What Is The Ketotarian Diet? Everything To Know About Following Plant-Based Keto
People have plenty of complaints about the keto diet, including the fact that it’s super heavy on meats. But there’s a slight variation on keto that’s more friendly to lovers of plant-based foods. It’s called the ketotarian diet, and it’s a plant-based version of the keto diet.
Just to recap: The keto diet is an eating plan that focuses on having foods that are high in fat and moderate in protein, and limiting your carb intake. When you follow a keto diet, your body moves into a state known as ketosis, which is when your body doesn’t have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. At that point, your body starts making ketones, organic compounds that it uses in place of carbohydrates. At the same time, your body also starts burning fat for energy.
The ketotarian diet attempts to do the same thing, but with a vegetarian slant. The ketotarian diet was coined by Will Cole, DC, a functional medicine expert. He wrote a book called Ketotarian: The (Mostly) Plant-Based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, and Calm Inflammation that laid out the new eating plan. However, many people create their own variation of a plant-based keto that may not necessarily be based on this book.
As a whole, the ketotarian diet is really similar to the keto diet—just without meat. Under the ketotarian diet, followers get their fat and protein from sources like eggs, ghee, and fish (if they’re open to it) to try to keep their bodies in ketosis.
But a ketotarian diet is clearly different from a regular keto diet, and there’s a lot to unpack here. Everything you need to know about going ketotarian, ahead.
What can you eat on a ketotarian diet?
The ketotarian diet takes most of the animal fats you’d have on the keto diet and swaps them out for plant-based fats. Think: avocados, olives, and nuts. You can still have those foods on the regular keto diet, but the ketotarian diet places a heavier emphasis on them.
Not all plant-based food is considered good on the ketotarian diet, though. In the book, Cole recommends opting for organic foods and limiting how much you have of non-fermented soy products like tofu.
So, a sample day of eating might look like this:
- Breakfast: Eggs with a side of kale
- Lunch: Arugula salad with almonds and avocado
- Dinner: Shrimp over cauliflower rice
Can you really still hit the right keto macros on the ketotarian diet?
Like regular keto, the ketotarian diet aims to have the same breakdown of macronutrients. While everyone’s needs are slightly different, that typically ends up breaking down your macronutrients like this:
- 60 to 75 percent of your calories from fat
- 15 to 30 percent of your calories from protein
- 5 to 10 percent of your calories from carbs
That usually means eating no more than 50 grams of carbs a day, but some strict keto dieters even opt for just 20 grams a day. It’s tricky to get enough plant-based protein on a ketotarian diet, says Scott Keatley, RD, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. “That’s why the diet allows for eggs, ghee, fish, and shellfish,” he says.