Within the past several years, the ketogenic diet rose to popularity because of the proven weight loss stories. Not only that, people lost weight while focusing on butter, bacon, cheese, meats, and other high-fat foods. That’s appealing to lot of people, but it isn’t exactly the healthiest way to diet. That’s the “dirty” version of keto, but there’s still a way to successfully lose weight, focusing on high-fat, keto-approved foods that are healthier for the body.
How The Ketogenic Diet Works
If you subscribe to the ketogenic (keto) diet, the idea is that you consume a lot of fat, some protein, and very minimal carbs. The idea behind this diet is that the body enters into a state of ketosis by depriving it of sugars and carbohydrates. Instead of burning glucose for energy, the body begins to burn fat for energy. It takes a few days or even a week for the body to enter into this low-carb, fat-burning state.
On a base level, roughly 70% of your total caloric intake comes from fat. Another 20-25% comes from protein, and the remaining 5% comes from carbohydrates. It has a popular reputation because of the quick fat loss, but people tend to focus on the wrong fats. While it’s keto-approved to eat a bacon cheeseburger with no bun, that isn’t the healthiest meal to eat daily. Sure, this meal fits the keto parameters of high fat and protein content, but it’s also difficult for the body to digest. Fortunately, there are much cleaner fats and proteins that can keep the body in a state of ketosis.
What Is Clean Keto?
Clean keto is a form of eating that keeps the body within the same macronutrient keto guidelines. The clear difference is that it is a healthier, nutrient-dense approach that enhances micronutrient intake. Food quality is very important. Clean keto typically consists of olive oil, non-starchy vegetables, grass-fed/grass-finished beef, MCT oil, avocados, coconut milk, almonds, wild-caught seafood, pine nuts, chia seeds, almond butter, free-range eggs, and more. Focusing on these foods helps to limit your consumption of processed meats, antibiotics, hormone-rich foods, etc. A potential meal could consist of wild-caught salmon with a side salad drizzled with a coconut oil dressing. Not only does clean keto help promote weight loss, but it also offers long-term benefits that include:
- Improved digestion
- Better immune function
- Faster metabolism
- Sustained energy levels
- Improved skin
- Steady weight loss
- Improved focus
When you focus on healthier, keto-approved foods, you’re able to consume more micronutrients. This helps to enhance your fiber, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant intake, setting the body up for optimal physical and mental health.
What Is Dirty Keto?
The sad reality is that when people diet, they tend to gravitate to the unhealthiest parts of it. Is it possible to get away with eating this or that? We hear it all the time when it comes to diet restrictions during the Full Body Cleanse. Dirty keto essentially prays on the weakest parts of people’s cravings, showing them that they can eat “unhealthy” foods and still lose weight.
Dirty keto still follows the same macronutrient guidelines as clean keto, adhering to the limited carbohydrate intake. More often than not, dirty keto involves eating a lot of pre-made or packaged convenience foods, bacon, butter, lots of meat, protein bars, shakes, and other low-carb options. It’s trendy, but it isn’t necessarily healthy. Ultimately, it’s lazy dieting, involving high-sodium meals, fatty dairy products, and more. The meals are fatty and protein-rich, but there’s no emphasis on food quality. You still get the macronutrients, but limiting micronutrients can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
The Bottom Line
The primary difference between the clean and dirty versions of keto is the quality of food. It’s optimal to choose clean keto and focus on high-fat, nutrient-dense whole foods. You can eat spinach, kale, asparagus, kohlrabi, cucumbers, okra, fennel, rutabaga, spaghetti squash, turnips, eggplant, and collards during clean keto. Dirty keto doesn’t encourage those foods. Lastly, dirty keto has known negative effects on long-term health, so keep it clean if you’re doing keto.