The Only Rule You Need To Follow On The 'Lazy Keto' Diet

Technically, losing weight should be as simple as eating a bit less than usual, while getting in some extra exercise, but for most of us, a lot more strategy — and prep work! — is involved. We use calorie counters to track every morsel we eat, or follow plans like Weight Watchers or Noom to guide us towards a certain calorie or macro-nutrient maximum. Other options, such as eating a low-carbohydrate or a ketogenic diet, are less about a specific calorie count than they are about avoiding specific types of foods, but those also require a lot of food label scrutiny, and many low-carbers and keto fans find they have more success when they do track calories or macronutrients, too (per Men's Health). 

The one exception here may be following what's been dubbed "lazy keto," a dieting strategy that, as its name suggests, is perfect for lazy people who'd rather not be bothered with food-tracking apps, measuring cups, and food scales. With this approach, you only have to track one thing every day: how many carbs you eat. Your goal is to eat less than 20 carbohydrates a day (per Health).

Health experts are split on the value of lazy keto

So should you try lazy keto? Experts don't see eye to eye on whether this particular riff on the ketogenic diet is healthy. Susan Wolver, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, who's board-certified in obesity medicine, said this is actually the approach she recommends most to her patients. "The best eating plan is a plan that [you'll] be able to stick to," she told SHAPE, adding that the ketogenic diet, as it's traditionally followed, is "a lot of work that's probably unnecessary," because as long as you don't eat more than 20 carbs a day, you will be in ketosis.

But Melanie Boehmer, MS, RD, CDN, CISSN, and outpatient dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital, questioned whether lazy keto will keep your body in ketosis. "Ketosis is not just a matter of paying attention to your carbohydrates," Boehmer told Men's Health, explaining that if you overeat protein, you might not enter the fat-burning state that makes keto so effective. "If you're interested in doing the ketogenic diet, commit to doing the ketogenic diet," she said.