While conventional (and sensible) wisdom around nutrition is ‘everything in moderation’, the ketogenic diet is anything but conventional. Centred around the idea that carbs are the devil, it encourages eating a high-fat, moderate protein diet to accelerate fat loss. Followers of the diet eat less than 40 grams of carbohydrates per day, in order to push their body into the fat-burning state of ketosis. To put it into perspective, 30 grams of carbs would be equivalent to 1 medium banana.
Yep, it’s pretty extreme. And it just became a little more extreme, thanks to the latest offshoot of the keto diet taking the l0w-carb world by storm. Enter, the dirty keto diet. While the ‘clean’ version of the keto diet would involve getting your fat intake from nutritious sources like avocado, nuts and fish, this approach is a little… well… dirtier. Think burger patties, copious amounts of cheese, bacon and butter, lashings of whipped cream and fat bombs.
It’s a uni student’s dream and a cardiologist’s nightmare! Much like macro counting, the idea behind ‘dirty keto’ is that it doesn’t matter what you eat—as long as you’re keeping your fat high enough and your carbs low enough.
As we mentioned in this article (and countless times before!) you can lose weight from virtually any diet—so long as you’re eating fewer calories than you burn. So yes, you can still lose weight while gorging on these heavily processed foods. You may even still get the rapid fat-burning benefits of ketosis, as it still works on the same principle (your body is using fat as its main energy source). “The goal of a keto diet is to place your body into a physiological state of ketosis, where your body uses fat instead of sugar because there is limited available sugar,” says dietitian Scott Keatley. “This state can be achieved through both good and bad methods.”
Short answer: Hell no. Long answer: swapping nutrient-rich foods for a heavily processed diet will most likely leave you feeling crappy and can lead to gut health issues and potentially even serious health conditions. “It encourages the intake of processed foods that are often high in saturated fats, sodium and carcinogens. These factors increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancers. The ‘dirty’ diet is also low in fibre and phytonutrients, which significantly impacts your gut microflora, bowel motions (e.g. constipation) and overall gut health,” explains Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Josh Reed.
As always, eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet is the best for your health and longevity—keto or otherwise!