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The Dirty Keto Diet: Can You Lose Weight?

What is Lazy Keto?

Also known as dirty keto, lazy keto is choosing poor quality fatty foods on the Ketogenic Diet that increase inflammation and free radical damage. Dirty keto also includes eating processed and cured fatty foods.

Additionally, instead of eliminating sugary foods, those that eat lazy keto just replace the real sugar with artificial sweeteners and continue eating “sweet” foods.

What’s the difference between dirty Keto and clean Keto?

Clean keto is training your body to become fat adapted which reduces cravings and lets you avoid artificial sweeteners altogether.

Also, clean keto is eating high quality fats such as fish, olives, avocados, keto friendly nuts, pasture raised butter, cheese and free range eggs. This resource breaks down the keto diet food list into clean and dirty categories.

Lazy keto fats
Good fats vs. Bad fats

When I explain the keto diet to people I always tell them dirty keto is still better than no keto.

I hear the argument that clean keto is to expensive. I get it, some of those organic, grass fed, pasture raised food items are pricey.

Healthy cold pressed avocado and olive oil are are a lot more expensive than cheap, heat processed vegetable oils like corn and canola.

The best advice is to just do the best you can and buy the healthiest foods you can afford. A hotdog is still a lot better for you than a honey bun.

Here is a list of the cleanest keto superfoods you can eat. You might be surprised that some of these superfoods aren’t even that expensive.

Consuming excessive artificial sweeteners is another form of dirty keto.

The main problem with over reliance on artificial sweeteners, especially in the beginning phase of keto, is that is slows down breaking the sugar addiction. Sugar is extremely harmful to your metabolism and the sooner you break free from its bonds the better.

While sugar substitutes do not raise blood sugar like real sugar, they could potentially cause a “fat storing” insulin response and in some cases can damage the intestinal flora and contribute to keto constipation.

A lot of people that have difficulties and fail on the keto diet fail because they follow a dirty keto diet. They don’t ingest enough healthy fats, prebiotic fiber, probiotics, vitamins and minerals. Here is an informative article on the 10 downsides to keto and how to avoid them.

Understanding the difference between good fats and bad fats are paramount to avoiding dirty keto.

Those of us on the Ketogenic Diet are increasing our intake of dietary fat to use as energy. Using fat as energy lowers our blood sugar and subsequently lowers our insulin.

Keeping our bodies in a low insulin state is one of the secrets to fat loss, lower inflammation, and improvements in insulin sensitivity. Eating plenty of fat, especially in the beginning can help you get Fat or Keto-Adapted.

Introducing Lazy Keto:

Eating just any fats for the sake of getting enough fat into your diet is part of what’s called Lazy or Dirty Keto. Contrary to popular belief, butter is not dirty keto, especially pasture raised, organic cultured butter.

Unhealthy fats are linked to a whole host of negative health issues including inflammation, arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and autoimmune diseases like asthma.

Dirty Keto Examples

Too many bad fats cause free radicals and oxidative stress:

This study clearly shows an imbalance in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk of Obesity.

A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is essential for optimal physiological function. The free radicals have to be regulated by antioxidants, if not, then you have oxidative stress that creates dangerous free radicals.

The standard American diet consists of about a 15:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. The recommended ratio is about 1:1. Omega 3 fatty acids and omega 9 fatty acids help fight free radicals by acting as antioxidants. Here is a list of the best antioxidants to combat inflammation.

Omega 9 fatty acids:

Omega 9 fatty acids can be found in red meat, whole milk products, nuts and high-fat fruits such as olives and avocados, olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, macadamia nuts and beef tallow.

This information from Wikipedia shows that foods containing monounsaturated fats reduce low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol (LDL), and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) good cholesterol.

The HDL is needed to carry the LDL back to the liver and prevents cardiovascular disease. Eating good fats can raise your HDL. Avocados are one of the healthiest foods on the planet for good reason.

Eating the best keto friendly nuts can also prevent dirty keto.

Excess omega 6 is lazy keto

This study on PubMD titled Good Fats versus bad fats, concludes that Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in vegetable oils may contribute to obesity.

Oxidative stress caused partly by dietary imbalance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has been shown to contribute to non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

If you’re interested in liver health read: How to heal a fatty liver.

Olive and avocado oil are monounsaturated fatty acids. Research shows that they may benefit insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation.

In addition, omega-3 fats from fish and fish oil have been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Good fats and bad fats on Keto (Video)

The ratio of omega 3 and 6 content in oils:

Fat ratios of oils to avoid dirty keto
Fat ratios to consider on Lazy Keto

This study on PubMD shows that heating oils past their smoke point can cause oxidative stress and contribute to cardiovascular disease.

These are the 5 best oils for cooking:

Smoke points in degrees (F)

  • Avocado 520
  • Ghee 482
  • Mustard 480
  • Palm 450
  • Beef Tallow 400

A further study on Omega 3 fatty acids shows that omega 3 fatty acids slow the formation of proinflammatory markers and scavenge free radicals. The bottom line is that omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and oxidation of low-density lipoprotein particles.

“To sum it up:  When looking at total cholesterol, if you have high HDL and are eating the right ratio of healthy fats, you are far less likely to have a negative cardiovascular event.”

Robert Bryant
Take krill oil to avoid lazy keto
Krill oil is high in omega 3 fats

Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides, blood pressure, blood clotting, decrease stroke and heart failure risk and improve insulin sensitivity.

The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are in:

  • Krill
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Trout

*Try to get your fish in the “wild caught state.” For example, my favorite fish is salmon. A 4-ounce serving of salmon provides 2,400 mg omega-3s. The “farm raised” fish are grown in crowded pens where they are treated with antibiotics and eat a less healthy grain-based diet.

Eat fish instead of processed lunch meat to avoid lazy keto

Plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids are excellent because they can also give you prebiotic fiber that strengthens your intestinal flora and can prevent constipation on the Ketogenic Diet. 

However, the problem with plant sources is they don’t actually contain omega 3 fatty acids. They contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

Don’t forget about plant sources:

Plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids are excellent because they can also give you prebiotic fiber that strengthens your intestinal flora and can prevent constipation on the Ketogenic Diet. 

However, the problem with plant sources is they don’t actually contain omega 3 fatty acids. They contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

ALA has to be converted to omega 3s (EPA and DHA) by enzymes. So only about 9-14% of the ALA is actually converted to omega 3 fatty acids. Plus plant sources can increase blood levels of ALA and EPA but not necessarily DHA.

So make sure you are supplementing your plant sources with animal sources.

Here are the best plant sources of ALA:

  • Flaxseed meal
  • Chia seeds
  • Algae oil
  • Hemp hearts
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Walnuts
  • Perilla oil

Keep your fat intake balanced. Try to increase your intake of omega 3 and omega 9 fats and lower your intake of omega 6 fats and you will have long term, healthy success on the Ketogenic Diet.

Astaxanthin stops oxidation

Avoid artificial sweeteners

You can read all about sugar and artificial sweeteners here in this article: The Case Against Sugar.

But bottom line is eating too many keto desserts with artificial sweeteners is an example of lazy or dirty keto.

Artificial sweeteners do cause an insulin spike. This study published on Medical News Today shows that insulin rises 20% after consuming sucralose.

The receptors on the tongue are reacted by artificial Sweeteners. Even though they don’t contain calories, they “think” they are consuming something sweet. The receptors on the tongue, gastrointestinal tract and pancreas all work together.

Beware of the keto chaffles, they would be considered Lazy Keto.

Chaffles are utterly delicious but provide very little nutrition. If made with almond flour they can be a little high in carbs and the artificial sweetener in the syrup might give some people problems. However, I am not a chaffle nazi and I do eat them occasionally. Here is a helpful keto chaffle recipe and explanation.

So technically, consuming artificial sweeteners during a fast will not break your fast because they do not contain calories. However, they should definitely be avoided because they will stop autophagy.

Autophagy is one the major benefits of intermittent fasting. It is well established that autophagy is suppressed by insulin.

To much dirty keto can also contribute to a keto weight loss plateau.

Lazy Keto does work. You can lose weight and get into ketosis using the “lazy” version of the Ketogenic Diet, however it can make keto more difficult and add to the potential problems associated with keto. Here are the top 10 downsides of the keto diet.

While not ideal, dirty keto is still better than no Keto, and you can mitigate some of the oxidative damage by taking these beneficial antioxidant supplements.

“Try to limit bad fats and artificial sweeteners to improve your long term health on the ketogenic diet.”

Blaze Pizza is considered dirty keto, but their keto crust pizza is only about 15 carbohydrates for three slices.


Robert Bryant

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