It seems like everyone is trying the ketogenic diet these days, from celebrities like Jersey Shore‘s Vinny Guadagnino, Tim Tebow and Halle Berry, to everyday people who are using it to drop significant amounts of weight.
The keto diet requires your daily calorie intake to come from a breakdown of 60-80 per cent fat, 20 per cent protein, and 10 per cent from carbs. It’s all about getting your body into a fat-burning mode called ketosis, which happens when you start decreasing your carb and protein intake.
“Ketosis is where the body no longer uses glucose from carbs as its main energy source. It starts breaking down fat instead, creating more ketones for energy,” says Wesley Delbridge, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“Since people on ketogenic diets are eating fewer grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, they usually end up deficient in very important micronutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, iron, fatty acids and even pre and probiotics,” says Delbridge.
So what exactly is the dirty keto diet?
“It’s been coined ‘dirty keto’ because it doesn’t require you to care about the quality or the source of your nutrients,” says Jessica Crandall Snyder, RDN, a registered dietician at VitalRD. The normal keto diet focuses on the quality of macronutrients you consume—healthier fats (like walnuts, and olive oil), organic meats—versus getting your macronutrients from highly processed foods that have poor nutritional quality, says Snyder.
Dirty keto is basically all about convenience.
“A lot of people find the ketogenic diet requires a lot of meal preparation, planning, cooking, researching food items—on dirty keto you can have processed foods. Dirty keto says you can go to the local fast food chain and get a hamburger with cheese but just take the bun off. They don’t care that it’s been processed,” says Delbridge.
So should you try dirty keto?
Probably not. While it may be possible to stay in ketosis while doing dirty keto, your body will eventually feel the effects of eating junk. Eating too much processed meat, for one, may lead to an increased risk of cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
And since the keto diet is already on the restrictive side, the addition of the quickly digestible, nutrient-deficient filler foods definitely can sidetrack your weight loss goals, making you feel more hungry and maybe even lead to a binge.
“Dirty keto is totally a justification to eat whatever you want,” says Crandall Snyder. “It’s more similar to Atkins. The way we re-name the fad diets out there is mainly so consumers jump on the bandwagon.”
By Emily Shiffer