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Nutrition » Diets » What Is Dirty Keto Diet: Demystifying The What’s, Why’s And How’s

What Is Dirty Keto Diet: Demystifying The What’s, Why’s And How’s

what is dirty keto diet

Dirty Keto Diet

These days you can’t go through your social media feed without coming across a person sharing their success with a certain diet, promoting the next viral diet plan or someone complaining about some sort of diet. It seems diets are slowly becoming something most of us really care about. The keto diet is one of those diets that keeps gaining popularity as the days go by. This is because this diet is associated with many health benefits like weight loss and the fact that it helps maintain and control certain diseases. You know when a diet is good when different people start coming up with different variations of the diet. This is the case when it comes to the keto diet. It has several variations and one of the variations is the dirty keto diet. What exactly is a dirty keto diet?

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When a diet is gaining success, people are always looking for different ways to enjoy the benefits of the original diet while making the diet more convenient for themselves. This is how the dirty keto came to be. With that said, what makes the dirty keto different from the original or ‘clean’ keto one? Is the dirty keto diet healthy? All this about the dirty keto diet and more will be discussed in this informative read.

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What Is a Dirty Keto Diet?

Before we can go into the basics of the dirty keto diet, we need to understand where it comes from. The keto diet, also known as the ketogenic diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet with moderate levels of protein. The keto diet is designed to force your body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a process in which the body breaks down fats in the liver into ketones. Ketones are then used as fuel instead of glucose. A person on a normal diet uses carbohydrates for energy.

A person on a keto diet works to eliminate carbs from their diet or keep them at such a low amount that your body looks for other alternative sources of energy and this is how your body starts using fats for energy. The breakdown of both consumed fats and stored fats for energy promotes weight loss for people on a keto diet. The keto diet emphasizes whole unprocessed foods that are healthy and keto-friendly.

Be that as it may, the dirty keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet just like the original keto diet. The only difference between these two is that the food sources in the dirty keto diet are not so nutritious. The dirty keto does not care about the sources of food as much as the original (8). What this diet cares about is staying within the macro limits required by the keto diet. This is to say fats should be in the highest amounts, followed by proteins and finally carbohydrates.

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Different Interpretations of the Dirty Keto Diet

Just like most diets that are coming out nowadays, there are no hard-and-fast guidelines for this meal plan (1). Thus this creates room for people to interpret it differently. Most people who support this diet believe it is a better and improved version of the original, as it allows one to eat all they want as long as they make sure their carb intake is low. The recommended carbohydrate intake is 50 grams of net carbs in a day (9).

This diet paints the idea of one being able to lose weight while being able to eat all the fast food and processed food they want. This diet is made for people who want to achieve ketosis but do not want to go through all the planning and preparation associated with a clean keto diet (7). In essence, this diet is pretty much a diet of cheat days, and it is all about convenience.

The Main Features of the Diet

The main features of this diet are:

  • It contains a lot of processed food

It allows for a lot of processed and packaged foods. For this reason, the dirty keto diet is just a keto diet filled with not so nutritious foods. Processed foods are not the best way to go when it comes to your health or your weight. They can promote weight gain, diabetes, heart conditions among other health side effects. Processed foods also have high amounts of sodium, have more additives and fewer micronutrients. Sometimes the added sugars in processed foods can hinder ketosis, and for this reason people on dirty keto should be on the lookout for hidden sugars.

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  • It lacks micronutrients

This diet lacks most of the micronutrients your body needs to be healthy. When you eat a lot of processed foods, you may lack nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, folic acid, vitamins C, D and K (11). It is difficult to find people on a dirty keto diet eating vegetables and foods that provide fiber. These are both important to your body.

  • It is all about the macros (5)

This diet does not care if you live on patties from burgers. If you remove the buns, the burger fits into the low-carb, high-fat, moderate proteins description and hence it becomes keto friendly. Is it a healthy food? No, it definitely is not. This diet does not require you to care about the quality or the source of your nutrients (3).

The main difference between a clean keto diet and a dirty keto diet is in the source of food. Food is information. Food determines what our cell membranes are made up of, it determines our brain function; it determines what goes on in our digestive system and almost all that is usually happening in our bodies. It is for this reason the quality of food we consume is very important. That is one of the reasons most dietitians and nutritionists do not support this diet.

We should not simplify diets by making them only useful for ticking calorie boxes. Diets should be used to promote overall health and eating habits improvements. Most diets if followed correctly would promote weight loss, but not so many diets that promote weight loss are healthy (4). It is for this reason it is always recommended to consult a dietitian or a nutritionist before trying out a new diet that promises weight loss.

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Amounts Of Macros In The Dirty Keto Diet

As we’ve said above, when it comes to the dirty keto diet, all that matters is the macros. It is therefore important to know the amounts of macros allowed on this diet. There are three main macronutrients. These are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. This food plan is a variation of the ketogenic diet. The amounts of macros are as follows (10):

Fats

Just like any high-fat, low-carb diet, fats should make up the highest amount of macros. 65% to 70% of your diet should come from fat (10). This is because fats are the primary sources of energy in a keto diet and you should hence make sure you consume enough fats to provide your body with the energy it needs.

Protein

They come in second place. Proteins are important when it comes to repairing tissues and maintaining lean mass. 20% to 30% of your diet should be made up of protein (10).

Carbohydrates

This is a low-carb diet. It is for this reason people on this diet should make sure they keep their carb intake at a minimum. Consuming a lot of carbs will kick you out of ketosis state. Only 5% of your diet should be made up of carbohydrates (10). And just to put on more emphasis, your net carb count should not go past 50 grams in a day.

Those are the amounts of macronutrients you should consume if you are on a dirty keto diet.

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Dirty Keto Diet And Weight Loss

Most of what puzzles people about this diet is how it is able to promote weight loss. People on this diet literally eat anything. They eat processed foods and fast foods. These are some foods that cannot be associated with weight loss. So how is this diet able to promote weight loss?

The diet promotes weight loss through ketosis (6). The only goal one has for this diet is to make sure they are fitting within the keto guidelines. Ketosis is the process of breaking down fats to provide energy to the human body. It takes more calories to break down fats than it takes to break down carbs. This creates a calorie deficit and so results in weight loss.

Ketosis breaks down both consumed and stored fats. When stored fats are broken down to energy, one is able to lose fat mass and hence lose weight. The dirty keto diet like most keto diets is a low-carb diet. Another way this diet promotes weight loss is by limiting the amounts of empty calorie foods and promoting low-calorie foods. This creates a calorie deficit and hence promotes weight loss.

dirty keto carb limit
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Risks Associated To The Dirty Keto Diet

This is not a diet that nutritionists or dieticians would likely endorse, because this diet only makes you care about ticking calorie boxes without paying much attention to what goes inside your body. Eating lots of processed and packaged foods cannot be healthy in the long run. This diet is associated with the following risks:

Raises the risks of cardiovascular diseases

This is due to the processed foods in this diet. These foods are rich in saturated fats. Saturated fat is known to increase the levels of cholesterol (3). High levels of cholesterol can increase the risks of some people getting different heart conditions.

Increased risk, severity and length of the keto flu

It is a group of temporary symptoms and side effects that happen during the first few days or weeks of going keto (3). The symptoms of the keto flu are stomach pain, dizziness, nausea, irritability and mood swings, diarrhea, muscle cramps, sugar cravings, sleeping problems and others. These symptoms are your body’s response to carbohydrate restriction. Since on a dirty keto diet you consume a lot of processed foods, your body will lack important nutrients. This increases the duration and severity of the keto flu.

This diet is not sustainable (2)

I know that most people who are for this diet ask how it is not sustainable as you are allowed to eat pretty much what you want, while at the same time you still lose weight. We can see that this diet is not sustainable because it does not help improve eating habits. Most people blame the weight they gain on fast foods. This diet promotes the eating of fast foods. It does not need one to change many aspects of their life. Another thing that makes it less sustainable is the fact that it is expensive. Few people have the money to eat burgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The fact that this diet is unhealthy makes it even less sustainable.

This diet lacks important micronutrients that the body needs (3)

Micronutrients are important for the human body. They help strengthen your immunity, boost your energy levels, protect your cells from damage, keep your skin healthy and supple. People mostly get micronutrients from vegetables and fruits. People on this diet do not take any low-carb vegetables or fruits. This prevents them from consuming these nutrients.

what is dirty keto diet
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This diet promotes the consumption of highly processed foods

Highly processed foods contain trans and saturated fats, sugar, alcohol, and other artificial ingredients (2). These are not ideal to consume on a regular basis. Eating highly processed foods increases the risks of getting obesity, cancer, food addiction, chronic inflammation, poor digestion and many other health complications.

Consuming low-quality foods as well as processed foods also increases the consumption of harmful additives and hormones

Some factory farmed beef contains growth hormones. These hormones help make the animals bigger and also help them produce more milk. These hormones might be harmful and disturb hormonal balance to one’s body when ingested (2).

Processed foods also contain a lot of artificial sweeteners

Consuming these sweeteners is said to increase the risk of getting cancer, gaining weight, getting type II diabetes, etc (2).

Eating a lot of processed foods also means you are consuming a lot of unhealthy fats (3)

Unhealthy fats are mostly found in packaged foods, processed foods, fast foods, and fried foods. Chronic inflammation, type II diabetes, different types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases and others are often caused by consuming unhealthy fats and oils. Processed foods may also contain harmful preservatives which might be harmful to one’s body.

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The Bottom Line

This read should have answered the question, what is dirty keto diet. This diet is not recommended, and people are not encouraged to try it. It may be appealing because of how convenient and easy it is. But other than it being convenient and easy, it also has a lot of health risks associated with it. Before you join this diet, you need to sit down and ask yourself if it is worth all the health risks associated with it. Adding positive and healthy eating patterns to your daily habits will always be the best path to follow.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Dirty Keto vs. Clean Keto: What Is the Difference?( 2020, health.usnews.com)
  2. Dirty Keto: What Is It and Is It Good For You?(2019, perfectketo.com)
  3. Dirty, Lazy Keto vs. Clean Keto: Should You Go Clean? (2019, ruled.me)
  4. Is dirty keto a better option than keto? (2019, coach.nine.com.au)
  5. What Is Dirty Keto and How Does It Differ From Regular Old Keto? (2019, openfit.com)
  6. What Is Dirty Keto And How Is It Different Than The Keto Diet? (2018, womenshealthmag.com)
  7. What Is ‘Dirty Keto’ and Should You Try It? (2018, health.com)
  8. What Is The Dirty Keto Diet? (2018, delish.com)
  9. WHAT’S DIRTY KETO AND SHOULD YOU BE DOING IT? (2020, bulletproof.com)
  10. What’s the Difference Between Clean Keto and Dirty Keto? (2019, shape.com)
  11. What’s the Difference Between ‘Dirty Keto’ and Regular Keto, Anyway? (2018, menshealth.com)
Ben William

Ben William

Ben is an experienced writer who is no stranger to fitness. His career goal is not only to educate people on proper exercising but also help them recognize the profound importance of healthy nutrition. As a writer, his top priority is to foster awareness about healthy lifestyle and encourage more people to transform their bodies and kick their deep-rooted habits. Ben strongly believes that anyone can achieve their fitness goals, as long as they work hard, stay on track and keep a positive mindset.

Soraya Ziou

Soraya Ziou

Hi everyone! I am a Canadian Registered Dietitian (RD) who graduated from the University of Ottawa, Canada. I worked at the Montreal Pediatric University Hospital and the Ottawa Heart Institute before joining the International Clinic of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. With a strong interest in community nutrition, I worked in Haiti and in Syrian refugee camps affected by the scourge of malnutrition. I am passionate about food and its science!

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