The Veto diet can be simply defined as the vegetarian ketogenic diet (Vegetarian + Keto = Veto).
Now, the chances are you have come across the ‘keto’ or ‘ketogenic’ diet many times over the past couple of years. Most people have jumped aboard the bandwagon and are reaping its benefits.
It is a high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate diet. It is free of most animal protein (excluding eggs and dairy) and includes many plant-based foods like tofu, spinach, cauliflower, tempeh, avocados, olive oil, MCT oil, to name a few.
The purpose of this diet is to get your body into ketosis and burn fats, instead of carbohydrates, for fuel. It does not involve hunger or deprivation. The approach is grounded in science, but it’s based on the way humans have been eating since the beginning of time. Their sustenance didn’t come from cereals and breads, but instead from nature – berries, nuts, herbs etc.
When you hear the word “diet” you think of weight loss. Period. But studies have shown that the veto diet can not only assist with weight loss remarkably fast but, also boost brain health, gut bacteria, reduce inflammation, and balance hormones.
Let’s go back to the basics:
When you consume a diet rich in carbohydrates, your body converts those carbs into glucose (blood sugar) which spikes your blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels rise, they signal your body to create insulin - a hormone that carries glucose to your cells so that it can be used for energy, thus spiking your insulin levels (aka insulin spike).
Glucose is your body’s preferred energy source. As long as you’re consuming carbohydrates, your body will keep turning them into sugar which is then burned for energy. In other words, when glucose is present, your body will refuse to burn off its fat stores.
How Veto diet works?
When carbs are removed from the diet, the body is depleted of glycogen stores (stored glucose) therefore, it starts to tuck into stored fat. Your body starts converting fatty acids into *ketones, putting your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
5 steps to ketosis-fuelled weight loss:
- Reducing consumption of glucose from carbohydrates
- Without glucose for fuel, your body turns to an alternative source: dietary fat.
- Your liver produces ketones and you start to burn fat
- As ketone levels rise, you enter the healthy state of ketosis
- Ketosis results in quick and consistent weight loss until you reach a healthy, stable weight.
Essentially, ketosis, is a survival mechanism whereby the body is able to keep creating energy using a secondary source, derived from fat, until a person consumes carbohydrates again. The shift, from using glucose to breaking down fat as a source of energy, usually happens over 2 to 6 days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates, per day.
The benefits of a veto diet:
- Attributed to treating neurological disorders
Studies have suggested that the veto diet can be helpful in treating a few neurological disorders including headaches, Parkinson’s, sleep disorders, and head injuries such as concussions. Most neurological diseases share a common underlying abnormality: their brain cells are deficient or defective in producing energy. Ketones that are released, during ketosis, increase the number and functioning of mitochondria (“energy factory” brain cells).
Studies have shown to improve the cognitive functioning of Alzheimer’s patients; improve the severity of symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s; and improve the learning abilities and social skills in autistic children.
- Supports weight loss
The veto diet has shown to reduce hunger and induce weight loss. Being in a constant state of ketosis has shown a significant reduction in body weight and an increase, or retention, of muscle mass. When you switch to a keto diet, the body utilises all of its glucose stores before falling into a state of ketosis – this process alone can result in a drop of about 2Kg.
- Seen to reduce insulin resistance better than other diets
Due to releasing less insulin – seeing as carbohydrate intake is reduced –two things happen: you store less fat and your blood sugar levels normalise.
- Shown to treat and reduce inflammation as well as some health conditions
The ketogenic diet was first established as treatment for suppressing seizure activity in children with refractory epilepsy.
The veto diet exempts foods that feed inflammation (e.g. sugar, processed grains and foods) and is high in anti-inflammatory foods - eggs, avocados, cauliflower, to name a few.
- Reduces carbon footprint
Egg and dairy production have much less of an impact on the environment than lamb, beef, farmed salmon, poultry, turkey, and pork.
Plant-based foods not only reduce greenhouse gases, but also global acidification, eutrophication, and land and water use.
During the diet transition you will experience uncomfortable side effects from significantly cutting carbs. We like to refer to this as the “Veto flu”. These may last a few days but, will pass once your body has entered ketosis. These symptoms include (to name a few):
- Brain “fog”
It is important to keep hydrated – with water and herbal teas – supplement with probiotics, and/or partake in light exercise to ease the symptoms.
Is it healthy and should you choose it?
The keto diet is one of the only eating plans that shifts your fuel source from carbs to fat – and it’s hard to overestimate the beneficial effects of that single change. Utilizing fat for fuel allows for a slimmer and healthier body.
Keto has been shown to improve blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term. There is also solid evidence showing that it can reduce seizures in children, sometimes as effective as medication.
Our advice to you would be to look past the sexy headlines and focus on sustainability for you and the planet. We cannot deem this diet as healthy as everyones body is different and so what might work for one, won't for another. All we can recommend is trying it and reaping its health benefits.
**Disclaimer: If you have any underlying health issues, please consult your doctor before starting this diet.