It’s challenging to keep up with the vast array of diets today ranging from vegan to paleo and most lately keto, a diet comprised mostly of fats, some protein while strictly limiting carbohydrates. By restricting carbs, the body burns fat as fuel rather than glucose and enters ketosis which can result in rapid weight loss. But maintaining a strict keto diet takes discipline, planning and can be hard on the pocketbook.
A true keto diet focuses on quality sources of fats, proteins and very small portions of carbs. Think organic vegetables, grass-fed meat and dairy and healthy fats like avocado, coconut and olive oil. But sourcing and preparing all these highly specialized meals can be time consuming and expensive, hence the “dirty keto” approach. Dirty keto allows the consumption of processed and pre-made foods for people on the go who don’t want to be bothered making bulletproof coffee every morning. But because the foods are not always the best quality, overall health may suffer because micronutrient needs; vitamins, minerals and enzymes, are not being met. The immune systems may not function as well and older adults, in particular, may not be getting the proper nutrition to prevent bone loss, reduce inflammation or protect vision.
Although people taking a “dirty keto” approach may feel good about their weight loss, they can still experience bloating, cravings and inflammation or notice a change in their skin clarity. Hair may not be as shiny or healthy and because processed food often contains a lot of sodium and preservatives, dieters may experience puffiness or constipation.
The takeaway? Like most things in life, if it seems too good to be true, it probably will be in the long run. And dirty or lazy keto follows the same principle. A nutritious diet that focuses on healthy fats, lean meat, fish or legumes and carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables can not only trim the waistline but it will also help protect heart health and ward off other long-term problems. Restricting highly processed carbs and lowering sugar intake is also beneficial for health and longevity.
Learn more about keto diets and lazy keto by following this link to a recent article by registered dietitian Makayla Meixner.