If you’re thinking about starting a brand-new diet, you may have come across two different terms vegan vs keto diets. Many people have the notion that they’re exactly the same, which you may be surprised to know, isn’t the case.
Despite their differences, both have been linked to weight loss and heart health, however, they each have their own benefits.
Changing diet can be scary when you’ve never dieted before. In this guide, we’re going to look at the differences between the two diets, so you can work out which would be best for you.
The Vegan Diet
The vegan diet is the act of cutting out all animal byproducts from your diet including meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. Instead, vegans turn to plant-based products that have been sourced naturally.
It’s not just refusing to eat the animal itself, but any products that have caused harm to an animal during the process. Absolutely everything they eat has been sourced from plants or other locally sourced ingredients.
Vegan diets are very restrictive on what they eat, so before choosing to go vegan, it would be best to consult your GP. Despite this, there are many health benefits which your healthcare professional may advise you on.
The keto diet is simply about losing weight due to the reduction of carbs, but being vegan extends far past food.
Many vegans choose to live an animal product-free lifestyle. They refuse to purchase clothes, soaps, make-up, and other cosmetics that may contain animal skin/fur or have been tested on animals.
Vegans tend to be firm promoters of animal rights and refuse to purchase such products to stand against animal cruelty.
Basically, they aren’t vegan for themselves, but for the best interests of the planet. However, some people do switch to a vegan diet for their own health benefits.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the vegan diet:
Research has shown that vegans tend to have a much lower body mass index than those on traditional diets. This is because this particular diet can promote weight loss and is one of the main vegan health benefits.
So, if you’re looking to lose pounds, the vegan diet is certainly one to consider. This is one of the main similarities between vegan vs keto diets, as both have been linked to weight loss.
On the vegan diet, you’ll be consuming far fewer calories due to steering clear of high-fat dairy products which can make you pile on the pounds.
However, maintaining weight loss can be difficult for those who are new to it. Because vegan diets are so restrictive on the foods that can be eaten, it’s likely you’ll feel the need to reach for the snacks.
Health-conscious vegans substitute animal products with plant-based replacements, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nutritional yeast, whole grains and fermented plant foods.
Less risk of illness
According to a 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, a vegan diet is a preventative measure against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
This is down to the fact that plant-based diets are low in saturated fats, which means lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
Lacking in vital nutrients
Unfortunately, as you’ll be cutting out all animal products from your diet, there are some health drawbacks to be aware of – including lack of nutrients.
Professor of Science at the University of Connecticut, Nancy Rodriguez claims calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B-12 which are typically found in meats are essential to our health and wellbeing.
Without these nutrients, you may be at risk of several health issues, such as the likes of bone loss, a weakened immune system, and reduced muscle mass. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice your health for your diet, it may make you think more in-depth about the vegan vs keto diet.
The Keto Diet
You may have heard of the term ‘keto’ diet in conversation, or perhaps labelled on the packaging – but what does it really mean?
This diet is extremely different from any other diets, as it’s all about its extremely high fat intake and low carbs.
While many presume the keto diet is one of the latest trends in the dieting world, it has in fact been around over 100 years. However, it has now garnered worldwide attention, thanks to the benefits it’s thought to provide.
The basis of the diet involves reducing the number of carbs consumed and instead, replacing them with high-fat foods. The limited carb intake puts your body into a metabolic state known as ‘ketosis’.
Because carbs are very limited on this diet, you’ll be heavily reliant on protein and fats. One of the main factors of vegan vs keto diets is that the keto diet involves eating animal products, such as meats, eggs, cheeses, and fish.
Here’s a fact to think about – 50% of the American diet is actually made up of carbs, so the keto diet is going to be a massive challenge if you’re used to eating absolutely anything!
There are several forms of ketogenic diets, as shown below:
- Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): The typical keto diet that’s low-carb and high in fat – with figures that equal to 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbs.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves consuming a greater deal of carbs; equalling to 5 ketogenic days and two high-carb days.
- Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet involves eating carbs around physical exercise to keep energy levels high.
- High-protein ketogenic diet: This diet follows the standard keto diet, but allows you to eat foods that are much higher in protein.
Is a keto diet healthy?
One of the main queries you may have about starting the keto diet is – is it healthy? As with any diet, there are several pros and cons to keep in mind that may be beneficial to you, but also may not be suitable if you have a health condition. So, it’s always worth doing your research and asking your GP for their advice on vegan vs keto diets.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the keto diet:
When your body starts to begin ketosis, fat is burned at an extremely quick rate. As well as the reduction of carb intake, you’ll also retain less water which promotes weight loss.
Not only that, but fatty foods are delicious and satisfy your cravings for good food. So, when you switch to the keto diet that’s high in fat instead of carbs, you’ll find you’ll get fuller quicker. The result? You’ll eat much less and start to notice an improvement in weight loss.
Originally, the keto diet was used to treat seizures, particularly in children. Nowadays, it’s a diet that those who suffer from epilepsy refer to reduce their chances of seizures. It’s well worth giving the keto diet a try to see if it works for you.
Reduced risk of cancer
While there isn’t yet a cure for cancer, the keto diet has been linked to a possible reduced risk of cancer. Tumor cells can reportedly break down glucose at an extremely fast pace, in comparison to normal cells. So, thanks to the reduction of glucose in your diet which starves tumour cells, you’re less likely to develop cancerous growths.
Could lower cholesterol
Yes, you read that right. Although the keto diet is high in fat, you will still have much lower cholesterol.
What you may not realize is that cholesterol is split into two sections – ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) and ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). When you eat small amounts of fat, your HDL increases which then lowers your risk of heart conditions, as well as lowering blood pressure. This is one of the main positives of keto diets in regards to vegan vs. keto for heart health.
Requires an adaption process
It’s not as simple as being able to switch to the keto diet in one day. If only it was that simple! Those who have made the transition have claimed they suffered from the ‘keto’ flu.
You may experience unpleasant side effects associated with regular flu, which is why a 2-week transition period would be advised.
When moving over to the keto diet, you may be at risk of suffering symptoms including:
- Muscle pain
Challenging to maintain
Sticking to any new diet is hard enough, but not being allowed to eat some of the more pleasurable foods such as ice cream, cheese, and pasta, for example, often means people only stick to it short term. Why? Because it’s not easy to maintain. You’d have to be extremely strict on yourself to remain on a keto diet for the long-term.
What are the similarities between the two?
Both the keto and vegan diet are the healthiest diet plans you can follow. They both concentrate on the consumption of whole foods, such as fruit nuts and seeds. Both diets also try and steer clear of over-processed foods and replace them with healthier options.
Realistically, any diet can be linked to ‘trigger’ health issues, so it’s swings and roundabouts!
The main differences between the two, are that vegans typically choose to follow this diet for ethical reasons. Many integrate their passion into a lifestyle. On the other hand, the keto diet is usually solely for weight loss purposes.
What’s your verdict on vegan vs keto diets?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!