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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Keto Diet arrow What Is Clean Keto? The Facts You Need to Know!

What Is Clean Keto? The Facts You Need to Know!

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 24, 2023
3 min read 1698 Views 0 Comments
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Clean keto concentrates on the quality of the food that you are eating. Is it better than dirty keto?

What is clean keto

Aren’t all keto diets created equally? Well, the answer might surprise you. There are quite a few variations on the popular keto diet that allows for greater control over what you eat, your weight loss, and your overall health.

Our keto experts dive deep into what clean keto actually entails, the foods that you can eat on this diet, as well as the main differences between clean keto and “dirty keto.”

What Is Clean Keto?

A traditional keto diet is low-carb and high-fat. When you eat keto, your fat intake should be close to 70% of your daily calories, while carbs should be only 5% to 10% and protein up to 20%. Most people who follow a keto diet do so for weight loss reasons.

This is because when you eat keto, your body is deprived of high-carb foods for fuel, which forces your body to burn stored fat for energy, which is then turned into fatty acids and converted into ketones. This process can quickly burn fat and help you lose weight.

A clean keto diet puts a lot more emphasis on eating nutrient-dense whole foods, as well as food quality. When eating clean keto, you’re likely going to be focusing on grass-fed beef, wild-caught seafood, free-range eggs, and non-starchy vegetables.

Clean keto also greatly reduces your intake of processed foods. While they can still be eaten in great moderation, clean keto focuses heavily on quality whole foods.

What to Eat on Clean Keto?

Unlike traditional keto, a clean keto diet has a maximum amount of 25g of carbs per day, and you should be avoiding all alcohol, grains, legumes, and processed foods. That begs the question: what can you eat? Let’s take a look at some clean keto meals.

#1 High-fat protein

One of the most important things on any ketogenic diet is to make sure you’re getting a good quality source of healthy fats, especially with your protein. You’ll want to focus on quality, high-fat protein sources like grass-fed beef, salmon, eggs, cottage cheese, and tuna.

#2 Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are an amazing source of fat while eating keto. Walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, and almonds are all quick and easy clean keto snacks. Seeds are also a good source of fat, like hemp, chia, and sunflower seeds. They’re great alone or in a dish.

#3 High-quality fat

If you get all your fat from your protein source, you might be in danger of getting too much protein. So make sure you get high-quality fat from other places, like avocados, coconut oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, grass-fed butter, sesame oil, and olive oil. Smother your veggies in some oil and enjoy a delicious, fatty snack.

#4 Low-starch veggies

Plenty of vegetables actually contain a fair amount of carbs from their starch. So, when making your clean keto food list, make sure that you include low-carb veggies like celery, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, kale, spinach, and peppers. A halved red pepper is a great sandwich replacement.

#5 Limited fruits

There are some fruits that you can have on clean keto, so long as you eat them in moderation. Some yummy fruits and berries that you can have consist of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. They’re a great addition to your full-fat Greek yogurt for a refreshing snack.

Dirty Keto vs. Clean Keto

What is dirty keto? Well, it’s basically the exact opposite of clean keto. People who eat dirty keto are often interested in the benefits of a ketogenic diet, like losing weight, but they’re unable to commit either due to money or time restraints.

Dirty keto allows for highly processed foods, like processed meats, fast foods, high sodium, and unhealthy fats like trans fats. Someone who is eating dirty keto foods is probably less concerned with the quality of their food and just wants to reach their macros.

For someone who is on a time restraint, can’t dedicate their time to cooking at home, or otherwise lives in a place where following clean keto guidelines might be difficult, dirty keto is a quick and effective way to still follow a ketogenic diet.

But, there are side effects as well.

A dirty ketogenic diet is much more likely to have additives and fewer micronutrients, as well as being linked to heart disease and obesity. A dirty keto diet may also have more added sugars, which can make it harder to achieve ketosis.

A Word From Nutritionist

A ketogenic diet is a great alternative health lifestyle that focuses on food quality and helps promote weight loss. Clean keto consists of much higher quality foods and focuses on cooking at home, knowing where your food comes from, and avoiding packaged foods.

It’s not for everyone, though. Clean keto foods can be hard to come by if you live in a place that doesn’t have a lot of access to free-range eggs and wild-caught fish. For some people, lazy keto is actually much more accessible and gives them more energy.

However, even if you can’t commit to a clean ketogenic diet, something more traditional might be better for you than the health risks that can come from a dirty keto diet.

It’s important that your desire for the “keto” label doesn’t lead you down the path to nutritional deficiencies.

Dirty keto foods might even bring you right back to where you started with excess weight gain, because of the low quality and the difficulty of staying in ketosis.

Make sure you talk to your doctor before modifying your diet drastically in either direction, however!


Clean and dirty keto diets are both drastically different. Clean keto prioritizes nutrient-dense foods, as well as knowing exactly where your food comes from. If you’re looking for a diet that will keep your body burning fat, then you might want to take a look at clean keto.

There are plenty of clean keto recipes that will help you make meal plans in order to easier transition away from processed foods and fast food. The nutrient density of clean keto means that you’re not just helping your body lose weight; you’re also helping your gut health, heart health, and overall health.

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Thalia has always wanted to be a writer, starting her first local newspaper at the age of 11. She also has enjoyed a passion for health and fitness since a young age, playing many sports through her schooling career, and still enjoys biking, running, and swimming today. She studied English Language at University for 3 years, developing a passion for spelling, grammar, and research. She now has over 10 years of experience writing, proofreading, and editing, and has paired this with her love for health and fitness by writing health content.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 24, 2023
3 min read 1698 Views 0 Comments

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