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Dirty Keto Allows You to Indulge on Fast Foods — But Is It Worth It?


By now you’ve probably heard of the keto diet, but dirty keto — what’s that? This low-carb, high-fat diet is similar to the former, but with one small difference. You can eat all the processed foods you have to deny yourself on a regular keto meal plan. Sound too good to be true? Quite possibly. 

According to both the keto and the dirty keto diet, roughly 75 percent of your daily calories should come from fat, 20 percent from protein, and about five percent from carbs. If you follow this macro breakdown, your body will enter ketosis, a state where it burns fat reserves instead of glucose. 

Dirty Keto Vs. Clean Keto

The major difference between the two diets, is that dirty keto has no rules about where you can and can’t get your macronutrients. You might eat a high-protein dinner of baked salmon and steamed veggies on a clean keto meal plan, but if you follow a dirty keto diet you could get your protein and fat from a bacon-wrapped hot dog instead. 

Part of the focus of the keto diet is to move away from processed foods, opting instead for grass-fed meat and organic veggies. But its dirty cousin throws “healthy eating” out the window, allowing you to consume diet soda, bacon cheeseburgers, and even Cheez Whiz. 

Is Dirty Keto Safe?

While there’s conflicting evidence regarding whether the keto diet is safe, there’s no debating that the dirty keto is, if not unsafe, potentially very unhealthy. Just look at the nutrition facts for those pork rinds you’re contemplating and you’ll see they’re totally lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. 

You may lose weight on the dirty keto diet, but at what cost? Inflammation, bloating, unhealthy food cravings, and weight gain after you stop are all potential side effects. 

“Can you ‘do keto’ relying on fast food, convenience food and packaged food? Yes,” says Stephanie Pedersen, author of Keto Lunches: Grab-and-Go, Make-Ahead Recipes for High-Power, Low-Carb Midday Meals ($11.57, Amazon). “But your skin may not look as good. Your hair may not look as good. You may not feel as good. And, in the long run, you may run into some deficiencies.”

Sometimes you may just need a dirty cheat day, but it’s up to you to decide if the possible drawbacks of full-time dirty keto are worth it. If you’re looking for a healthy way to indulge, why not try one of our easy keto dessert recipes instead?

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