Following the ketogenic diet seems pretty straightforward. All you have to do is limit carb intake and ramp up the fat intake, right? But, there is a lazy or “dirty” way to do keto and a “clean” method.
What’s the difference between the two? Do you need to be 100% strict or can you take a lazy approach to the keto diet?
What is Clean Keto?
To understand what clean and dirty keto are, you first have to understand that everyone’s definition might be slightly different. The term clean keto tends to refer to only consuming clean ingredients. This might be slightly stricter for some people and include only consuming whole, organic foods that are low in carbs, high in fat, and moderate in protein. Clean keto means avoiding processed foods, inflammatory fats, and refined sugars.
For many, a “clean” keto diet is similar to a Paleo or Whole30 approach to keto.
For some, clean keto also means avoiding all sweeteners, even keto-friendly ones that have been shown not to spike your glucose. For other, sweeteners like allulose, monk fruit, and stevia are acceptable.
Again, the exact definition of “clean” keto is subject, but in essence, means you are consuming the cleanest possible ingredients.
What is a Dirty / Lazy Keto Diet?
Lazy or “dirty” keto is the exact opposite of clean keto. It still entails following a high-fat, low-carb diet, but the consumption of processed foods is acceptable.
This includes processed packaged food choices (like protein bars), lower-quality meats (like cheap hot dogs), and fast food. When you think of “dirty” keto, the first thing that might come to mind is a Mcdonald’s burger with no bun.
Lazy keto is meant to make keto easier for the average person to follow. Because you don’t have to be as strict, you can consume pre-packaged keto foods or fast food on the go.
Lazy keto is simply a term for a ketogenic diet that is not strict in what is consumed as long as daily net carbs stay under the daily allotment (typically 20 grams – 50 grams).
Are There Health Benefits to Lazy Keto?
Obviously following a “dirty” ketogenic diet is not going to be as beneficial as a strict, clean diet. After all, no one can argue (even people who hate the keto diet) that eating clean, whole foods is beneficial. However, is following a lazy approach to the ketogenic diet still more beneficial than following a Standard American Diet (SAD)? Probably.
Eating a slice of “keto” bread with wheat might be considered dirty keto, but is it still better than Wonder Bread? Yes.
Following a dirty keto approach still increases blood ketone levels and ketones have numerous health benefits. 
Is this approach to the ketogenic diet optimal? No. Is taking a lazy approach to this diet better than a clean, consistent approach? No. Will it still yield benefits? Yes.
Should You Do Lazy Keto?
Again, a strict keto diet will yield better results and be better for optimizing overall health. But, at the end of the day, it is up to you and your goals. If you know that you can’t follow a strict ketogenic diet and following a dirty keto diet is the only way to prevent you from eating chips and cookies all day, then take a lazy approach.
If weight loss is your goal, and you stop losing weight following a dirty keto diet, consider taking a cleaner approach. Start to pay attention to ingredients in your keto meals, rather than just the grams of carbs.
Do You Follow a Strict Ketogenic Diet? Or Do You Take a Lazy Approach?
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