“Clean Keto” vs “Dirty Keto” is the latest debate amongst the adepts of ketogenic lifestyle. So what does clean Keto actually mean?
Keto diet is not owned by any one author or company. So there are no strict “canonical” definitions. New concepts and ideas just sort of emerge from the Keto community and get propagated online on Keto websites and social media.
What is clean Keto?
Generally speaking, clean Keto adds the principles of clean eating on top of Keto. This means cutting out all processed, artificial and junky foods.
You would also need to watch the provenance and production methods of natural foods – for example, choosing free-range grass-fed meat over industrially-produced.
By contrast, “Dirty Keto” followers don’t really worry about the type of food they eat. They are happy to eat artificial foods like sweeteners, takeways and low-quality processed meats. As long as the carb content is low enough to stay in ketosis, that’s all you need for Dirty Keto.
Clean Keto and Paleo
Clean Keto follows the approach of the Paleo diet. The idea behind Paleo is to reject all modern methods of producing foods including intensive agriculture. Instead, Paleo followers eat only natural foods that were available to our ancestors in the Paleolithic era.
Advocates of this approach argue that the evolution of our bodies is much slower than our ability to innovate. Technology altered our foods dramatically – but it may take thousands of years for our bodies to catch up.
No sweeteners on clean Keto
One major difference between clean Keto and other Keto variations is sweeteners.
Standard Keto diet allows zero-carb sugar substitutes like Stevia, erythritol and sucralose. But all sweeteners are either highly processed – or even completely artificial. So they don’t fit into clean Keto.
Unfortunately, this means no low-carb cakes or sugar-free desserts. You would have to just cut out all sweet-tasting treats. This may not be a bad thing. Many dieters find that cutting out sweeteners helps to break the addiction to sweet taste. As cravings for sweets disappear, so does the need for sugar substitutes.
What can you eat on clean Keto?
Once you cut out all processed and artificial foods, you are left with the following:
- animal proteins: meat, fish, poultry, eggs
- salad vegetables and green leafy vegetables
- animal fats and high-quality cold-pressed oils
- small amounts of berries, nuts and seeds
What about dairy?
There is a bit of a question mark on whether dairy products fit into clean Keto.
High-fat dairy like heavy cream and hard cheeses is very low in carbs. You could eat it and still stay in ketosis.
However, there is an argument that many of us are lactose-intolerant or lactose-sensitive, sometimes without even realising.
Another problem is that genuinely organic dairy products are hard to come by. Cattle feed is often full of very low-quality carbohydrates and artificial additives, which may affect milk quality.
Benefits of clean Keto
Faster weight loss. If you have a sensitive metabolism, sweeteners and other processed foods could stall your weight loss. Going clean can help you push through weight loss plateaus and increase your slimming rate.
More energy. Cutting out junk helps to reduce fatigue and improve your energy levels.
Fewer sugar cravings. Sweeteners feed your addiction to sugar. Eliminating them will help to banish cravings once and for all.
Better long-term health. Chemical food additives, artificial ingredients and food processing by-products can have a serious detrimental effect on your long-term health. If you are concerned about this issue, clean eating would make a big difference for your long-term health.
Downsides of clean Keto
More expensive. High-quality fresh foods cost more than processed foods. Organic free-range meat, poultry and eggs are also more expensive than industrially-produced ones.
More time and effort. Cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients takes more time and effort than using processed foods, pre-prepared meals or junk takeaways.
Limited food choices. Standard Keto is already pretty strict for our carbohydrate-saturated world. Clean Keto takes it even further by cutting out the last few treats and guilty pleasures.
Have you already tried clean Keto?
Have you gone from dirty Keto to clean Keto? How was it?
Please share your experience in the comments!
Want to know more about clean Keto?
Check out this book on Amazon: Clean Keto Lifestyle: The Complete Guide to Transforming Your Life and Health