It’s no secret that the ketogenic diet is WILDLY successful at dropping undesirable weight.
Honestly, you can’t even make it out of a friendly Facebook stalk without scrolling past the latest keto success story.
As a Health Coach (and fellow keto-enthusiast), I’m thrilled that the ketogenic diet is catching on. The reason being, when properly formulated, the keto diet has the ability to reduce inflammation, repair the microbiome, balance hormones and SO much more!
The only problem is— MANY are going about keto all wrong.
So you’re telling me I can eat cheeseburgers (minus the bun), butter, bacon, and cheesecake and STILL lose weight?
Damn right you can!
In fact, keto can be an easy sell because it’s 100% possible to shed weight by eating the foods you love. However, this is also where things can take a turn for the ugly.
In order to reap the benefits of improved gut health, hormone restoration, and disease prevention you MUST consume low-glycemic, nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods— exactly the sort of foods that clean keto calls for.
Which means, dirty keto may help you lose weight, but in the long run, your health will take a hit.
What is Dirty Keto?
Essentially, “dirty keto” is the ketogenic diet gone wrong. It involves eating the wrong fats, cutting the wrong carbs, and inevitably leads to dietary disaster. Matthew Black, a registered dietitian with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center states, “The main difference with dirty keto (versus clean keto) is that users believe they have the freedom to eat whatever they want, providing they maintain a low enough carbohydrate intake.” Meaning, all sorts of unhealthy, processed foods such as sugar-free syrup, hot dogs, and American cheese are a-GO on dirty keto.
3 Common Pitfalls of Dirty Keto
1. Selecting the Wrong Fats
What are the “wrong” fats?
The following is a list of some of the worst sources for fat. Be aware that most processed food products contain PUFA’s due to their extensive shelf life and inexpensive price point.
Trans fats are the most inflammatory. In fact, they are among the worst substances for our health that we can consume. Many studies have shown that consuming foods containing trans fats increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. The following are three trans fats to avoid at all costs!
1.Hydrogenated or Partially Hydrogenated Oils
Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils have been subjected to destructive high-temperature processing methods. Significant oxidative damage has occurred during the processing which can result in a disturbance of healthy arterial function. And even though vegetable oils don’t stimulate insulin, they contribute to insulin resistance by creating oxidative stress in the liver.
Your best bet is to get into the habit of reading labels. If hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil is listed in the ingredients, put it back on the shelf.
You can make a safe bet that the majority of inexpensive vegetable oils undergo hydrogenation or partial hydrogenation. This includes oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, soybean, and corn — just to name a few.
2. Margarine or Buttery Spreads and Sprays
By now, you’re probably aware that margarine is not the healthier option. But, buttery spreads and sprays can be deceiving. Just because they’re marketed as an olive or coconut oil spread they may not be healthy for you. Read the label before wasting your hard-earned money.
If a hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil is one of the first ingredients on the list— you’re being deceived my friend.
3. Vegetable Shortening
Vegetable shortening is rather easy to avoid because it’s not often used outside of baking. In the case that a recipe calls for it, red palm oil might be your best alternative, just be conscientious and purchase sustainably sourced palm products (as there are deforestation issues involved).
2. Consuming Inadequate Amounts of Fibrous Foods (Especially Veggies)
Prior to keto, most of us were accustomed to deriving our daily dose of fiber through breads, whole grains, cereals and legumes— all of which are not so keto-friendly. The thing is, most of us are able to cut out these starchy foods in order to achieve ketogenic success, but few of us are able to hit our dietary fiber count after doing so.
The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the following approximate daily intake:
- adult men require about 34 grams of fiber (depending on their age)
- adult women require about 28 grams of fiber (depending on their age)
If you want to continue having healthy bowel movements while in ketosis you need to up your daily dose of fiber. The following is a list of high-fiber, keto-approved foods.
- Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
- Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, arugula, chard)
- Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower)
- Nuts (macadamia, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios)
- Mushrooms (crimini, portabello, shitake, white)
- Seeds (chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin)
- Prebiotic veggies (asparagus, garlic, leeks, onions)
- Psyllium Husk (supplement)
3. Eating “Keto-Friendly” Processed Foods
This one may seem obvious because the ketogenic stresses the importance of cutting out processed food products. The thing is, most processed food products on the market contain excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates— making them an obvious no-go on the keto diet. The problem is, food companies are catching onto this “keto-craze,” and with that comes a slew of “keto-friendly” processed food products.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not dogging them all— I’m sure as shit thankful that I can have the occasional bag of chicken chips or erithritol ice cream without feeling like a heroin addict in serious relapse. The problem is— keto or not, these processed food products are not exactly healthy— and when consumed in excess, will most certainly lead to backed- up bowels and impaired gut health.
What is Clean Keto?
In order to cash in on ALL the serious keto benefits (HULK-like energy, disease prevention, longevity, etc.) you’ve got to focus on clean ketogenic foods. Clean keto is about eating nutrient-dense, whole foods. Period. Leafy greens, consciously-sourced proteins, and unprocessed fats. It’s really that simple. And just in case it’s not that simple, I’d encourage you to check out my latest FREE ONLINE TRAINING: Getting Started with Clean Keto
3 Essentials of Clean Keto
1. Eating Heart-Healthy Fats
What are the “right” fats?
Before we continue with the “best of” list, a quick disclosure.
The issue of healthy fats, insulin resistance and inflammation is a bit of a loaded topic. If you go searching for it, you’re sure to find substantial argumentative evidence on either side.
Unfortunately, we can’t say ALL saturated fat is good and ALL unsaturated is bad. Quality, in fact, plays a huge role. Actually, quality is likely the main determinant separating healthy from unhealthy fats.
For now, just remember that eating a diet high in healthy saturated fats and low in polyunsaturated fats will decrease inflammation.
And inflammation may lead to a wide array of health problems such as:
- chronic pain
- heart disease
- thyroid issues
- dental issues
- and cancer
So tell me already, which fats do I eat?
Fats with high amounts of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) are best: they are stable and anti-inflammatory, protect against oxidation and have many other health benefits. Look for grass-fed and organic sources; these are always best.
The following is a list of the ten best sources for fat. The asterisk denotes non-heat applications. Meaning oils marked with an asterisk will oxidize when heated, which is harmful to your health.
2. Reserve Carb Count for Nutrient-Dense Veggies
As mentioned, a properly formulated ketogenic diet maintains a very low carbohydrate count—generally under 30 grams of carbs per day. Ideally, your carb count should be reserved for nutrient-rich, complex carbohydrates such as green leafy or cruciferous vegetables.
3. Select Sustainably-Sourced Protein
Before we even get into this, you should be well that the topic of sustainably-sourced meat is a FULLY loaded topic, and honestly, we’re just skimming the surface here.
The majority of meat on the market is produced by large-scale factory farms. And the thing is, factory farms such as Tyson, JBS, Cargill, Smithfield, and Perdue mass produce their meat at the expense of your body, the animal and our planet.
So what are factory farms exactly?
Factory farms are large, industrial operations that are more concerned with the bottom line than they are with animal or planetary welfare. These commercialized slaughterhouses keep animals in such horrific conditions that the animals are often pumped full of antibiotics in order to ward off disease.
And just so we’re clear, over 95% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms. So the fact that you shop at Whole Foods or dine out at expensive restaurants means next to nothing. I’m not saying that you can’t find consciously sourced products at Whole Foods or select restaurants, I’m just saying, you’re going to have to do your homework.
What Do the Food Labels Mean?
Just in case you’re not in the mood to do homework, I’ve done the work for you. First, you should know that words on a package mean basically nothing. Written words on packaged goods do require governmental approval. However, you can imagine how companies often abuse this. For instance, a product could claim “all-natural” because their livestock isn’t fed plastic. Labels, on the other hand, are far more significant. Labels require specific certifications, ensuring a higher-quality product.
Organic meat is a good place to start considering routine antibiotic use is prohibited. However, keep in mind that an organic label tells us nothing about animal welfare or additional “natural” additives such as sugar or MSG.
Food labeled “organic” cannot legitimately contain monosodium glutamate, but can contain other ingredients that contain MSG. For instance, natural pork flavoring, sodium caseinate and citric acid are ingredients that commonly lurk in pork products— all of which generally contain MSG.
ASPCA Recommended Certifications
The ASPCA recommends that those who eat or buy meat, eggs or dairy seek out products bearing the logo of one of the checkmarked certifications below. These third-party verified programs represent a spectrum of better ways to raise animals—from enriched indoor environments to pasture-based farming—but all offer animals significantly better lives than conventional factory farms.
Certified Humane is an even better choice than organic. Certified Humane ensures continuous outdoor access for ruminants. Although, outdoor access is not required for birds and pigs, unless the words “free-range” or “pasture” also appear on the packages. What’s more, Certified Humane prohibits cage confinement, hormones, and subtherapeutic antibiotics. Certified Humane represents a significant improvement over conventional standards.
Animal Welfare Approved
Currently, the “Animal Welfare Approved” label is as good as it gets. Under this seal, animals are ensured continuous access to pasture or range, which means, there are no feedlots. What’s more, Animal Welfare Approved prohibits cage confinement, hormones, and subtherapeutic (preventative or growth-promoting) antibiotics. Even better, these standards extend to breeding animals, transport and slaughter. And just to be sure the farm is in compliance, every Animal Welfare Approved farm is subject to audit.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Dirty keto may help you lose weight, but in the long run, your health will take a hit.
If you’re interested in cashing in on ALL of the incredible health benefits keto has to offer (optimal performance, cellular health, ideal weight), then you have no choice but to focus on a CLEAN ketogenic diet.
But the BIG question is: Where (and how) do you begin?
Well, you could spend some serious time Googling for answers— and eventually piece together an effective-ish ketogenic diet— but there’s no promise that the information you’ve gathered won’t lead you in the wrong direction.
OR, you can let me help you!
Ready to “go-keto,” but have no idea how to begin?
Join me in a FREE online training where I’ll reveal my step-by-step process for getting started with the ketogenic diet.
If you want to learn:
- What to eat on a CLEAN ketogenic diet
- How to properly calculate your macros
- And how to optimize your health and weight loss on keto
Then you better save your seat— cause this training is for you!
Whether you’re well-versed or brand spankin’ new to keto life and looking for some help, you should check out Katie’s coaching program. Coach Katie lives keto all day, errryday. She keeps up to date on the latest science, so you don’t have to. But more importantly, she addresses your specific goals to help you achieve ultimate success on your keto journey. And it’s always better to have someone in your corner, guiding you along. So if you’re ready for total life transformation and ultimate keto success, schedule your FREE initial keto consultation today!
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Katie Rodriguez nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.