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What Is Dirty Keto? Clean Keto vs. Dirty Keto

What Is Dirty Keto

The keto diet is an eating plan that promotes the consumption of fats, small amounts of proteins, and very little carbohydrates. When reducing carbohydrates by replacing them with fats, this helps your body enter a metabolic state, called ketosis. Well, some folks decide to go on a tweaked version of the ketogenic dietary regimen, known as the dirty keto diet. So, what is dirty keto?

The dirty keto diet involves decreasing your carbs and increasing your fats intake, but without any considerations for the quality of food you consume. It allows processed and fast foods, as well as prepackeged snacks. The dirty keto diet is more flexible and less costly than the clean keto diet. However, it can lead to some adverse health effects.

Although the dirty keto diet differs from the clean keto, it still helps you burn your body's stored fats. Dirty keto involves consuming around 65-70% fat calories daily, 10% carbohydrates, and 25-30% proteins.

Key Takeaways:

  • A keto diet has about 70-80% fats, 10-20% proteins, and at least 5-10% carbohydrates, making fats the primary energy source for the body's cells.
  • Dirty keto contains processed foods high in fats and artificial sweeteners, but is still low in carbohydrates.
  • A dirty keto diet is easy to maintain and also puts your body in a ketosis metabolic state but poor management of dirty keto can have some adverse effects on your health.

What Is an Example of Dirty Keto?

Keto Diet

Dirty keto follows the main principle of the ketogenic regimen, which comes down primarily to focusing on the ratio of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) you consume. However, the dirty keto diet does not necessarily look at the quality of foods you obtain your macros from. You can consume processed foods, fast foods, drinks, together with healthier foods, as long as they fit your macros.

Therefore, dirty keto foods may include sugar-free cookies, sweets and chocolate, soft drinks with artificial sweeteners, low-carb chips, keto-friendly prepackeged snacks, processed meats and dairy, and cheap-to-procuce oils.

Examples of Common Dirty Keto Foods

Some of the most common dirty keto foods include the following:

  • Processed cheese
  • Processed oils, such as vegetable oil, hydrogenated oil, trans fats, mayonnaise, and canola oil
  • Processed meat, such as bacon, pork rinds, hot dogs, and pre-packaged meats
  • Soft drinks containing artificial sweeteners and other ingredients
  • Fast food containing not so healthy oils, conventional meats, and unknown ingredients
  • Pre-packed dairy products, such as milk and full-fat cheese
  • Snacks, such as keto cookies and chips, roasted nuts, etc

What Is Clean Keto?

Clean keto is a diet that consists of whole quality foods with a daily intake of calories of at least 75% of fats, 20% of proteins, and 5% of carbohydrates. Some of the sources of clean keto ingredients include grass-fed dairy, olive oil, low-sugar fruits, non-starchy vegetables, free-range eggs, and unprocessed seafood.

Keto-friendly Foods

In a ketogenic diet, clean keto is more likely to maintain your micronutrients intake than dirty keto. This means that if done right, it can still supply your body with sufficient minerals, crucial in improving digestion, healthy hair, healthy skin, and brain function.

Clean Keto vs. Dirty Keto

Most people follow a ketogenic diet to promote weight loss and manage certain health conditions. So, it is essential to compare the the pros and cons of both ketogenic diets, in order to make the right choice. In short, when it comes to making the decision which one to follow, you will need to understand that they may differ in the quality of food you consume.

Clean keto promotes the consumption of whole foods that are high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates, such as non-starchy vegetables, low-carb fruits, meet, eggs and dairy. In contrast, dirty keto allows processed and packaged foods that are high in fats and low in carbs.

Although both the clean and dirty keto diets help the body burn fats, their approach is rather different, as we can see.

Clean Keto Food List

Some examples of clean keto foods include the following:

  • Whole foods, such as grass-fed beef, wild fish, non-starchy vegetables, and eggs
  • Oils, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, ghee, and olive oil
  • Berries, including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
  • Nuts: walnuts, pecans, macadamia, and Brazil nuts
  • Dark chocolate
  • Seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, etc
  • Organic free dairy products
  • Avocados

Related: Keto vs Calorie Deficit: Which Diet Is Better?

What Is the Difference Between Keto and Dirty Keto?

Research shows a ketogenic diet consists of high fats, adequate proteins, and low carbohydrates. Here is a detailed comparison between a clean and dirty keto diet:

Features Clean Keto Dirty Keto
Food Quality Whole foods Allows processed foods
Pros Weight loss; speeds up metabolism; lowers blood sugar and bad cholesterol Weight loss; flexible and convenient
Cons Low blood pressure; constipation; hard to follow long-term Micronutrient deficiency, cravings, skin issues
Cost Costly to maintain Budget-friendly

Pros of Dirty Keto

  • It is easier to follow since it allows processed foods
  • It is cheaper to maintain than a clean keto diet, which requires high-quality foods
  • It helps in weight loss and macro balancing

Cons of Dirty Keto

  • The consumption of fast and processed foods can lead to micronutrient deficiency
  • Have a higher risk of inflammation
  • Can result in having cravings

Can You Lose Weight on Dirty Keto?

Like regular keto, the dirty keto diet restrict carbohydrates and helps put your body in a ketosis metabolic state, which assists your body in burning fats. Once your body burns fats, you reduce your blood sugar, your apetite and your weight.

Although you can lose weight with dirty keto, you can also damage your health, due to the following:

  • Inflammation
  • Increased endotoxin levels
  • Gas and bloating
  • Intense cravings
  • Faster weight gain, post the diet
  • Vitamins and minerals deficiency

Related: How Many Carbs a Day on Keto? Maximize Your Results

How Many Carbs Can I Eat on Dirty Keto?

Although the dirty keto diet is a flexible version of a the standard low-carb diet, you should still stick to under 50 grams of net carbs in your daily calorie intake.

Importance of Carbohydrate Restriction When on the Keto Diet

Research shows that being on a low-carb diet decreases appetite-stimulating hormones, such as ghrelin and insulin. In addition, the consumption of high-fat foods may hinder the feeling of hunger for longer.

Let us help you introduce some nutritional keto-friendly recipes into your daily menu! Give Cook Unity's keto meal delivery service a try to promote a healthy way of losing weight or maintaining your fitness! Crafted by top chefs, with passion and proven expertise, our delicious ketogenic dishes are simply too good to miss!

Dirty Keto Diet Plan for Beginners

As we've learned, the ketogenic diet, in general, helps you lose weight. However, you may find it hard to follow the clean keto diet and make it work around your busy lifestyle. Furthermore, it can also easily burn a hole in your pocket. So, here are some tips on how to approach the dirty keto diet if you need to reduce your weight fast for wahtever reason:

  • Stick to the fat, protein, and carb ratio;
  • Restrict your carbs intake to less than 50 g per day;
  • Make sure at least 70% of your daily calories intake is fats;
  • Ensure your maximum protein intake per day is about 20% of your calories;
  • Test your blood or urine for ketone levels in your body which should range from 1.5 to 3.0 mmol/l;
  • Allow at least one cheat day in the week to reduce cravings;
  • Do your best to cook at least 40% of your keto-friendly meals from scratch, to avoid health risks (there are always some inexpensive options).

Note: Expert advise that the dirty keto diet should be considered only for the short-term.

Types of Dirty Keto Meals

Here are some dirty keto meals that are delicious, affordable, and low in carbs:

  • Keto hamburger casserole
  • Stir fry keto beef and broccoli
  • Keto chicken salad lettuce wraps
  • Keto cauliflower casserole
  • Keto coconut smoothie
  • Chicken in gravy
  • Tuna salad

Suitable Dirty Keto Breakfast

When on a dirty ket diet, here are some amazing breakfast recipes:

  • Strawberry and avocado smoothie
  • Keto pancakes
  • Bacon and eggs, with mushrooms and tomatoes on the side
  • Low-carb keto hash
  • Keto scrambled eggs with avocado and bacon
  • Yogurt and low-carb fruits of your choice

Related: What Is Keto Flu and How to Reduce Its Symptoms?

What Is Dirty Keto? FAQs

Q: What Are the Drawbacks of Dirty Keto?

A: The dirty keto has some serious health concerns, including micronutrient deficiency and inflamation. Also, there's a high risk of increased sodium consumption through processed foods, which can increase blood pressure.

Q: What Is Lazy Keto?

A: The lazy keto diet is often mixed with the dirty keto diet. The main difference between the two is that when on the lazy keto diet, you don't count caloties or observe a strict macros ratio. As long as you limit your carbs severely, that is. So in effect, you may never enter the state of ketosis, but still be able to lose weight, due to the low carbs intake.

Q: Lazy Keto vs Dirty Keto: What Is Right for You?

A: The lazy keto diet approach is less strict since you don't have to monitor your fats or proteins intake, compared to the dirty keto diet, where you eat high-fat foods.

Related: How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight on Keto?


The dirty keto diet is easier to maintain if you're a busy individual, constantly on the go. However, a clean keto diet is more suitable for your health since it prioritizes the consumption of quality foods. On that note, the dirty keto diet permits processed and fast foods, as long as they fit your macros intake. While on a dirty keto diet, it's advisable to drink a lot of water, reduce diet sodas and take vitamin supplements to minimize any health risks.