The Lazy Keto Diet: What Is It and What Are its Risks?

We're going to show you what the "lazy keto" diet is, an alternative diet with a very low carbohydrate intake that can help improve health in certain situations. Keep reading.
The Lazy Keto Diet: What Is It and What Are its Risks?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 08 June, 2022

The lazy keto diet is a very restrictive type of ketogenic diet that aims to reduce carbohydrate intake as much as possible in order to generate certain benefits. However, this dietary approach doesn’t work for everyone. Adherence is not always good and this can condition medium-term follow-up, increasing the rebound effect.

At the same time, it should be noted that low-carbohydrate diets may not be suitable for certain people, especially athletes. In these cases, carbohydrates are the main energy substrate for high-intensity activities.

What’s the “lazy keto” diet based on?

Unlike other more flexible ketogenic diet protocols, the lazy keto diet allows a maximum daily intake of 20 grams (0.8 oz) of carbohydrates. In this way, it ensures a constant state of ketosis in which the liver produces glucose from other elements, such as amino acids and fatty acids.

In this version, calories aren’t counted. The only thing that matters is to control that limit of 20 grams of carbohydrates.

This may have positive effects in the treatment of some pathologies, such as type 2 diabetes. This is evidenced by research published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

In fact, this type of diet became popular to improve the management of diseases associated with the central nervous system, as in the case of drug-resistant epilepsy. There’s much evidence that this approach significantly reduces the intensity and frequency of seizures. It may be a desirable alternative for these patients.

They’re now being used to improve body composition. However, this has its pros and cons.

If there’s a metabolic pathology, they can work. Along with other good habits. But in the case of people who are only overweight, there are less restrictive options that will produce greater adherence over time.

We must also seek the patient’s comfort.
Lazy keto diet.
Weight-loss diets must be acceptable, in order to produce long-term adherence.

Risks of the “lazy keto” diet

The risks of the lazy keto diet are limited. It’s a safe approach to health, although it may produce certain short-term side effects.

Most of them are gastrointestinal, such as constipation, and they’re caused by the lack of fiber that comes with this diet. After all, this substance is necessary to increase the bolus volume and to facilitate transit in the digestive tract.

You may also experience what is known as ketogenic flu during the first few days. This is described in an article published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

It causes tiredness, headaches in some cases, and fatigue. While it does subside as the days go by, for some people it can cause excessive discomfort. A progressive introduction to the approach would reduce the intensity of this problem.

But perhaps the main risk is associated with the practice of exercise. Doing physical activity in ketosis conditions will cause a decrease in performance.

And when we talk about strength work, the incidence of muscle injuries could also be increased. This is why intense sport isn’t recommended at this time.

If the aim is to improve body composition, it’s possible to adopt a lazy keto diet, albeit accompanied by light aerobic exercise. The high protein intake will be efficient in retaining lean tissue, avoiding catabolism. In turn, the ketosis situation will stimulate the mobilization and oxidation of fats.

Keto diet.
Ketogenic diets should be prescribed by nutritionists who will guide people along the way. Especially as to how they should exercise.

An extreme and difficult to follow version

As you’ve seen, the lazy keto diet is an extreme version of the ketogenic diet. It isn’t easy to follow for most people, as it entails an ironclad restriction of food.

It can become monotonous and repetitive, leaving aside the gastrointestinal effects it can cause. For this reason, adherence isn’t usually good.

Finally, keep in mind that if the goal is to improve overall health, it won’t be enough to optimize the diet. It’ll be necessary to implement a series of habits as a whole.

For example, it’s essential to promote the practice of physical exercise on a regular basis, especially emphasizing strength work. In this way, internal inflammation is kept under control.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Saslow, L. R., Mason, A. E., Kim, S., Goldman, V., Ploutz-Snyder, R., Bayandorian, H., Daubenmier, J., Hecht, F. M., & Moskowitz, J. T. (2017). An Online Intervention Comparing a Very Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations Versus a Plate Method Diet in Overweight Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of medical Internet research19(2), e36.
  • Ułamek-Kozioł, M., Czuczwar, S. J., Januszewski, S., & Pluta, R. (2019). Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy. Nutrients11(10), 2510.
  • Bostock, E., Kirkby, K. C., Taylor, B. V., & Hawrelak, J. A. (2020). Consumer Reports of “Keto Flu” Associated With the Ketogenic Diet. Frontiers in nutrition7, 20.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.