For those of us who can’t seem to get on board the keto trend because of how restrictive it is, there’s another option: lazy keto.
A traditional keto diet forces the body to go into ketosis, which is a metabolic state that uses fat for energy instead of glucose (carbs). To enter ketosis, dieters need to be eating fewer than 50 grams of carbs a day for a few days while maintaining a diet that’s high in fat.
Lazy keto is a more flexible take on the diet trend and just focuses on being low carb. Generally, lazy keto followers limit their carb intake to between 20 and 50 grams but don’t need to rigidly track their consumption.
“True keto requires followers to closely track their macro-nutrient intake around 75% of calories from fat, 20% of calories from protein, and 5% of calories from carbs – a ratio that has been tied to weight loss, specifically weight loss from fat rather than muscle,” says Pamela Nisevich Bede, a registered dietitian with Abbott’s ZonePerfect. “Lazy keto is open to more interpretation. It allows an individual to eliminate careful tracking of all macros and simply monitor their carbohydrate intake.”
More: Keto craze: How new keto options can keep you on track
The lax nature of lazy keto may mean that you will never reach a state of ketosis, but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely worthless, according to Kris Sollid, a registered dietitian at Nutrition Communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation.
“For some people there might be a benefit. Maybe not tracking food intake frees up mental energy that is positively directed toward other health and life goals,” she says. “Others might need more discipline and find that closely tracking food choices helps them stay focused.”
Although lazy keto doesn’t call for counting calories and macros, Bede recommends that those following the lazy keto trend make sure that they’re getting enough protein in their diet. She says if you’re not tracking your macros and eating enough fat then your body will start using up muscle for fuel which is something you don’t want.
While there’s still questions surrounding whether or not the keto diet is healthy or sustainable due to its high fat content, Sollid suggests sticking to a diet that is best for you rather than following the latest trend.
“Lazy keto is simply a practical calorie control mechanism that has been branded as the latest life hack to achieve ketosis,” Sollid says. “The truth is that the best diet for sustained weight loss has very little to do with macro-nutrient ratio—it’s the one that you can stick with for the long-term.”