Why Dirty Keto May Be Perfectly Clean Cut For You

When starting the keto diet terms like dirty keto, clean keto, lazy keto and if it fits your macros will come up. It can be confusing for beginners because how can one diet mean so many different things.

Simple, we all are our own individuals and live very different lives.

The keto diet has done wonders for weight loss, epilepsy, diabetics, high blood pressure and just helping people ease their minds. But, with all of us having our own reasons for starting a ketogenic diet this is how the terms branch off so much.

Difference Between Dirty & Clean Keto

What is clean keto diet?

Clean keto refers to the diet followed to perfection. Using the best quality ingredients, staying away from terrible ones and watching your macros as closely as possible. You put an emphasis on whole foods and stay away from fast-food, junk food and even most of the keto friendly snacks.

You will still remain in the 20 grams of net carbs per day and keep your high fat, low carbohydrates and moderate protein where they should be.

Foods on clean keto:

  • Grass-fed Butter
  • Cheese
  • Pasture Raised Eggs
  • Healthy Fats (Lard, Tallow, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil)
  • High Quality Meats
  • Wild Caught Fish
  • Cruciferous Veggies
  • Nuts

What is dirty keto diet?

Dirty keto may sound easy at first but there is still some thought behind it. It is a very flexible form of the low carb diet where you can modify fast food, load up on the keto cookies and store bought desserts. Now, doing this it is always in your mind that you are hitting your macros.

The term “if it fits your macros” and dirty keto are the same thing!

For someone on the go this may be what you need because you don’t have the time to meal prep. There isn’t always time to prepare any of the keto recipes you love. And choosing to stop for a fast food bun-less burger is what you need.

Another aspect of dirty keto is enjoying things like diet sodas, keto snacks with artificial sweeteners. Even things that are not keto friendly but using them in small portions is, such as breadcrumbs on top of mushrooms.

Processed foods like cold cut meats, keto friendly bread made with gluten products. To add, highly processed seed oils like canola oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, cotton seed oil and rice bran oil.

Dirty keto foods:

  • Fast Food
  • Diet Soda
  • Sugar-Free Candy
  • Processed Meats
  • Most keto store bought sweets (cookies, gummies, cakes, bars, ice cream)
  • Keto Sandwich Bread

Mainly anything you don’t make at home. I personally love that we have options on keto now but these brands don’t have our best interest at heart. They prey on the fact we don’t have time for most things and create products with ingredients we wouldn’t typically eat.

Is Dirty Keto Good Or Bad

When I began keto over 10 years ago there wasn’t such a question. You see, I didn’t have all these crazy options that we have today. And in all honesty, I took the dirty route some days.


  • Easy to find food– There is always a fast food place that will whip you up a bun-less burger or lettuce wrapped. Places like Chipotle and Qdoba now have cauliflower rice bowls just for us. There are a ton of brands in the store that now even offer freezer meals that we can microwave and be done with.
  • Eating out with friends and family-On clean keto you have to limit yourself and watch what you’re eating. When going the dirty route it’s very easy to tell a waiter to make a small adjustment so you can enjoy yourself. Doing things like skipping the bread on scrapping the pizza filling off the crust. Actually, you can get a crustless pizza now or go to Blaze Pizza and have their keto crust.
  • Can still lose weight-Yes, that is correct! Limiting your carbs is powerful and you can still experience weightless while following a high fat diet.
  • Less restrictive choices-Simple things like using xanthan gum to thicken your keto gravies you don’t have to do. A little cornstarch or flour can go a long way and still keep you within your carb limits. Enjoy more fruits and vegetables but in small amounts.
  • Cost-Eating this way can save money because the lower the quality of food the cheaper it is. Conventional beef will always be cheaper than grass-fed. Not to say if you don’t eat grass-fed beef you can’t do clean keto but that is just an example of the price changes.


  • Poor quality food-Although losing weight is great your long-term health can suffer with lower quality processed foods with less vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need.
  • Gaining weight-You can get fat on keto when you eat at a caloric surplus like any other diet. When eating packaged food high in fat you can over do your daily calories. A keto cookie for example will never satisfy you like a grass-fed steak will. Yet, two to three cookies have about the same calorie count.
  • Staying in ketosis-The processed foods can effect how you stay in ketosis. Eating things that are quickly absorbed in the body can cause crazy blood sugar spikes especially if you’re diabetic.

Does dirty keto work?

Yes it can if weight-loss is your goal. Doing this style of keto can be far more freeing than clean keto. The flexibility is great. If you focus on your macros and are in moderate help you can be fine. Note, long term processed foods aren’t for everyone and eating lower quality you may struggle with the fat adaption and energy levels. In the short run your metabolic state does play a role.

Recipes For Dirty Keto


There are always options on clean or dirty keto from breakfast to dinner and desserts. But, it has to be understood that your personal diet has to work for you and no one else. I am all for the best approach when someone is trying to live a better lifestyle. Simply take your time and always strive for the best one day at a time.

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