Keto is the Most Searched Diet of 2020. Here’s How to Do It the Healthy Way

|Updated Oct 16, 2020
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Despite the fact that it's hard to sustain and requires dieters to eat copious amounts of meat and dairy, Keto is the most searched diet of the year, with over 25.4 million google searches so far, according to a new survey just released, while Intermittent Fasting is second, with 11.7 million searches and Paleo is third with 3.8 million searches. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who are dieting has risen to 58 percent, and 32 percent of those have tried more than three different diets, according to the research. Social media is the first place dieters turn for motivation on their weight-loss journey (62 percent) and then their partners (54 percent) and family members (51 percent), according to the research from Ahrefs,

Meanwhile in another survey just released, the top goals people are pursuing during "quarantine" include: Eat healthier or follow a diet (57 percent); Work out and exercise more (56 percent); Have a more positive attitude (53 percent), according to research by OnePoll for Nutrisystem, which found that 53 percent of the 2,000 respondents said they would be more likely to fail a diet or exercise routine if they pursued these goals alone.

Doing Keto Can Work and Be Healthy When You Take a Plant-Based Approach

Following a healthy or plant-based keto plan is possible, according to experts, but most people do a keto diet by eating a preponderance of red or processed meats, making it one of the least heart-healthy approaches to weight loss. While individuals don't all lose weight the same way, doctors warn that eating a diet high in red meat and saturated fat raises the risk of heart disease and cut out plant-based fruits and vegetables since they are high in carbs, but in doing so they also lose all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

After Keto and Intermittent Fasting and Paleo the other highest trending diets, this year include the DASH diet, which is mostly plant-based with a small amount of fish or lean meat, Atkins, the Military Diet, the Sirfood Diet which Adele used to lose 100 pounds, the Whole30 Diet, the Alkaline Diet and the Noom Diet plan.

Keto diets work on the premise that by following an extremely low-carb, high-fat eating plan, the body learns to use fat as a form of energy, but it does not mean that you have to eat a diet high in meat if you want to take a plant-based approach. In fact, that may be the healthiest way to be keto, according to cardiologists.

How to go keto on a plant-based, healthy approach to eating

Knowing how popular the keto diet is, many people ask: Is it possible to be keto and plant-based? The answer is yes, if you are prepared to substitute animal protein with plant protein such as tofu and tempeh, and keep your fat sources from plant-based foods, such as avocados, vegetable oil, olive oil, or flaxseed oil, and be prepared to eat plenty of nuts. Getting health fats from plant-based sources such as avocados, olives, nuts, seeds and vegetable oil makes it possible, though you may not have the same array of choices as someone eating meat and dairy.

Functional medicine expert Dr. Will Cole, author of Ketotarian, a predominantly plant-based Keto diet program told  Dana Zepeda for The Beet:  “A conventional Keto diet can be really low in vegetables due to the fear of eating too many carbs. However, on a vegan keto diet, you focus on low-starch vegetables like dark leafy greens, which give you a more well-rounded nutrient-dense diet in the long run.”

Chef Suzi Gerber, who is the author of Plant-Based Gourmet, and a healthy plant-based food expert and chef, shares her list of foods that allow you to be keto and plant-based and it includes plenty of nuts, greens, and nut butters.

Here is the hero list of plant-based keto foods:

  • Nuts: Pecans and walnuts are quite low in carbs. Macadamia nuts might be the best. You learn where the different choices are and focus on those.
  • Greens: Spinach and broccoli rabe are low in net carbs. And so is green pepper.  Choose green instead of yellow or orange or red peppers for the net carbs.
  • Meatless meat and non-dairy cheese replacements. If you need to get a fair amount of oils this is a way to go. It's much easier to get oil from meatless meat and non-dairy cheese than just in vegetables alone.
  • Cashew butter in a smoothie, or almond butter. Keep your protein and nut fats high.
  • Avocado are your best friend. You'll want to have avocado on everything, with every meal.

The list of vegetables with low "net carbs" which are the number of carbs absorbed by the body after the fiber, water and all other nutrients are taken into account, include: Celery (1 net carb), Spinach (1 net carb), Asparagus (2 net carbs), Avocado (2 net carbs), Cabbage (3 net carbs), Cauliflower (3 net carbs), Zucchini (3 net carbs), Kale (3 net carbs), Cucumber (3 net carbs), Green Beans (4 net carbs), Broccoli (4 net carbs) and Brussel Sprouts (5 net carbs).

On a keto plan, the goal is to consume no more than 50 grams of carbs a day, so you will load up on these dark leafy vegetables, which also happen to be high in antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins, making this the healthiest way to go keto, according to Dr. Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist at Denver's National Jewish Health. His view is that keto is fine, so long as it doesn't cut out all the plant-based healthy foods that your body needs to be heart healthy.