The difference between clean keto and dirty keto.

The Difference Between Clean Keto and Dirty Keto

When it comes to the ketogenic diet, there are two main approaches: clean keto and dirty keto. Both methods focus on a high-fat, low-carb diet, but they differ in the types of foods consumed and the overall health benefits. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between clean keto and dirty keto, the pros and cons of each, and how to choose the best approach for your health goals.

What is Clean Keto?

Clean keto, also known as strict keto or whole foods keto, is a version of the ketogenic diet that emphasizes consuming whole, unprocessed foods. The primary goal of clean keto is to achieve and maintain a state of ketosis, where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This is achieved by consuming a diet high in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates.

Some key principles of clean keto include:

1. Prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods
2. Focusing on high-quality fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil
3. Consuming a variety of non-starchy vegetables
4. Choosing grass-fed, organic, and pasture-raised animal products
5. Limiting or avoiding artificial sweeteners, processed foods, and unhealthy fats

By following these principles, clean keto aims to promote overall health and well-being, in addition to weight loss and improved mental clarity.

What is Dirty Keto?

Dirty keto, on the other hand, is a more relaxed version of the ketogenic diet that still focuses on achieving ketosis but allows for more flexibility in food choices. Dirty keto dieters may consume processed foods, fast food, and artificial sweeteners, as long as they fit within their daily macronutrient (fat, protein, and carbohydrate) goals.

Some key principles of dirty keto include:

1. Achieving ketosis through any means necessary, even if it includes processed foods
2. Focusing on macronutrient ratios rather than food quality
3. Allowing for more convenience and flexibility in food choices
4. Potentially consuming unhealthy fats and artificial sweeteners

While dirty keto may still result in weight loss and some of the benefits of ketosis, it may not provide the same overall health benefits as clean keto due to the consumption of processed foods and potentially unhealthy ingredients.

Pros and Cons of Clean Keto

There are several benefits to following a clean keto diet, including:

1. Improved overall health: By focusing on whole, unprocessed foods, clean keto promotes a nutrient-dense diet that can improve overall health and well-being.
2. Better digestion: Consuming a variety of non-starchy vegetables can help improve digestion and gut health.
3. Reduced inflammation: High-quality fats and nutrient-dense foods can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to numerous chronic diseases.
4. Sustainable weight loss: Clean keto promotes a healthy relationship with food and encourages long-term, sustainable weight loss.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to clean keto:

1. More time-consuming: Preparing whole, unprocessed foods can be more time-consuming than relying on convenience foods.
2. Potentially more expensive: High-quality, organic, and grass-fed products can be more expensive than conventional options.
3. More restrictive: Clean keto can feel more restrictive due to the focus on whole foods and avoidance of processed options.

Pros and Cons of Dirty Keto

Dirty keto also has its advantages and disadvantages. Some benefits of dirty keto include:

1. Convenience: Dirty keto allows for more flexibility in food choices, making it easier to find keto-friendly options when dining out or on-the-go.
2. Easier to maintain: For some people, the less restrictive nature of dirty keto makes it easier to stick to long-term.
3. Potential weight loss: Dirty keto can still result in weight loss, as long as the dieter maintains a state of ketosis.

However, dirty keto also has its drawbacks:

1. Less focus on overall health: Dirty keto prioritizes macronutrient ratios over food quality, which may not promote optimal health.
2. Potential nutrient deficiencies: Relying on processed foods can lead to nutrient deficiencies and imbalances.
3. Increased inflammation: Consuming unhealthy fats and processed foods can contribute to inflammation in the body.

Which Approach is Right for You?

When deciding between clean keto and dirty keto, it’s essential to consider your personal health goals, lifestyle, and preferences. If your primary goal is weight loss and you struggle with strict dietary guidelines, dirty keto may be a more sustainable option for you. However, if you’re looking to improve your overall health and well-being, clean keto is likely the better choice.

It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to choose one approach exclusively. Many people find success by incorporating elements of both clean and dirty keto into their lifestyle, allowing for flexibility while still prioritizing whole, nutrient-dense foods.

Ultimately, the best approach is the one that you can maintain long-term and that supports your health and well-being.


In summary, clean keto and dirty keto are two different approaches to the ketogenic diet, with clean keto focusing on whole, unprocessed foods and dirty keto allowing for more flexibility in food choices. Both methods can result in weight loss and the benefits of ketosis, but clean keto may provide additional overall health benefits. When choosing the right approach for you, consider your personal health goals, lifestyle, and preferences, and remember that a combination of both methods may be the most sustainable option.

Amanda Dawn

HI! I'm Amanda. A trained chef, nutritionist, and writer who is passionate about helping people live a healthy lifestyle. I lost 75 lbs in my journey and I love to help others enjoy great, wholesome food!

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