Dirty Keto Vs. Clean Keto: Which Diet Plan Works For You?
5 Minute Read

Dirty Keto vs. Clean Keto: Everything You Need to Know

3 January 2023

Hey! Quick Question- which would you use for your car?

A fuel that damages its engine and reduces performance or fuel that allows it to rev at maximum capacity and still stay spick and span?

The answer is obvious, right? We would go for the second option every time.

Then why do we continue shovelling junk into our bodies every day?

The Ketogenic or Keto Diet is a healthy fuel source for the body. It focuses on high fat and deficient carb intake.

The Keto Diet has helped millions of people over the world lose and keep off weight. Not only that, but it also leads to higher cognitive and physical performance. With a growth in popularity, Keto has grown several offshoots such as Clean Keto and Dirty Keto. Let’s find out more about them!

What is Clean Keto

Clean Keto is another name for the original ketogenic diet format. It is a high-fat, very low-fat diet with an emphasis on whole foods and foods in their natural state. It is influenced by the paleo diet philosophy of eating a diet as close as possible to that of our palaeolithic ancestors.

Clean Keto has a wide range of benefits such as weight loss, more energy, better physical and mental performance and reduced risk of a host of diseases such as Thye 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. 

One of the main benefits of the Clean Keto diet is the high density of micronutrients. This is due to the strict ban against processed foods in favour of whole foods. The abundance of essential micronutrients leads to added benefits in the long term.

What is Dirty Keto

While the benefits of Clean Keto are many and undoubted, it may be a difficult diet to maintain due to its highly restrictive nature. It also involves a lot of meal prep which may not always be possible for busy individuals or those not inclined to cook. 

The Dirty Keto Diet is a modification of the Keto Diet that follows a less restrictive regime while still giving some of the benefits of the Clean Keto Diet. It still follows a high-fat, low-calorie scheme while allowing processed foods and fast food. What it gains in convenience and taste, it loses in micronutrient density and health benefits.

Difference Between Clean Keto and Dirty Keto

While both are variants of the Ketogenic Diet, there are some major differences between them that we should be aware of

Type Of Foods Allowed

Both Diets focus on high-fat low carbohydrate foods but that’s where the similarities end. 

Clean Keto adheres to whole foods and unprocessed foods. 

Dirty Keto encourages adherents to go for processed foods with no requirements for whole foods as long as the correct macro ratios are maintained.

Macronutrient Density

Clean Keto is extremely dense in micronutrients due to the high proportion of whole foods. 

Dirty Keto severely lacks micronutrients due to being rich in processed foods. This makes it unsustainable in the long run and may even be unhealthy.

Fibre Content

Clean keto has far higher amounts of fibre than Dirty Keto, making it easier for your digestive system and better for gut health.

Dirty Keto may be quite low in fibre content.

Sodium Content

Dirty Keto has high amounts of sodium which may lead to several problems such as hypertension and kidney issues in the future. In contrast, Clean Keto has relatively lower amounts of sodium.

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Ease of Following

Dirty Keto is easier and more convenient to follow. The stringent rules of Clean Keto may mean that it’s not for people who disdain meal prep and cooking or have a busy lifestyle.  


Most of us don’t have bottomless pockets and following Clean Keto may often be an expensive affair. Dirty Keto provides a cheaper alternative.

Foods to Eat for Clean Keto and Dirty Keto 

Here are some of the food options you may consider when following a Keto diet

Clean Keto

  • Protein: Clean Keto is a high-protein diet so you should be getting plenty of it. Meats such as grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, and fatty fish like cod, salmon, tuna and shellfish are all excellent options. Eggs are great for a protein-packed meal. Vegetarians and vegans may opt for lentils and tofu.
  • Fat: Clean Keto is a high-fat diet. There are tons of healthy fat sources that you may choose such as olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, nut butter, chai seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sesame oil, fatty fish and organic butter. Make sure you stay away from unhealthy sources of fat like processed oils such as canola oil, vegetable oils, soybean oil and processed cheese.
  • Carbohydrate: Keep the carb content low and strictly avoid high fructose and sucrose products. In moderation, honey and organic maple syrup may be used as sweeteners.
  • Fibre: Low-carb veggies such as cauliflower, spinach, avocado, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, kale, and arugula are excellent sources of fibre and micronutrients.

Also Read: Leaky Gut Diet Plan: What to Eat, What to Avoid

Dirty Keto

All the foods previously mentioned may be eaten on a dirty keto diet.  But convenience is the name of the game here and there are plenty of processed options available

  • Bunless fast food burgers
  • All vegetable and processed oils
  • Bacon
  • Processed cheese
  • Low sugar sodas
  • Chips and french fries
  • Chocolate
  • Low carb cookies

In case you still have queries here are some FAQs


Is Dirty keto still keto?

Yes, Dirty Keto is still considered to be a Keto diet as it broadly follows the principles behind the Keto diet of eating high-fat, high-protein foods to utilise ketone bodies as the body’s main fuel source.

Does Dirty keto work for weight loss?

Dirty Keto can certainly help you shed weight but remember that it is not a great long-term solution. The lack of micronutrients and fibre will eventually catch up with you and the high proportion of processed foods can slow down weight loss


How fast can you lose weight with clean keto?

On average you can lose one to two pounds a week when following a clean Keto diet.

Is peanut butter clean keto?

This depends completely on the peanut butter that you’re eating. Organic, minimal-ingredient peanut butter is certainly keto friendly but you may need to do a bit of label reading as most options on the mass market are full of artificial sweeteners and preservatives

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