Keto diet, a food plan where you consume a low amount of carbs and a high amount of fat so that your body goes into a state of ketosis, which helps you burn fat instead of the glucose from carbs.
“Keto is not a typical low-carb high-fat diet. It may cause your body to experience some amount of adaptation and chaos before becoming beneficial,” says Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. Plus, you’ve probably also heard of some of the side effects of keto, including the keto flu (where you experience fatigue, nausea, and headaches), bad breath, and dehydration. The alternative, which leads you to have some more flexibility on your eating: dirty keto.
Counting calories while following a keto diet (low carb, high fat).
So apparently, dirty keto follows the same principles as OG keto but focuses mainly on those macronutrients you need (60-75% of your calories from fat, 15-30% of your calories from protein, and 5-10% of your calories from carbs), and not much else (like where exactly those macros come from).
For example, instead of going all in on avocado and olive oil, you opt for more processed foods, like sliced cheese and pork rinds (two items seen in a Facebook community dedicated to dirty keto).
Difference between Dirty keto & Regular keto diet
At its core, keto is all about minimizing your carbs and increasing the fats you eat to get your body to use of fat as a form of energy (a.k.a. ketosis), says Scott Keatley, R.D., of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. You’re also encouraged to get your macronutrients from healthy foods like organic means, limit saturated fats, and focus on healthy fats.
“The difference between dirty keto and clean keto refers to the source of foods you eat on the ketogenic diet,” says Dr. Luiza Petre, a board-certified cardiologist and weight-loss and management specialist. Dirty keto relies on macronutrient sources that are not of the healthiest origin, meaning processed foods, low in vegetables and fibers, explains Petre. On the clean or regular keto diet, you choose your macronutrients wisely from foods such as grass-fed organic meat, while limiting saturated fats and incorporating healthy fat sources such as avocado, olive oil, and nuts.
Dirty keto seems to not care as much about where your fat sources come from, says Keatley. So, if you want to have a fast-food egg-and-sausage sandwich (no biscuit, though!) followed by a bun-less bacon cheeseburger for lunch and ice cream for dinner, you’re golden…on this diet, at least. Dirty keto dieters also don’t pay as much attention to vegetables and other keto-friendly sources of fiber.
That’s likely because you’re choosing those super-processed foods, which don’t add much to your diet overall, over ones that can actually supplement your health, like healthy fats and vegetables. Cue the feelings of total crap.
Well, will it work like the keto diet? A.k.a., can it help me lose weight?
Sure—even if you’re in ketosis by following dirty keto, well, you’re still in ketosis.
“The goal of a keto diet is to place your body into a physiological state of ketosis, where your body uses fat instead of sugar because there is limited available sugar,” Keatley says. “This state can be achieved through both good and bad methods.”
What’s With Intermittent Fasting On The Keto Diet?
- Though, keep in mind that calories still matter. The healthy range for women is 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day—but that’s for maintaining your current weight; subtract 500 calories from your caloric needs to figure out how many calories you need to consume to lose about a pound a week.
- As for whether or not dirty keto is healthy—even in comparison to the original keto diet—that’s another story. Dirty keto doesn’t necessarily promote health (or healthy weight loss), thanks to processed foods that are typically eaten in place of other foods that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, fats, and fiber, says Keatley.
- So what’s the verdict? Should I try the dirty keto diet?
- Yeah, probably not. “It’s a temporary fix at best,” says Keatley. At worst, it’s “a really good way to lose lean body mass that is difficult to get back and aids in maintaining a high functioning metabolism,” he adds.
- If I’m being honest, though, the keto diet in general isn’t great for people in the long-term, says Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., a non-diet dietitian based in New York City. “While you may lose weight in the short term, 90-95% of people who lose weight with diets will gain it back and two-thirds of people gain back more than they lost,” she says.
- “This type of yo-yo dieting—or weight cycling—can be more detrimental to your health than just staying at a higher weight.” And if you throw a nutrient-poor diet into the mix, like with dirty keto, you’re not doing yourself any favors either, she says. Sounds like a definite hard pass for dirty keto.
- The bottom line:
- Dirty keto might seem like an easier version of the keto diet, but it’s decidedly less healthy—and likely even less sustainable.Before you give dirty keto a try, Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNC, a clinical nutritionist, says you must understand that dirty keto isn’t really keto at all.
- “Will dirty keto technically help to keep you in ketosis? Maybe,” says Axe. “Will you lose weight while eating crappy, albeit low-carb, foods? Possibly. Will dirty keto support a healthy body? Absolutely not.” Axe says that restricting carbs doesn’t mean you can eat crappy food instead of healthy options.
- Is anyone a good candidate for the dirty keto diet? Petre explains that dirty keto might be an acceptable transitional stage for those used to eating junk food, who might find it difficult to make a dramatic 180-degree change. “Needless to say, a dirty keto would offset any benefits of the keto diet over the long-term, if a transition to a clean healthy keto diet does not occur,” Petre adds.
The Lazy keto approach is typically not tightly tracking calories or sticking to protein and fat macros but instead keeping your carb intake under 20 grams or less per day i.e. during Lazy keto, we dont count calories, only counting carbs, usually staying under 20 grams of carbs per day.
Most people new to keto are doing some form of lazy keto or even low-carb disguised as keto, and I understand. Keto is a vast topic and can get pretty scientific when you start to educate yourself. It can be intimidating!
If lazy keto is what you need to change your life and it will allow you to take control of your health then sit back in the recliner and get comfortable.
If you are not balancing your calories, fat and protein consumption along with your carb intake, you are probably missing out on many of the extended health benefits from keto and your ultimate success as time goes on.
Should You Go Lazy Keto or Strict Keto?
If you are just getting started, I suggest trying a more informed approach by tracking what you are eating and seeing how you react to the new changes in your diet. You will learn a great deal about your body and the foods you eat.
On the other hand, if you’ve been doing lazy keto for a while and are hitting a stall in your weight loss or want to try and maximize your results why not give a more focused approach a try?
Try it for a few weeks and see what may be causing you to stall. Are you overdoing the fat, overeating or under-eating protein or consuming too many calories? You will know for sure with just a little more effort, and you can adjust as needed. I think you will be surprised by how much impact even small changes can have on your keto success.
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Not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice.