Will Vegetables Slow Weight Loss

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/30/2023

A keto word cloud

All right, you’re convinced that keto is the way to go.

You’re enticed by the success stories:

  • More energy
  • Excellent weight loss
  • Sharper mental clarity

Hey, you’ve even heard of people reversing their Type 2 diabetes.

And all without counting calories.

Although these sound almost too good to be true, they’re actual benefits you can get from the ketogenic diet.

But before you go crazy eating jillions of super high-protein bacon double cheeseburgers (without the bun), you should know that a healthy keto diet includes consuming a large amount of vegetables. Yes, even though vegetables contain carbohydrates, you need them.

I’ll explain. But first, I’ll tell you what prompted me to tell you to be sure to eat lots of veggies:

Someone told me every time they ate vegetables, their weight loss while on keto slowed down. This led them to wonder if the carb content of vegetables is too high. They were still losing weight, but the loss noticeably slowed down. Should they skip the vegetables, they wondered?

No way! Let’s take a look at why you need vegetables on keto.

In this article:

  1. Vegetables are carbs, but…
  2. Why Most Vegetables Are Fine On Keto
  3. Keto Vegetable Superstars
  4. Your Ideal Weight Loss Goal
  5. Vegetables Help Lower Your Risk Of A Fatty Liver
  6. Eat Your Veggies

Yes, Vegetables Are Carbs, But…

A variety of raw vegetables in a wicker basket

Vegetables are carbohydrates. And carbs are the macro that blocks weight loss. So, if you drop your carbs down to zero - which means you’d be eating no vegetables - you’d definitely lose weight faster.

But eliminating vegetables from your diet comes with a price.

You’d create problematic nutritional deficiencies for yourself, which can lead to unwanted effects including:

  • Digestive problems like constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis (mostly because of a lack of fiber in your diet)
  • An increase in your risk of cancer
  • A higher likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes
  • Higher blood pressure
  • A greater risk of developing heart disease

Doesn’t sound at all worth it to skip vegetables and lose out on crucial vitamins and other benefits, does it? Plus, it would violate my foundational principle which is “Get healthy to lose weight, don't lose weight to get healthy”.

Your health is my primary focus. I know that weight loss may be your number one goal, but I promise that you don’t have to sacrifice your weight loss for your health. The entire premise of my Healthy KetoTM program is that it will help you regain your health, energy, and vitality while you also lose weight.

And there’s more to the vegetable requirement.


Why Most Vegetables Are Fine On Keto

In general, vegetables have the lowest ranking on the glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly a particular food will raise your blood sugar.

For example, some foods like refined carbohydrates make your blood sugar shoot up very quickly. They’re easier for your body to change into glucose, the sugar your body uses for energy, than more slowly digested carbs like those in vegetables. Eat a lot of refined carbohydrates, and you'll have a hard time controlling your blood sugar, even with Fat Storing Hormone and diabetes medications. Which is why they’re off-limits on the keto diet.

Vegetables don’t have the same effect, which is why they score low on the index. In fact, they score lower than fruit - which is another reason you sharply limit fruit on keto. (A small amount of berries is fine. Berries rank low on the glycemic index, are high in anti-oxidants, and are keto-friendly.)

But You May Want To Limit These

Most people won’t have problems consuming any kind of vegetables on a ketogenic diet. But, if your metabolism is slowed down from years of dieting, I recommend you sharply limit these items:

  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Corn (which is really a grain, and you should never eat)
  • Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Squash
  • Turnips
  • Bell peppers

Especially try eliminating corn, potatoes, and yams to see if your weight loss speeds up again. Most people are fine to consume the rest of the items on the list in very limited quantities. But if you suspect any of them are affecting your metabolism and slowing your weight loss, stop eating them and see what happens.

Now that I’ve laid out the potentially problematic vegetables, let’s take a look at the keto nutritional superstars.


Now that I’ve laid out the potentially problematic vegetables, let’s take a look at the keto nutritional superstars.

The vegetables on this list rank very low on the glycemic index, and should not affect the pace of your weight loss at all. Not only that, but they’re nutrient-dense powerhouses, loaded with essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Broccoli
  • Boy choy
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Asparagus
  • Radishes
  • Avocados
  • Beet tops
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Eggplant

Since ideally, you would eat 7-10 cups of vegetables each day, I recommend you eat one large salad made from many of these items. But if you simply can’t abide by the idea, no worries - try this vegetable shake recipe I created for people who dislike vegetables or who simply want a healthy change from the salad.

As well, check out my video about 17 Ways To Get More Veggies Into Your Diet. I’ve put together a number of ideas for how you can up your vegetable consumption in some clever ways that don’t involve staring down a large amount of raw ones on your plate. (I confess: I don’t particularly like vegetables, but I eat them daily because I know first-hand their benefits.)


This Is Your Ideal Weight Loss Goal

Remember, your goal isn’t to lose as much weight as quickly as possible. Your ideal goal is to lose weight at a rate that keeps you healthy, is maintainable, and doesn’t leave you with nutritional deficiencies or a fatty liver.


Vegetables Help Lower Your Risk Of A Fatty Liver

Wait, what? A fatty liver, what’s that?

a sign saying Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver is also known as hepatic steatosis. It happens when fat builds up in your liver to potentially dangerous amounts. Having small amounts of fat in your liver is normal, but too much can become a health problem.

Too much fat in your liver can cause liver inflammation, which can damage your liver and create scarring. In severe cases, this scarring can lead to liver failure. And your liver is an incredibly important organ. It’s the second-largest one in your body, and it helps process nutrients from the food and drinks you consume. As well, your liver filters harmful substances from your blood.

A diet low in key nutrients that spikes your Fat Storing Hormone levels can lead to Fat Storing Hormone resistance and put you at risk of fatty liver disease. Yet another reason to eat your veggies and not sacrifice your liver’s health for the sake of quicker weight loss.


Eat Your Veggies!

If, as a kid, your parents urged you to eat your veggies, it turns out they were right. Although they might not have realized just how good their advice was; nonetheless, it’s excellent.

You can see how eating enough vegetables support your health in several key ways. They’re an integral part of my Healthy KetoTM plan. As well, you’re improving your long-term health by lowering your risk of nutritional deficiencies, fatty liver, and a host of other unpleasant conditions that can arise when you forgo eating veggies.

So, eat up! Try a big salad, or my shake recipe, or one of those 17 Ways To Get More Veggies Into Your Diet.

You have so many options available to you, there’s really no excuse for skipping your vegetables and risking your health.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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