Vegan vs Keto Diet: How Do These Restrictive Eating Patterns Compare?

In recent years, two restrictive diets have surged in popularity - the vegan and ketogenic diets. Veganism eliminates all animal products for ethical and health reasons while keto restricts carbs to induce fat burning. 

At first glance, a diet emphasizing plants and one focused on high fat animal foods appear diametrically opposed. 

However, both diets aim to reduce inflammation through eating whole, minimally processed foods. This article examines the vegan and keto diets by comparing their macronutrient breakdowns, approved and avoided foods, potential health benefits, nutritional adequacy, and long-term adherence. 

Read on to determine which restrictive regime best aligns with your values and goals.

Vegan vs Keto Diet: How Do These Restrictive Eating Patterns Compare?

Macro-nutrient Ratios in Vegan and Keto Diets 

The vegan diet is typically higher carb, lower fat and lower protein consisting of 60-70% carbs, 20-30% fat and 10-15% protein. 

However, junk food vegans do exist. In contrast, keto is a very high fat, very low carb, and moderate protein diet made up of 70-80% fat, 15-20% protein and only 5-10% carbs. 

Both emphasize whole food options but keto includes plenty of animal products.

Foods Permitted and Avoided 

Vegans avoid all animal products including meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey, gelatin and often silk or leather. 

A vegan diet centers around vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans/legumes, whole grains, and meat substitutes like tofu. Keto eliminates grains, starchy vegetables, beans/legumes, most fruits, refined carbs, and added sugars. 

Keto staples include non-starchy veggies, nuts/seeds, meats, eggs, full-fat dairy, healthy fats and oils. Keto includes animal foods vegans omit and cuts out carb-heavy plant foods that vegans eat freely.

Potential Health Benefits

Both diets help reduce risk factors for chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Vegans typically exhibit lower BMI, total and LDL cholesterol and better blood sugar regulation. 

However, the diet must be well-planned to avoid deficiencies. Keto significantly improves triglycerides, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and inflammatory markers when adhered to consistently. 

Anecdotally, keto provides mental clarity and stable energy unmatched by other diets. However, fiber intake may be inadequate. 

Both diets are anti-inflammatory when centered around wholesome foods. Ultimately, any restrictive diet followed long-term requires supplementation and monitoring to avoid malnutrition.

Nutritional Adequacy

Vegans must supplement vitamin B12 and possibly iron, zinc, vitamin D, EPA/DHA, calcium, and protein depending on food choices. 

Without planning, deficiencies develop over time. Ketogenic dieters also require attention to micronutrient intake, especially vitamins C, E, K, folate, magnesium, and fiber, given the diet’s restrictions. 

Dietary supplements tailored to the diet are recommended. Those with medical conditions or on medication should consult a doctor before embarking on restrictive diets like veganism or keto. 

When well-planned, both diets can meet nutritional needs, however close monitoring is vital.  


Vegan and ketogenic diets represent opposite extremes on the dietary spectrum. Vegans eliminate all animal products while reaching for unlimited fruits, vegetables and grains. 

Ketogenic dieters omit most plant-based carbs in favor of generous animal foods and fat. However, both can foster health when centered on whole foods and practiced mindfully long-term. 

Be aware that supplementation and physician monitoring is key for safety and nutrient adequacy. For those drawn to animal products, keto combined with organic plants offers strong benefits. 

For staunch veganism backers, a whole food, lower fat vegan version maximizes nutrition. In both cases, the diet must match beliefs and needs to enjoy long-term compliance and results. 

Consult a functional medicine practitioner when adopting restrictive diets to ensure safety and success.