What is Dirty Keto? Complete Guide (2024)

Of all the different diet programs that have been introduced in the past decade or two, the ketogenic diet remains a favorite among those who are looking to lose significant weight. It’s easy, accessible, and less restrictive than other diet types like vegetarianism or pescetarianism.

But the primary reason behind its popularity is its effectiveness and health benefits. The ketogenic diet focuses on consuming more fats and proteins and less carbohydrates. It triggers the body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis, using fat instead of carbs to produce energy.

Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which converts into energy. Reducing the intake of carbs forces the body to burn and use fat instead. When fat is broken down, the liver produces a chemical known as ketones, which is used for energy. When the ketones accumulate in the blood, the body goes into a state of ketosis — and this is where weight loss begins to occur.

The keto diet, by reducing carb intake, changes the body’s energy source from glucose to fat. But how long it takes to get into ketosis or exactly how many carbs you can consume in a day differs from person to person. As such, many people have created new variations of the ketogenic diet, adjusting its requirements to suit the unique needs of their bodies.

One of these new approaches to the keto dietary regimen is called dirty keto. In this article, we explore dirty keto and how it differs from the standard clean keto diet. We identify its pros and cons and ultimately, determine if dirty keto is as effective as its clean counterpart for weight loss. So, what is dirty keto?

What is Dirty Keto Diet?

Dirty keto diet is a type of ketogenic diet that is high in ultra processed foods (fast foods), artificial ingredients, and pre-packaged foods. Unlike traditional keto diet or clean keto, it has no regard for the quality of food consumed, as long as it fits into the dieter’s daily macros. However, dirty keto still observes the macronutrient division of 70-80% fat, 10-20% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates.

In essence, dirty keto is a variation of the keto diet(a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet)that allows you to consume whatever you want as long as it meets your macro goals. While it still reduces carb intake, it does not pay attention to the nutritional value of the fats and protein consumed.

Because of that, dirty keto is more flexible than the regular ketogenic diets. But since it’s less nutritious than clean keto, it also risks adverse health effects if not managed correctly.

Pros of Dirty Keto

Dirty keto, although less focused on food quality than the standard keto diet, still follows the main rule of the diet regime: consuming fewer carbs. As a carbohydrate-restrictive diet, dirty keto diets may still provide the usual benefits you can yield when reducing carb intake.

First and foremost, dirty keto may be effective for fat burning and weight loss. By changing the body’s energy source from carbohydrates to fat, it can significantly reduce body weight and body mass index. At the same time,carbohydrate restriction can decrease levels of cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglycerides, a type of fat.

The keto diet has also been shown to suppress appetite, further enhancing its weight loss benefits. Studies show that individuals who observed ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets (KLCDs) are less hungry and have a reduced desire to eat. This is attributed to keto’s ability to suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin.

In addition to weight loss, dirty keto may also have an impact on blood glucose levels, which makes it ideal for those diagnosed with hyperglycemia. Carbohydrates are responsible for raising blood sugar, worsening hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetics. Through keto, carb intake is minimized, helping diabetics maintain optimal blood sugar levels.

Reduced blood sugar also helps combat chronic inflammation by decreasing insulin levels and oxidative stress. Moreover, minimizing carbs through dirty keto triggers the liver to burn fat and produce ketones, which are anti-inflammatory signaling molecules. Ketones inhibit the body’s NLRP3 inflammasome, an inflammatory pathway, which helps curb inflammatory diseases.

Cons of Dirty Keto Dieting

Looking for a healthy way of losing weight ? Keto diet is the answer.The main benefit of observing a ketogenic diet is weight loss. While carb reduction plays a big role in helping achieve this, weight loss is still largely dependent on food quality. This is where dirty keto falls short.

In contrast to the standard ketogenic diet regime that focuses on consuming natural and nutritious foods, dirty keto has little regard for food quality and does not avoid processed foods and sugars. It also does not pay attention to the type of fat consumed.

Dirty keto leans more toward consuming inflammatory vegetable oils that are high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 polyunsaturated fat (trans fats). While healthy to some extent, excess consumption of linoleic acid can drive fat storage and cause obesity.

Dirty keto can also pose a risk of nutritional deficiencies. Without balancing carb reduction with a healthy supply of nutritious fats, protein, and vegetables, dirty keto is unable to provide the body with the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

What's more, dirty keto meals are also high in sodium. For people who are sensitive to salt, high sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

Can You Lose Weight on Dirty Keto?

Dirty keto is just like the regular keto diet in terms of macronutrient count. In this variation, you still consume a diet that is 70-80% fat, 10-20% protein, and only 5-10% carbohydrates. The only thing it tweaks is what you eat to meet these macros.

While regular keto is more selective and chooses healthy fats and more nutritious food, dirty keto disregards that and is more flexible when it comes to what you can eat — even if that means consuming processed foods and artificial ingredients.

However, because dirty keto restricts carbohydrate intake, it still works to trigger the body’s ketosis metabolic state. And as such, can lead to weight loss, reduced blood sugar, and suppressed appetite. Dirty keto can also help keep blood sugar levels and inflammation at bay.

But weight loss isn’t entirely reliant on carb intake. What type of macros you eat also plays a role in your ability to lose weight healthily. By favoring processed food in favor of natural and nutritious alternatives, dirty keto poses risks of macronutrient and fiber deficiency, affecting digestion, increasing fat storage, and ultimately, restricting weight loss.

While dirty keto may have short-term weight loss benefits, the lack of balanced nutrition can lead to health risks in the long run. According to the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a high intake of processed meats and sugary drinks raises risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

What is Clean Keto Diet?

The better and healthier alternative to dirty keto is referred to as clean keto, a.k.a the regular keto diet regime. Clean keto observes a macronutrient count of 75% of fats, 20% of proteins, and 5% of carbohydrates, helping the bodyachieve ketosis. But this diet regime also chooses more nutritious alternatives to meet daily macro percentages.

Clean keto involves consuming whole-quality foods and clean, natural ingredients. These include grass-fed dairy and grass-fed steak, non-starchy vegetables, unprocessed meat and seafood, low-sugar fruits, free-range eggs, and olive oil. Itfocuses on avoiding processed foods and artificial ingredients completely.

Unlike dirty keto, clean keto is a healthier and more nutritious diet regime. It also ensures that you’re able to maintain your micronutrients more accurately, maximizing the diet’s effects on weight loss, digestion, and overall health.

Clean Keto vs Dirty Keto

In order to make the right diet choice for you, you need to understand the differences between clean and dirty keto. While both follow the same principle of reducing carb intake and focusing more on consuming fat and protein, their main difference lies in the type and quality of the food consumed.

In clean keto, you need to be selective about where you source your fats and protein. Specifically, clean keto promotes eatingnutrient densefoods, healthy fats, and low-carb fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

Dirty keto, on the other hand, eats “dirty”. It allows you to switch out healthier and more nutritious food sources for processed and packaged food and ingredients. Although dirty keto snacks are still low in carbohydrates, they are high in fat and often do not contain the vitamins and minerals the body needs to maximize ketosis.

Both diets, however, are effective in weight loss and can help you burn fat fast. They only have different approaches to doing so. Here’s a breakdown of their differences:

Clean Keto

Dirty Keto

Food quality

Focuses on nutritious whole foods

Allows processed foods and artificial ingredients


Aids in weight loss

Speeds up metabolism

Maintains healthy blood sugar levels

Lowers bad cholesterol

Aids in weight loss

Flexible diet

Accessible and convenient


Lowers blood pressure

Can cause constipation

Difficult to maintain the diet long-term

Risks micronutrient deficiency

Increases cravings

May cause skin issues

Cost and Flexibility

Costly and inaccessible

Cheaper and more flexible

Examples of Clean Keto Foods

Clean keto looks to healthier and more nutritious food sources for the diet’s fat and protein requirements. Specifically, dieters should consume nutrient dense whole foods, meats, non-starchy low-carb vegetables, healthy oils, low-carb fruits, nuts and seeds, and organic dairy products.

Some examples of foods included in clean keto meals are:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Pork (pork rinds are keto friendly snacks)
  • Wild fish
  • Eggs
  • Non-starchy vegetables like artichoke, asparagus, baby corn, beans, and bean sprouts
  • Healthy oils like avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and ghee
  • Berries like blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
  • Nuts like macadamia, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and Brazil nuts
  • Seeds like flax seeds and pumpkin seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Organic free dairy

Examples of Dirty Keto Foods

Dirty keto, on the other hand, is not very strict when it comes to the types of food from where fat and protein can be sourced. This leads to the consumption of processed and pre-packed foods, junk food and artificial ingredients and sweeteners.

The dirty keto diet plan may include the following:

  • Fast food
  • Deep fried food cooked in processed oils
  • Packaged keto snacks
  • Keto bread with wheat-based ingredients
  • Sugar-free beverages like sports drinks, diet sodas or sugar free sodas, and juice
  • Sugar-free jello
  • Sugary condiments
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Breadcrumbs instead of keto-friendly alternatives like crushed pork rinds
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy beans

Dirty keto food list may also include non-keto friendly foods in small amounts. These include popcorn, potatoes, milk, oats, and alcoholic beverages.

What is Dirty Keto? FAQs

The keto diet is open to customization, depending on what your body needs to trigger ketosis and achieve optimal weight loss. Dirty keto is just one example of how the ketogenic diet has evolved.

What is the difference between dirty keto and clean keto?

The regular keto diet and the new dirty keto variation both follow the same principle of reducing carb intake while increasing consumption of high fat foods and protein. While standard keto looks to healthy and nutritious food sources to meet daily macros, dirty keto allows more flexibility with processed food and artificial ingredients.

How many carbs a day is dirty keto?

Dirty keto still follows the carb restrictions of the regular keto diet, which is 5-10% of daily macros. Depending on your calorie requirements, that’s about 50 grams of net carbs per day.

What is lazy keto?

Another variation of the ketogenic diet regime, lazy keto is more lax with daily calories and macros. It does not observe the strict division of 70-80% fat, 10-20% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates. Instead, it focuses solely on reducing carb intake. Lazy keto is least effective in triggering the state of ketosis, but it can still help with weight loss through carb reduction.

Lazy keto vs dirty keto: Which one to pick?

Lazy and dirty keto are often mixed together in a diet regime. While dirty keto is more effective because of its stricter macronutrient ratio, which one you should pick depends on your preferences. If the idea of counting your calories and monitoring your fat and protein intake per day sounds tedious, then the lazy keto diet might be a good fit for you.

What is Dirty Keto? Complete Guide (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Wyatt Volkman LLD

Last Updated:

Views: 5584

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Wyatt Volkman LLD

Birthday: 1992-02-16

Address: Suite 851 78549 Lubowitz Well, Wardside, TX 98080-8615

Phone: +67618977178100

Job: Manufacturing Director

Hobby: Running, Mountaineering, Inline skating, Writing, Baton twirling, Computer programming, Stone skipping

Introduction: My name is Wyatt Volkman LLD, I am a handsome, rich, comfortable, lively, zealous, graceful, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.