The ketogenic (keto) diet is a rather low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has recently gained popularity for its suggested health benefits
Many people follow this eating pattern to promote weight loss and treat type 2 diabetes.
There are two sorts of keto diets: dirty and clean keto, although the differences between them aren't always obvious. Hence, you may want to learn more about what each one includes.
This article looks at the key differences between dirty and clean keto.
What is Clean Keto?
Clean keto focuses on whole, nutritious foods and places more emphasis on food quality than the traditional keto diet, which includes no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, a moderate protein intake of 15-20% of daily calories, and a high fat intake of at least 75 % of daily calories.
Restricting carbohydrates puts your body into ketosis, a metabolic state in which you begin to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
This can lead to several potential health benefits, including weight loss, decreased blood sugar levels, and even a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
Clean keto consists primarily of whole foods from high quality sources such as grass-fed beef, free range eggs, wild-caught seafood, olive oil, and non-starchy vegetables.
Foods high in carbohydrates, including cereals, rice, potatoes, pastries, bread, pasta, and most fruits, are severely restricted or prohibited.
Clean keto also minimizes your intake of processed foods, although it can still be eaten in moderation.
Clean keto refers to the traditional keto diet designed to help your body burn fat as the main source of fuel instead of carbohydrates. This eating pattern consists of whole, minimally processed foods that are low in carbohydrates but high in fat.
What is Dirty Keto?
While dirty keto is still low in carbohydrates and high in fat, its food sources are often not as nutritious.
While this approach allows you to technically achieve ketosis and enjoy some of the benefits of the keto diet, it can miss out on some important nutrients and increase your risk of disease.
Contains processed foods
Because it permits heavily processed and packaged foods, dirty keto is also known as lazy keto.
It's popular with people looking to achieve ketosis without spending a lot of time preparing clean keto meals.
For example, instead of grilling a grass-fed steak and making a low-carb salad with a high-fat dressing, someone on dirty keto might order a double bacon cheeseburger with no bun.
Dirty keto meals are often high in sodium. In salt-sensitive people, high sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.
Processed foods are also likely to have a lot more additives and fewer micronutrients that your body needs. In addition, they have been linked to several negative health effects, including weight gain, diabetes, all-cause mortality, and heart disease.
Additionally, the addition of sugar in many processed foods can prevent you from achieving and maintaining ketosis.
Micronutrients may be missing
Dirty keto foods do not contain the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
If you choose processed foods instead of nutritious whole foods, you can use micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and vitamins C, D and K.
While these nutrients can be obtained from supplements, studies suggest that your body digests and uses them better from whole foods.
While the dirty keto diet can be tempting to people on busy schedules, it emphasizes processed foods and can severely limit your micronutrient intake.
What are the Main Differences?
The dirty and clean versions of the keto diet vary greatly in food quality.
While the clean keto diet focuses on high-fat, nutritious whole foods - with only the occasional processed product - the dirty version allows for large amounts of packaged ready-to-eat meals.
For example, people who follow clean keto stock up on non-starchy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, and asparagus - while those on dirty keto may eat very few vegetables.
The sodium content of dirty keto tends to be much higher.
In general, it's best to avoid dirty keto because of its negative long-term health effects like increased risk of disease and nutritional deficiencies.
Clean and dirty keto differ in food quality. Clean keto contains far more whole, nutritious foods, while dirty keto contains many processed foods that may be lacking in nutrients.
Eating foods on Clean Keto
Clean keto allows for a number of different foods that are relatively easy to prepare and that will satisfy your cravings throughout the day.
Here are some examples of tasty foods to eat on this diet:
High-fat sources of protein: grass-fed beef, chicken thighs, salmon, tuna, shellfish, eggs, bacon (in moderation), full-fat Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese
Low-carb veggies: cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, green beans, peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, and celery
Limited servings of berries: strawberries, blueberries and blackberries
Sources of fat: grass butter, ghee, avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, sesame oil, and walnut oil
Nuts, nut butters and seeds: walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts as well as hemp, flax, sunflower, chia and pumpkin seeds
Cheese (in moderation): Cheddar, cream cheese, Gouda, Swiss, blue cheese and Manchego
Drinks: water, mineral water, diet soda, green tea, black tea, coffee, protein shakes, milk alternatives, vegetable juice and kombucha
Keto foods include low-carb vegetables, as well as plenty of healthy sources of fat and protein such as fish, eggs, and avocados.
Is the Dirty Keto a Great Idea?
As explained above, the key difference between dirty keto and clean keto relates to the source of foods you eat on the ketogenic diet. Dirty keto relies on macronutrients that aren't the healthiest sources - processed foods that are low in vegetables and fiber.
On the clean or regular keto diet, choose your macronutrients wisely from foods like grass-fed organic meats while limiting saturated fats and your intake of healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts.
Before you try dirty keto, you need to understand that dirty keto isn't actually keto at all. “Will dirty keto help you stay in ketosis? Maybe. "Are you going to lose weight if you eat crappy, if low-carb, foods? Possibly. Will Dirty Keto Help A Healthy Body? Absolutely not”. Cutting back on carbohydrates doesn't mean you can eat bad food instead of healthy options.
Is Anyone a Good Candidate for the Dirty Keto Diet? Dirty keto could be an acceptable transition period for those used to eating junk food who might find it difficult to make a dramatic 180 degree change.
"Needless to say, if a transition to a clean, healthy keto diet isn't made, Dirty keto will destroy all of the benefits of the keto diet in the long term."
The keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that has several benefits.
While both clean and dirty keto can help your body burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy, diets differ in their makeup. The clean version focuses on whole, nutritious foods, while the dirty version promotes processed products.
Hence, it's best to avoid dirty keto. Clean keto is much more likely to give your body the micronutrients it needs, resulting in a healthier, more well-rounded diet.