Are You Following the Keto Diet Correctly?

If you are on (or are looking to start) the keto diet, here’s what you need to know.

By Toni Gasparis
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What is the Dirty Keto Diet? (3:44)

By now you have probably heard of the keto diet. This trendy weight loss plan has taken the Internet by storm because it produces fast and impressive results. The concept behind the keto diet is a high-fat and low-carb eating plan that kicks your body into fat-burning mode. But recently the phrase "dirty keto" has become popular as a way to both have your cake and eat it too — dieting without giving up the foods you love. If you are currently on the keto diet, or hope to get on the plan, read on to make sure that you are following it correctly and don't fall prey to dirty keto instead.

From This Episode:

Are You Doing Keto All Wrong?

What is the Keto Diet? 

The keto diet focuses on eating whole, natural ingredients. The specific breakdown is to have 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbs in your meals every day. The fats should be healthy ones like avocado, olive oil, and nuts. The protein should be lean meat, fish, or legumes. And the carbs you consume should come mostly from vegetables. Decreasing the amount of carbs you consume and increasing your fat puts your body into ketosis — a metabolic process where your body burns fat for energy, causing weight loss over time. 

What is Dirty Keto? 

According to wellness physician Dr. Josh Axe, the dirty keto diet that has become popular in the media has the same breakdown of fat, protein, and carbs as the regular keto diet. However, unlike the keto diet, dirty keto doesn't pay attention to where your nutrients come from — in other words fats could be from cheese, protein could be from a burger, and carbs could be from pizza.

The Problem with Dirty Keto 

Eating fat, protein, and carbs without regard to eating healthy can be extremely problematic. While eating on the same ratio as the keto diet will still switch your body into ketosis and allow you to lose weight, it might cause damage to your body. Most of the fat found in foods like cheese, bacon, and ground beef are filled with saturated fat which can lead to serious health problems like heart disease. Every time you deny your body micronutrients — the good things found in healthy food — you could cause long term issues in your body.

If You Experience Keto Flu 

"Keto flu" is a term that refers to negative symptoms you may experience if you are on the dirty keto plan. Processed foods have sodium and preservatives in them which can lead you to become bloated. Being bloated does happen for a brief period of time when on the keto diet, but on the dirty keto this symptom doesn't seem to go away. Consuming unhealthy foods can also make you dehydrated and constipated. You might even find that both your skin and hair are lackluster! While you are losing weight, your body is not healthy internally — Dr. Axe points out that you will have short term success with long term consequences. 

Other Consequences of Dirty Keto

According to Dr. Axe there are other concerns that come along with dirty keto such as inflammation and nutrient deficiency. Additionally, you could gain your weight back. If the diet isn't followed properly, by eating the right foods, there is no guarentee you can lose the weight and continue to keep it off. Dr. Axe suggests the way to not fall victim to dirty keto is to try your best to follow the keto diet guidelines by eating wholesome, natural foods. However, no one is perfect. If you eat a bacon cheeseburger as your fat and protein for one meal, it won't kill you. Dr. Axe just cautions not to make a habit of eating unhealthy food like this all the time.

Related: 

The Ultimate Guide to the Ketogenic Diet

A Sample Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan

Dr. Josh Axe’s Keto Pancakes Recipe

Article written by Toni Gasparis