You may have heard of the term keto, but are unsure of what it means. Keto refers to a ketogenic diet that aims to reduce carbs. There are two iterations of a keto diet, clean and dirty.
Whereas a clean keto diet is awash with nutrients, dirty keto is one often made up of artificial sweeteners and processed foods. At first glance, many may assume that a dirty keto diet is one to be avoided.
However, the keto-based diet does the same job as its counterparts and ensures carbs are kept low and those keen to lose weight can take advantage of ketosis. Some may debate whether dirty keto foods should be consumed, but if you’re keen to reduce your carb intake, it is likely dirty keto will play a role in your lifestyle at some point.
What Benefits Can I Expect From Dirty Keto Foods?
As most studies don’t focus on the food but rather the carb restriction it produces, a dirty keto diet can still provide the same benefits as a clean keto approach, which is detailed as follows.
- The potential reversal of type 2 diabetes.
- More control when eating.
- Less inflammation.
- Potential weight loss.
- It can be therapeutic to those with neurodegenerative diseases.
You must be realistic when enjoying food and understand that clean keto food won’t always be available. Fortunately, a dirty keto diet ensures that carbs can be restricted without people worrying about what they eat.
Despite the benefits available when embarking on a dirty keto diet, this doesn’t mean you should consume dirty keto food for long durations.
Are There Drawbacks If I Consume Dirty Keto Foods Regularly?
Although there are plenty of benefits for you to enjoy regarding dirty keto, there are some drawbacks you must be aware of so you know when to consume dirty keto food, and understand when you should transition to a clean option. The following is an overview of some of the potential drawbacks you could endure when consuming dirty keto food long-term.
Lack of Fibre
As dirty keto can often forgo vegetables, it means there is little fiber being consumed. Fiber helps the digestive system keep its momentum, and if it’s not present, then a bloated sensation and constipation may follow.
There is also the risk of the lack of fiber negatively affecting the microbiome, as it will not be able to produce compounds like butyrate, which possesses anti-inflammatory qualities.
Although a short-term dirty keto diet won’t have adverse effects, over time those avoiding low-carb vegetables could find they’re missing out on essential micronutrients. As such, if it has been some time since you ate kale, spinach or cabbage, then it may be worthwhile switching to a clean keto diet.
Too Much Consumption of Linoleic Acid
When following a dirty keto diet, a high intake of vegetable oil is likely. There can be several types of oil being consumed including sunflower and canola oil. Some people may not realize that vegetable fats are high in linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid in small quantities is harmless. However, when consuming a long timer, there is a risk of creating an inflammatory condition that results in fat being stored, meaning the diet can be counterproductive.
Many of the drawbacks are associated with a dirty keto diet over a long duration. This is why most people taking advantage of keto will take advantage of both dirty and keto food when losing weight.
What Type of Dirty Keto Food is Available?
There are many types of food consumed by those on a dirty keto diet, including sugar-free beverages and store-bought keto foods. The following food types are examples of the type of food you will be consuming when on a dirty keto diet.
- Organ Meats
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Natural Greek Yogurt
- Bok Choi
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green Beans
Sauces and Dressings
- Worcester Sauces
- Salad Dressing
- Full-Fat Mayonnaise
- Dry Wine
Although there will be a lack of nutrients in most instances, you can be confident that dirty keto foods allow 75% of calories of fat to be consumed, in addition to 35% of protein and less than 10% of carbs.
Clean Keto vs. Dirty Keto: Which is Best for You?
The first thing to note is that dirty keto is not a precise term, but rather a subjective approach to a keto diet.
The main difference between dirty and clean keto is that there is less emphasis on food quality when choosing the dirty keto option. In short, dirty keto allows you to eat whatever you want while keeping track of keto macros, whereas clean keto focuses on high-quality ingredients to ensure you get the nutrients you need.
Everyone has their own approach to a keto diet, and there will be many times when people are eating foods that are considered dirty and clean. The overall goal of a keto diet is to reduce carbohydrates, but a clean keto diet allows for several other health benefits.
Both allow for the reduction of carbs, so the best diet can often be due to circumstances. However, it is important to be mindful of what the body could be missing out on when embarking on a dirty keto diet long term.
However, a dirty keto diet is ideal for scenarios when there is little choice available, but people still want to monitor their carb intake.
How to Feel Your Best on a Keto Diet
A dirty keto diet allows you to reduce carbs without worrying about what food you’re eating within reason, so is ideal for those wanting to indulge without gaining weight. However, if you’re focused on an improved lifestyle overall, and if you want to get the most from a keto diet, you may find the dirty approach can be detrimental if adopted for the long term.
Indulgences aside, it can be worthwhile taking a long-term approach regarding a keto diet, which can include both the dirty and clean aspects. If you’re striving to feel your best and reduce carbs, you should focus on whole foods as opposed to processed foods. This allows you to manage weight loss and nutrient intake.
However, should the need arise to embark on a dirty keto diet for a short time, then there is no need for you to feel guilty if long-term health goals are in place.
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