Have you come across the term “dirty keto” on your ketogenic diet research? If not, you surely will soon. You can find the answers here, as we’ve compiled the info you need to be clued-up on this new keto phrase and everything behind it.
Without further ado…
What is “dirty keto”?
“Dirty keto” is the name given to a style of eating on the ketogenic diet. That style is based around the notion that macronutrients are paramount, but the actual food sources you choose don’t matter so much. Basically, you stick to your carb, protein and fat allocations (75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs give or take)…but you can find them wherever you choose. Instead of choosing the most nutrient-dense fat sources, you can go for junk food minus the carb-rich components. Instead of going for as many varied low-carb, raw veggies as possible, you can go for packaged, processed food as long as it’s low-carb, high-fat. In other words, if it sustains ketosis, then it’s fine.
What are the benefits?
Well, that’s an interesting question, considering it’s not advisable for anyone to choose a diet without regard for nutrients. However, it does have some benefits when put in the context of the ketogenic diet and the struggles it can pose sometimes.
The “dirty keto” diet might come in handy for you in these select circumstances…
It saves you in a pinch
Let’s say you’re at work super late and you have no good food at home. You are starving and the only places open are fast food drive-thrus. You grab yourself a burger without the buns and a few chicken bites with mayo. Sure, not nutritious at all, but it’s going to fill the hunger gap after a huge day at work. You would get to the supermarket the next day to get back on track with “clean keto”, no harm done.
It cuts time
Some people do make the claim that “dirty keto” allows you to lose weight without having to meal prep or consider expensive fresh produce and premium meats. While this is true, I wouldn’t use it as a pass for going “dirty”. Perhaps during super frantic times in life when there’s absolutely no chance of any kind of prep or nutritional consideration it may come in handy to help you stick to keto at the very least.
It helps during holidays
If you’re on a road trip with friends, at a festival or on a long weekend cruise, chances are ya ain’t concerned about the nutrient density of your food. However, you might want to carry on with your keto macro upkeep at the very least. Instead of completely throwing your entire diet in and going to town on everything (including carbs), you can eat what you can in order to stick to macros, even if it’s a concoction of total “treat” foods. It means you can still lose weight and remain in ketosis, despite celebratory times.
It gives you a break
If you have been going absolutely all-out with strict, clean keto for weeks on end and you just want something completely greasy, “dirty keto” allows you. For a day or two, you can remain in ketosis while indulging yourself in the salty, fatty, processed snacks your heart desires…as long as they’re low-carb and sugar-free. This is handy during the time of the month, hangovers or even just a down day when nothing but Netflix and good old trash food will help. But limited it to a day or two max…
Should I do it?
In short? No, unless it’s just for a day or when you really need to. Don’t get into the habit of using “dirty keto” as a way of remaining in ketosis while eating like a teenage boy (no offence to teenage boys). It might be tempting to see that you’re losing weight and remaining in ketosis while indulging a junk-food-tooth.
At the end of the day, the most important thing for your body is to get ample nutrients. That way, you can function at the best level and your body can be as fighting fit as it can be. Proper nutrition not only supports longevity but it’s the best way to enjoy high energy levels, great skin and a well-functioning digestive system.
If you ate a “dirty keto” diet on the daily, you’d be on the fast track to these uncomfortable experiences:
- Skin breakouts
- Mood fluctuations
You would be really low in fiber, vitamin C and a raft of other key nutrients. Ketosis or not, this is not a healthy way to be, at all.
Guys, we all know that eating a bunch of processed junk food isn’t healthy. But when we are on a really restrictive diet and life comes along to make it hard, it’s tempting to take shortcuts and loopholes just to stick to “the rules”. Make sure that you are not only following your macro allocations but you are eating the widest range of nutritious foods you can.