'Lazy keto' diet: 5 things to know about the trendy low carb diet

A registered dietitian shares tips to know about the version of the keto diet.

'Lazy keto' diet: 5 things to know about the trendy low carb diet
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
January 6, 2023, 4:05 AM

The ketogenic, or keto, diet is one of the well-known diets out there, but a simplified version of the high fat, low carbohydrate diet is gaining in popularity too.

With "lazy keto", the name of the simplified version, people just count their carbohydrates, and skip the detailed counting of macronutrients, or macros -- fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

"People are very interested in keto and have heard success stories about it," said Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian nutritionist. "And this is the variation that tries to make it more doable for the everyday person."

Here are five things to know about the buzzy way of eating.

1. Lazy keto dieters start by setting a daily carb limit.

Based on the rules of the keto diet, the total number of carbohydrate grams per day should be 5 to 10% of your calories, according to Blatner.

On a 2,000 calorie diet, example, it would be 25 to 50 grams of carbs per day. Carbs on the keto diet are typically counted as net carbs, so total carb grams minus the grams of fiber in a serving.

Most people following a lazy keto diet typically set a limit of 25 to 50 grams of carbs of per day, according to Blatner.

For reference, people following a strict keto diet and counting all of their macros typically aim for a range of 60 to 75% fat, 15 to 30% protein and 5 to 10% carbohydrates, based on total caloric intake, explained Blatner.

2. Lazy keto will not put you into ketosis.

The keto diet is designed to get your body into a state called ketosis whereby your body is so low on carbohydrates, which both make glucose, that it starts burning fat for fuel.

Ketosis also occurs in the body during fasting.

When you are on the lazy keto diet and not counting exactly how much protein and fat you are eating, you may eat too much protein, which will prevent you from going into ketosis, according to Blatner.

"Does that really matter? Not really," she said. "People who are cutting their carbs so dramatically and paying attention so specifically to their diet still end up losing weight and feeling better, but they may just not do it with the actual ketosis."

Blatner recommends just eyeballing protein sizes on the lazy keto diet to make sure the portion is not too much.

"You’re looking for the moderate, palm of hand protein portion sizes," she said.

3. 'Lazy keto' is not the same as 'dirty keto.'

"Lazy [keto] means you’re taking the easy approach to the counting of macros," said Blatner. "Dirty [keto] is when people are eating [high-fat foods] like fast food and bacon and not caring so much about the quality of food."

4. Carbs are still important on the lazy keto diet.

Carbohydrates include not just bread and potato chips but also more nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, lentils, whole grains, beans and dairy.

"Carbs can do a body good if you choose the right ones," said Blatner. "The good ones can do a lot for your gut health, your immunity, your mood and they can do a lot for disease-free, strong, healthy selves."

People who lower their carb intake need to make sure the carbs they are taking in are the ones that are good for them, like leafy green vegetables and berries and whole grains.

"When you cut carbs so low, if you are not very cautious about how you are spending your carbs, you could wind up with some pretty low nutrition," said Blatner. "So be aware that if you’re going to cut carbs, make sure that you’re spending them on the healthiest carbs that you can be and make sure that you’re adding those nutritious [fruits and vegetables] every day."

5. Lazy keto is a diet that needs to be done carefully, ideally with expert advice.

People should always consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new diet, especially one like the lazy keto diet that drops carb intake so severely for most people and risks changing a person's nutritional intake.

Blatner said she does not recommend the lazy keto diet to her clients. She does though encourage people who bring up the diet themselves, in hopes it will excite them into a wellness change.

"I don’t preach this but if it’s done responsibly and it makes somebody excited and excited to care about what they’re eating, I’m all for it," Blatner said of lazy keto. "And it is true that pretty much everyone should get on the bandwagon that your carbs are too much and we're eating bad versions of [carbs]."

Bonus tip: Lazy keto recipes from a woman who lost more than 100 pounds.

Megan Faraday, a 25-year-old woman from Ontario, Canada, lost more than 100 pounds on a lazy keto diet.

"I didn’t only eat foods that are 'allowed' on regular keto," she told "Good Morning America." "I had so many people saying things I ate 'weren’t keto' but for me it didn’t matter what the food was. If I could fit it into my daily carb and calorie allowance, then I would eat it."

Here is a sample day of eating for Faraday on the lazy keto diet.

Breakfast: Homemade spinach, bacon and Feta crustless quiche

6 large eggs
6 slices of bacon (cooked and diced)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
4 oz light feta cheese (crumbled)
75 g frozen chopped spinach
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

In a skillet, cooked frozen spinach until softened and drain of excess liquid.

In a bowl, mix together eggs, almond milk and all other ingredients (set aside some of the feta for later). Season to your liking.

Pour mixture into pie dish.

Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 35 minutes. Use the feta that was set aside and add to top quiche 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Makes four servings with 1.5 grams net carbohydrates per serving.

Lunch: Homemade cheddar bacon ranch chicken salad

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 T light ranch dressing
1 T light mayonnaise
2 slices reduced sodium bacon
1/4 cup light shredded cheddar cheese
1 green onion

Cook your chicken breasts in the oven at 400 for 30-35 Minutes.

While cooking, fry and dice bacon, chop onions, and shred cheese.

When cool, shred the chicken and mix all ingredients together.

Makes two servings, with 2.5 grams net carbohydrates per serving.

Dinner: Buffalo stuffed chicken breast

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T chopped green onion
1/4 cup light cream cheese
2 T light blue cheese dressing
1/3 cup light shredded cheddar cheese
14/ cup buffalo sauce
4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Mix together cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon and buffalo hot sauce.

Fill the chicken breast with the mixture, coat the outside of the chicken with buffalo sauce and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 35 minutes.

Drizzle with blue cheese dressing as top with green onion after baking.

Pair with your favorite low carb vegetable such as broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini.

Makes two servings, with 3.5 grams net carbohydrates per serving.


Meat, cheese and veggie plate
Protein shake
1 serving of cheese snacks


Serving of low-calorie, low-carb ice cream

Recipes reprinted with permission from Megan Faraday.

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Aug. 4, 2020.

Related Topics