It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you start a new diet plan, and that feeling might be a bit more intense on the keto diet.
Not everyone likes the idea of tracking their daily macros (carbs, fat, and protein) intake. If you’re one of them, you might like this new approach.
Lazy keto is the name given to a type of ketogenic diet where you only count your daily carb intake to enter and maintain ketosis. It works as long as you keep your daily carb intake below 50 or 20 grams of net carbs per day.
Here’s everything you need to know about it so you can make an informed decision on whether to go with this diet or stick with regular keto.
What Is Lazy Keto?
Lazy keto is a widely practiced approach of the standard ketogenic diet where carbs are the only macros you track. The theory behind this approach is that you should be in ketosis as long as you maintain your daily carb intake below 50 or 20 grams per day. This means you don’t have to track your daily fat and protein intake. Some people also don’t track their calories.
There is no standard definition of lazy keto, but tracking only the daily carb intake seems to be the most accepted one. Some people prefer sticking to the strict keto in the early days and then opting for the lazy keto diet after they get the hang of how keto works.
Some people also track their calories, and some don’t. Some people prefer to test their ketone level now and then to make sure they’re on the right track. We’ll discuss more on this in a bit.
Some common views about the lazy keto diet
Here are some common opinions about lazy keto that I found during my research:
- Tracking macros daily causes unnecessary stress.
- I track protein and carbs because overeating both can spike blood glucose.
- Tracking is important in the early days until you get the hang of macros in your daily food items.
- I used to track daily in the early days until I got the hang of everything. I now do it once in a while to make sure I’m on the right track.
- I only track when I do not see results or when I know I’ve fallen behind.
- I don’t track my carbs either, and I’m doing fine.
- I eat zero carbs on most days so I track carbs as well.
- I track foods, not macros, to make sure I’m not overeating
How does the lazy keto diet work?
As stated above the most widely practiced form of lazy keto is tracking only the daily carb intake. Consuming less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day will help you enter and maintain ketosis, and that’s precisely how the lazy keto works .
Lazy Keto vs. Clean (Strict) Keto
The big difference between lazy keto and clean (or strict) keto is that the latter requires you to track your macros and also emphasizes on getting at least 60-75% of your daily calories from fat, 20-30% from protein, and 10% or less from carbs. The regular keto diet also pays importance to food quality.
On lazy keto, however, your daily carb intake is the only thing you’re required to track, and some people don’t even do that.
Lazy Keto vs. Dirty Keto
Some people who practice the lazy keto diet combine it with dirty keto, in which they pay no importance to their food quality whatsoever. They don’t mind eating trans fats and other bad quality foods as long as it fits their daily carb limit.
Potential Benefits of Lazy Keto
Newbie and travel-friendly
Some people, especially newbies and those who travel a lot might find it overwhelming to keep track of all three macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat). They may find it easier to track their daily carb intake to sustain ketosis than monitoring everything.
This isn’t a direct benefit of the “lazy” keto approach but rather one of the proven benefits of the ketogenic diet. The reason why people lose weight faster on keto is that they lose a lot of water weight in the early days. One gram of muscle glycogen is bound to 3 grams (or more) of water weight so as the glycogen storage depletes, so does the stored water weight .
Some people find the lazy keto approach to be more sustainable in the long run, especially after they get the hang of how things work on keto.
Potential Disadvantages of Lazy Keto
Unintentional weight gain
If you’re trying to lose weight on the keto diet, tracking only the carb intake might not be the best approach. You may unintentionally eat too many calories from keto-friendly foods. For instance, one avocado has 322 calories, and 2 tbsp of peanut butter has roughly 188 calories.
Low carb fast food items also have a lot of calories. Mcdonald’s double cheeseburger, for example, has 270 calories without the bun, ketchup, mustard, and onion.
The best approach here would be to stick to the regular keto diet until you get used to it and get the hang of the macros in the foods you eat the most. Or you can count both calories and carbs until you reach your weight loss goal.
A lot of people prefer the lazy keto approach because they like the idea of not tracking everything and find it to be more sustainable. However, some people can subconsciously stress about it in their mind and worry about getting kicked out of ketosis.
Increased risk of consuming trans fats
A lot of people who practice the lazy keto approach also don’t care about the quality of their food. They don’t mind consuming low carb fast food every day as long as it helps them stay in ketosis.
Some people fill their pantry with “low carb” labeled snacks and readymade food that could have a lot of hidden sugar, additives, and trans fats. While it may work for ketosis, it can stop you from receiving the overall therapeutic health benefits of the keto diet. Consuming trans fats can increase your risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases .
Increased risk of cheating on keto
You may eat your cheeseburger with the bun in a split second of falling for your cravings. Or you could overeat the low carb sweets and snacks. Some people in the keto community have also complained that they find it harder to resist their cravings on lazy keto.
Who Should Avoid Lazy Keto
Those who have a food addiction
The lazy keto diet approach might not be the best for those who have a food addiction or any food disorders. This is because the chances of consuming palatable foods loaded with trans fats are higher on lazy keto.
If weight loss is not your only goal on keto
The ketogenic diet was initially created to treat epilepsy, and it has been proven to be useful for many other health conditions.
Yes, ketosis can be achieved by consuming less than 50 grams of carbs per day, but if that’s all that mattered, Dr.Wilder wouldn’t have come up with the high fat and low carb ratio.
Answer these two questions:
- Do you want the overall therapeutic benefits of the ketogenic diet?
- Do you think you’ll eat more unhealthy low carb foods full of trans fats on lazy keto?
You might want to stick with regular keto if you answered yes to both of the questions above.
Lazy Keto Results from 85+ Users
I conducted a survey on a ketogenic forum to provide you with detailed insight from real users about their lazy keto results and opinions. Here’s what they think about it.
As you can see, 83% of the 86 voters have had only positive results on lazy keto. A lot of them have also shared their views in the comments of my survey.
A quick summary of Lazy Keto Survey Feedback
Below are some quick, useful points that I found on the lazy keto survey I conducted. You can read the full comments here.
A lot of users who commented on my survey about lazy keto practice intermittent fasting, and that seems to help them a lot.
Measuring ketone and blood glucose
Some lazy keto diers have shared that they don’t track anything, not even the carbs, but they monitor their blood glucose and ketone level once in a while to make sure they’re on the right track.
Not tracking after a while
Some users preferred to track their macros in their early days on keto until they got the hang of how everything works and then switched to complete lazy keto.
20 grams of carbs per day
A lot of keto dieters prefer to keep their daily carb intake below 20 grams of net carbs per day.
How To Do Lazy Keto The Right Way: STEP BY STEP
Here’s a step by step guide on how to practice the lazy keto diet and get the best out of it.
STEP 1: Analyze your goal and circumstances
Think about what you’re hoping to achieve from keto. Is weight loss your only goal, or do you want to enjoy the overall health benefits of it?
It’s possible to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the standard ketogenic diet on lazy keto if you watch the quality of your foods.
Do you have any health conditions that require you to stay away from trans fats?
As discussed earlier, people who have a food addiction or food disorder may have higher chances of being tempted to cheat while on the lazy keto diet. Analyze your condition and consult with your doctor first if you know you need to.
STEP 2: Track until you get the hang of it
A lot of experienced keto dieters tracked their macros during their first few weeks or months until they got used to keto. During this time, they learned all the dos and don’ts, the macros of their frequently consumed foods, and observed how their body is doing on regular keto.
You could also do the same. You don’t have to set a specific time frame but start with regular keto. You may feel a little overwhelmed at first; however, this feeling will also push you to learn a lot about the ketogenic diet and how it works.
After a while, let’s say after a few weeks or a month, you might have a better understanding of the carbs, fat, and protein present in the food you eat the most. You may even remember some of them without having to check anything.
Another benefit of starting with the regular keto is that it will make it easier to tell the difference in your results when you switch to lazy keto. You will also be able to easily transition back into the regular keto diet if and when you decide that the lazy keto approach is not suitable for you.
STEP 3: Meal Prep
Meal prepping is probably the last thing you want to do on lazy keto, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure that you eat healthy keto food. Meal prepping can also reduce your chances of cheating and falling for cravings. Another plus is that you may get your macros right without even realizing it.
Who said you have to cook fancy meals and spend hours in the kitchen?
Whatever you’re planning to eat, make it in large batches so that you don’t have to cook or worry about what to eat for your next meal or the next day.
Meal prepping will also reduce your risk of consuming unhealthy low carb foods that may contain trans fats and other harmful things.
It’s totally fine to skip this step if it’s not convenient for you.
STEP 4: Make a list
Make a list of the foods that you frequently consume and write down their macros somewhere, or at least the carbs. It will make it easier to track your daily carb intake, and you may also remember some of them by heart. Keep a picture of this list on your phone.
STEP 5: Keep it simple
The whole idea behind the lazy keto approach is to keep everything simple so opt for lazy keto recipes that call for less than five or six ingredients and avoid the ones that take over an hour to cook.
Keep some healthy keto snacks around to eat when you’re hungry or when you’re traveling.
STEP 6: Beware of keto flu
Some people think keto flu is a sign of ketosis, but it’s not. It can happen while you’re in ketosis, but keto flu is a set of flu-like symptoms you may experience due to the loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and magnesium) on keto. You may also experience it due to the sudden withdrawal of carbohydrates.
These symptoms can be prevented or treated by replenishing the electrolytes regularly and slowly reducing your carb intake.
Here are some easy ways to get your dose of electrolytes:
- Bone broth
- Coconut water (occasionally)
- Sipping sea salt or Himalayan saltwater
- Magnesium supplements
STEP 7: Lazy keto diet app
Although carbs are likely to be the only thing you’ll track, you’ll find it easier to do that on a weight loss app. The lazy keto diet app has a lot of useful features to make your keto journey easier. Some of its cool features include a huge database of lazy keto recipes, recipe submission, shopping list, macros info, and keto calculator. The app is available on both apple and android.
STEP 8: Check ketones once in a while
Check your blood or urine ketone level once a week or once every two weeks to make sure you’re on the right track.
STEP 9: Don’t expect the same results as everyone else
Don’t expect lazy keto to work for you because it worked for someone else or expect the same effect as them. If you experience a weight loss plateau, consider incorporating intermittent fasting or an egg fast to speed up the process.
Some people had also had success by switching back to the regular keto when they experienced weight loss difficulties on the lazy approach.
Lazy Keto Meals To Help You Get Started
Below are some quick lazy keto meal ideas to give you an idea of what you can eat.
Lazy Keto Snacks
- String cheese and nuts
- Cheese and pickle
- Beef jerky
- Pepperoni sticks
- Pickles and olives
- Protein shake
- Fat bombs
- Nori seaweed sheets
- Greek yogurt
Lazy Keto Breakfast
- Eggs (cooked in preferred style), cheese, and nuts
- Coffee with heavy whipped cream
- Bulletproof coffee
Lazy Keto Lunch & dinner
- Bell pepper tuna boat
- Egg salad (boiled eggs, mayo, celery, and onion)
- Any meat & veggies
- Tuna salad: eat it cold or warm it up with some cheese on top.
- Avocado egg or meat salad
- $5 rotisserie chicken: Make chicken salads out of it.
How to Tell Lazy Keto Is Working
Track your carbs
If you keep your carb intake below 50 or 20 grams per day, you will be in ketosis. It’s a fact. As stated earlier, track your daily carb intake in a food diary or a weight loss app. This is important, especially in your beginning days on the ketogenic diet.
Test your ketone level
Take a urine or blood ketone (more accurate) test after a week or more to determine if you’re in ketosis. Take it once every two weeks after that or whenever you feel like something is not right.
Any weight loss difficulties?
Weight loss is not a steady process. You may lose and gain a couple of pounds continuously depending on your circumstances. However, if you’re experiencing a sudden weight loss stall or feel like you’re not losing weight at all, it’s a sign to change your strategy.
Check how you feel after a month or more
Do you feel like you can pass without cravings for 5-7 hours, or does your hunger return quickly? How’s your mental clarity? Do you feel like you’re able to concentrate and think more clearly, or are you experiencing any adverse effects?
- Lazy keto is a popularly practiced approach of the ketogenic diet where the dieters only track their daily carb intake to enter and sustain ketosis.
- You can lose weight on this diet approach; however, try your best to eat good quality keto foods and avoid trans fat for overall health benefits.
- It’s worth trying both regular and lazy keto to determine which one suits you the best. Doing this will make it easier to transition from one to the other if and when something goes wrong.
- Keeping your daily carb intake below 50 grams per day is all you need to enter and sustain ketosis. However, intermittent fasting, exercise, and MCT oil can also help.
- Test your ketone level once in a while to check if you’re on the right track and keep a note of any adverse effects you experience.
- A lot of users tracked their macros during their first few weeks or months on keto before switching to the lazy approach. The survey results we discussed also supports this.