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Vegan VS Keto   - Debate to End All debates

Vegan VS Keto - Debate to End All debates

  • Chad VanCalster
  • Feb 26, 2019

First of all, I don’t really think we’ll end any debate here.  We will still have our hardcore vegans and hardcore keto dieters, and they’ll both never agree which is the best diet to choose from.   For people who are more in the middle, let’s take a look at both from a middle-ground type of lens.  I’m not here to persuade anyone to choose one or the other, but to inform so that you can make a decision that is best for you.

We are a split Family.  I recently started the Keto diet and my son, who is 13, calls himself a meat-a-tarian.  My girlfriend and my daughter (15) both eat a vegetarian diet (mostly pastas, veggies and eggs).  This definitely makes cooking supper a challenge.

For sake of this argument, I’m going to lump vegan and vegetarians together, even though they are technically different.  Much the same, I will lump Paleo/Keto/meat-based diets as the opponent.

What are these diets?

The ketogenic (keto) diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet. It emphasizes rich sources of fat, like dairy products and avocado, with moderate protein servings and very few carbs.

That leaves out many vegetables, fruits, and grains. Sugar is also a no-go.

The vegan diet is a plant-based eating plan. It eliminates all foods that come from animal sources, but it’s rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Research shows that both plans can lead to weight loss. What it takes to get there — and how likely you are to sustain it — are factors that help determine if either of these diets can be successful in the long run.

How does the keto diet work?

The human body stores carbohydrates as glycogen. That’s the body’s preferred source of energy. You have a steady supply of these energy reserves.

Your body will burn through carbs you eat and then turn to the glycogen for energy. If you eliminate carbs from your diet, however, your body will quickly use up those reserves. When glycogen is lost, your body also loses the excess water glycogen holds. Immediately, you’ll drop several pounds without this water weight.

In a few days, your body will enter a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, your body is using fat stores for energy since it has no carbohydrates or glycogen.

The high amount of fat consumed on this diet also helps minimize cravings. You may feel fuller longer, which cuts down how much you eat in a day. Some people on keto turn to intermittent fasting to sustain weight loss.

How does the vegan diet work?

For vegan dieters, a plant-based plan is “often low in fat and protein and overall calories so people often feel like they can eat all day and still lose weight,” said Danielle Aberman, RDN, a dietitian who specializes in working with people with migraines, as well as those who have difficulty losing weight and keeping it off.

In fact, research shows vegans tend to be thinner and are more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than nonvegans. They are also likely to have lower cholesterol numbers.

By nature of the food vegans eat, plant-based eaters also typically consume a greater variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than omnivores. They also have a lower average calorie consumption than nonvegans.

VEGAN/VEGETARIAN

If you switch to a vegan/vegetarian diet from a typical Western diet, you'll eliminate meat and animal products.

This will inevitably lead you to rely more heavily on other foods. In the case of a whole-foods vegan diet, replacements take the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.

Since these foods make up a larger proportion of a vegan diet than a typical Western diet, they can contribute to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients.

For instance, several studies have reported that vegan diets tend to provide more fiber, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. They also appear to be richer in potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E

An increasing number of people are turning to plant-based diets in the hope of shedding excess weight.

Many observational studies show that vegans tend to be thinner and have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than non-vegans.


KETO

A great deal of keto research has been conducted in rats and mice only. Human studies are few and far between, but more are being done, thanks in large part to the keto diet’s increasing popularity.

2009 study, however, found that most individuals on a low-carbohydrate diet were no longer in ketosis after six months.

2017 study found that most keto-fed rats see weight loss in the first weeks of the diet, but during the 22-week study, the weight loss wasn’t maintained.

A reason for this could be that many keto dieters return to their tried-and-true dietary preferences after a period of time, despite initial success. That might be because weight loss results have stalled or the strict keto plan was too hard to follow.

Research also suggests keto dieters lose a greater percentage of lean body mass — the muscles that burn calories and help keep your metabolism running. This can affect your weight loss abilities in the future.

The bottom line

Two popular diets — the vegan diet and the ketogenic diet — stand at polar opposites in terms of food strategy, but they’re likewise popular for their promise to get the pounds off.

Experts will tell you that you can expect to see results on either diet — but they may not last unless you can sustain this new lifestyle for the long term.

Many people on the keto diet do lose weight in the short run, but they also can lose mean muscle mass, and one study found they were no longer in ketosis six months after starting the diet.

For the vegan diet, one study found participants lost about 9 pounds over a year. But experts say that simply eating vegan doesn’t guarantee weight loss, and similarly people may give up the diet due to it being very restrictive.

Experts point out that a successful diet is one that is sustainable in the long term for individuals.

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