinical trials providing weak evidence
for an anti-tumor effect, particularly for
The ketogenic diet consists of roughly 90
percent of calories from fat, 6 percent from
protein, and 4 percent from carbohydrates.
Carbs are limited to less than 50 grams a
day which basically means no fruit and a strict
cap on vegetables.
A classic keto diet is centered around animal
fat, for example marbled steaks, fish, eggs,
streaky bacon, butter and lard.
The concern with this way of eating is that
people are taking in huge amounts of class
1 and class 2a carcinogens, as defined by
the world health organisation and only taking
in small amounts of antioxidants, polyphenols,
fiber, vitamins, minerals etc as they are
restricting fruits and vegetables.
But about a vegan ketogenic diet?
Would we be able to get all the benefits of
a keto diet without the detrimental effects?
Well the problem is we don’t have enough
long-term evidence on what happens to our
body after ten years of ketosis and whilst
research does suggest keto can help slow the
progression of some cancers, it has been found
to speeds up others.
So vegan or not, is being in a state of ketosis
long term safe for our body?
Well let’s take a listen to Dr Michael Greger
and Dr. Neal Barnard as they share their thoughts
about a vegan ketogenic diet.
Dr Greger’s audio comes from his April 2019
Q and A. The links to the original videos
are in the description below.
[MG] Thoughts on vegan keto?
Ketogenic diets basically encapsulate the
worst possible advice for healthy eating.
So for example the global burden of disease
study the largest study of human risk factors
in human history funded by the Bill and Melinda
Gates foundation, I have a video showing that
the number one dietary risk factor for death
on planet earth is inadequate fruit consumption!
So kills more people than soda and processed
meat, inadequate fruit consumption kills more
people than anything else so that could be
used as, kind of like a B.S detector kind
of like a whiff test for any new diet that
comes along, the first question you ask is,
well if that’s the number one risk factor
for death, does this diet advocate for lots
Because if it doesn’t then immediately it’s
off the list, and so there, the keto flops
on it’s face vegan or not.
Asks, wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a
nutritionally curated whole food plant based
I’m not even sure what that means nutritionally
I don’t think any kind of keto diet would
be a good thing unless in some cases of intractable
pediatric epilepsy, it can so change the brain
chemistry you can actually have some benefits
but certainly not for anyone without certain
rare medical conditions.
It’s been called the 80 billion dollar weight
loss gimmick and that is the rapid water loss.
Right we store carbs as glycogen in our muscles
and they’re complex to water as soon as
that glycogen starts getting depleted we get
that tremendous diuresis of course we have
to get rid of the ketones too and so people
look down at the bathroom scale and for the
first time in their lives they went on this
new diet and one week they lost 5 pounds.
So then they tell everybody, they tell their
friends they tell their family everybody goes
out and gets the book.
Ok then what happens is as obviously we know
what happens it’s just water weight that
they’re losing and in fact they’re losing
more lean mass.
You know NIH did those beautiful metabolic
ward studies and actually showed that these
extremely high fat low carb diets slow the
loss of body fat.
What’s happening on the scale is the opposite
of what’s happening inside the person but
what do you see you just see the bathroom
scale and so by the time they figure it out
they’ve already told everybody about it
and then of course they blame themselves and
come crawling back to it.
But seeing those pounds come off, even though
it’s not body fat that is what drags people
back over and over and over again!
[NB] Well I think it’s fine to test these
things in research studies and to continue
to do that but as a recommendation for anybody
I actually cared about I would be very nervous
about that really for this reason we have
to remember what is a natural diet for humanity,
just big picture, we are not blubber eaters
for the most part we’re not eating huge
amounts of fat all the great apes eat enormous
amounts of vegetation particularly fruit and
it’s a high carbohydrate diet either simple
sugars in fruit or starchy food that’s what’s
natural to us.
When we take those things out of the diet
then what we’re left with is a huge amount
Don’t get me wrong vegetable fats are much
better than animal fats they really are, if
a person tries to do a ketogenic diet with
animal fat in about a third of cases their
cholesterol levels really go up significantly
sometimes they go up through the roof.
If you’re doing a vegan diet that’s’
high in fat and low in carbs that’s less
likely to happen but it’s still possible.
Now luckily when a person does a plant based
diet they lose weight almost no matter which
way they go and any weight loss is supposed
to lower your cholesterol so that normally
does happen however with oily food let’s
say it’s olive oil, the saturated fat of
olive oil is lower than beef and chicken but
it’s not zero.
The numbers are beef is about 50% saturated
fat chicken about 30% olive oil about 14%
but if I’m not adding that olive oil I’m
not adding any of that so it gives me a step
So any way I think almost for anyone who’s
doing a ketogenic diet doesn’t know how
to do this in a vegan way and my good friend
David Jenkins has said well do it Eco Atkins
meaning 100% vegan and I think studying it
in research is an interesting thing to do
but I don’t think we’re at a point of
really feeling comfortable about it yet.