What Is Dirty Keto? Everything To Know

What Is Dirty Keto? Everything To Know

Keto and all of its varieties are becoming more popular than ever, with the newest addition being dirty keto.

Dirty keto (similar and sometimes identical to lazy keto) is a low-carb diet with a little more flexibility. If you’re too attached to certain food favorites, dirty keto allows you to enjoy them on occasion or in small portions. 

There are both pros and cons to going on dirty keto. Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time dieter, let’s discuss dirty keto, some of its health benefits, any side effects, and ways you can see results on this diet plan.

What Is the Keto Diet?

Keto is a low carbohydrate and high fat and protein diet. The typical or clean keto diet prioritizes eating protein and fat to encourage the body to go into ketosis. Ketosis turns fat molecules into energy as opposed to glucose, supporting wellness benefits like healthy blood sugar levels and weight loss

The traditional keto diet is known for being strict about net carbs, which is why some people opt for other options. Dirty keto is a way to ease into keto without intimidation. 

What Is Dirty Keto?

There isn’t a big difference between regular keto and dirty keto in regards to consuming high fats and protein and limiting carbs. Dirty keto makes a few exceptions where traditional keto does not, mostly with foods you are permitted to have. The goal is to keep your macronutrients under a certain amount and occasionally indulge in traditionally forbidden keto foods.

In dirty keto, your diet should consist of 75 percent fats, 20 percent protein, and five percent carbohydrates. These are called macronutrients. As opposed to the strict whole-food approach of regular keto, a small amount of processed food is permitted. 

What Are Examples of Dirty Keto Foods?

Dirty keto foods allow some wiggle room where normal low-carb diets don’t, so long as you stay within your appropriate macronutrient levels. 

Processed meats that would traditionally be rejected by keto dieters can be consumed in moderation. Bacon, sausage, pork rinds, and other meats can be included as well. Even the occasional cheeseburger works on dirty keto! 

Have you been missing certain fruits and veggies on keto, like grapes, citrus, or even corn? Dirty keto allows these in small amounts. 

Sugar-free gelatin mixes, sugar-free sports drinks, and store-bought keto bread or bars also count. Adding small amounts of sugar or starch to recipes also counts. Additionally, you can add small amounts of artificial sweetener in place of sugar to get the sweet flavor you crave. 

Even some fast foods can be enjoyed in moderation. The goal of dirty kero is to make it easy for someone to consume the right amount of macronutrients, even if it means having a few non-whole foods. Keep in mind that you still need a proper mix of healthy, whole foods in addition to anything processed you consume. 

Can You See Results on Dirty Keto?

You can absolutely still see results on dirty keto the way you would with regular keto! That is, so long as you follow the macronutrient ratios that are right for your plan. The key is to stick to it and not fall back into old cravings. 

Thankfully, keto diets of all varieties can help control cravings thanks to filling, protein-packed foods. But if you find yourself struggling to keep within your macros and overeating, you may need to switch to clean keto. 

Like normal keto, your body enters a state of ketosis that can heavily support weight loss. When the body turns fat molecules into ketones, it uses them for energy instead of sugar. Without carbs to provide sugar, the body relies on stored fat for energy. 

It’s also important to note that just because dirty keto allows for certain foods doesn’t mean your entire diet can consist of them. You still need a balanced diet that focuses mostly on whole, healthy foods packed with good fats and protein. While you can enjoy sugar-free sodas and sports drinks, you still need to drink plenty of water to maintain hydration. 

One downside to dirty keto is that if you aren’t careful, it could lead to nutritional deficiencies. When you make room for processed food choices, you may be excluding more nutrient-dense foods.

For this reason, you may want to take supplements on dirty keto to ensure you are getting the proper micronutrients. If you aren’t consuming enough fiber, it could lead to issues such as constipation and other digestive woes.

An overconsumption of processed foods has been shown to negatively affect health and promote weight gain. Remember, both food quantity and food quality matter in the grand scheme of your health. So enjoy junk food on occasion, but never as a regular thing. 

How Can You Eat a Clean Keto Diet?

Don’t think dirty keto is for you? A clean keto diet may be a better fit. Remember that you can always switch back to a dirty keto to compare and contrast your results. It may surprise you!

Prioritize Whole Foods

No matter what, your priority should be on delicious, whole foods with plenty of nutrients so your body can get what it needs. A few dirty keto foods won’t derail your diet so long as you make nutritious foods the priority. 

Avocados, nuts, grass-fed beef, ghee, and other foods high in healthy fats should be a regular part of your diet. Low-carb fruits and veggies such as berries, kale, spinach, asparagus, and similar snacks are also filled with vitamins and minerals that can help keep your body going. 

Getting bored? Try one of our many keto recipes that can help you enjoy your favorite comfort foods while still staying in ketosis.

Pay Attention to Macronutrients

Counting macros is one of the pillars of keto dieting. So no matter what you’re eating, notice the grams of carbs, protein, and fat in your meals or snacks. At first, you’ll probably want to write down your macros in a journal or a phone app. After a while, you’ll probably remember how many macros are in each of your favorite foods. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to calories. After all, a calorie deficit is key to achieving weight loss. But counting macros helps you maintain nutritional goals in your body, making it feel like proper fuel rather than a reduction of food. 

If you’re not sure about whether or not you’re hitting your macros, you can always try a keto meal plan. A meal plan could help you plan out keto snacks and meals and accurately balance your mix of whole and packaged foods.

Make It Easy Where It Counts

Resisting cravings doesn’t have to be hard. Instead, indulge in healthier versions of your favorite foods.

Easy-to-make snacks like bone broth, chocolate smoothies, and other delicious options can help make any keto diet easier. You can also swap out common cravings with keto-friendly ingredients. 

For instance, you can replace regular oil with olive oil or coconut oil when cooking or add protein powder to your meals and beverages. When in doubt, swap it out. 

Remember to also eat small but protein-packed snacks regularly to avoid extreme hunger or the temptation to overeat. The idea isn’t to deprive yourself just because it’s a diet. It’s to revamp your overall health and show you a new approach to eating. 

The Bottom Line

Dirty keto is one way to try out the keto diet while still enjoying some of your favorite foods. A limited amount of processed foods, such as the occasional cheeseburger, pork rinds, starchy vegetables, and carb-heavy fruits, are permitted on dirty keto, 

Whether you’re on a clean or dirty keto diet, you should strive to eat whole foods, carefully count macronutrients, and adapt recipes to make everyday favorites keto-friendly. 

The key is to limit your intake of processed foods, dirty keto or not. You need to ensure you have a diet of healthy and nutrient-packed foods for your body to thrive and function. 

Looking for recipes, advice, or simply want support with your keto journey? Follow the Dr. Kellyann blog for the latest in wholesome, healthier living. If you’re looking to begin your own keto diet journey or want to try a cleanse, our products can give you a head start.


Concerned About Constipation? | National Institute on Aging

Food Processing and Health | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss | PMC

What Are Macros And Why Should I Be Counting Them? | SCL Health