Clean vs Dirty Keto Interview on Sirius XM BYU Radio

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The other day I had the pleasure of being interviewed on BYU radio on Sirius XM. Here is a rough outline of what we talked about!

  • Why do so many people try the keto diet and then end up stopping after a short amount of time?  

It’s my opinion that too many people have become part of the instant gratification nation. If they don’t drop 10# in the first week, they give up. As I tell the people I advise, you put this weight on over a period of ime, if you plan to lose it in a healthy fashion, it will take time as well. There is no doubt that keto will help you lose eight quickly, but results vary and I think the more overweight you are, by percentage the faster you will see losses. It’s easier to lose 10% body weight at 300# than 10% body weight at 150# and people don’t seem to get that. Additionally, you should be exercising as well and when you gain muscle mass it weighs more than fat for the same mass; therefore the scale does not tell the whole story. I advise people to take multiple measurements and keep them in a spreadsheet. My markers are: shoulders, chest, waist, hips, thighs.

What Is the Keto Diet?

  • keto dietis an eating style that  limits % of carbohydrates.
  • 90% fat, 6% proteinand just 4% carbohydrates,
  • forces the body to use fat as its primary fuel. triggers ketosis.
  • Ketosis – your body breaks down both dietary and stored fat for fuel and creates ketones in the process.
  • Ketones are a byproduct of burning fat that are generated in the liver and can be measured in the blood.
  • Keto originally developed in the 1920s to help control  epilepsyin children.
  • It’s also a very effective way to drop weight quickly, manage type 2 diabetes. and thus, some individuals are adopting the ketogenic diet as a health regimen.
  • The keto diet is so popular right now because of its reputation for causing quick fat loss., however, the sourceof the fat you eat doesn’t necessarily matter when you’re trying to lose weight on the keto diet-if you’re still in ketosis, it’s likely still “working,” .
  • Bacon Cheeseburgers, for example, are high in fat and protein and low in carbs, so they don’t disrupt your body’s state of ketosis. That means that technicallythey fit the keto diet parameters, and you’ll still lose weight. (Even though, it’s common knowledge that burgers certainly aren’t a health food.)

One of the most important things to remember when you’re following a keto diet is that there are healthier-and less healthy-ways to follow this diet,” she says.

“To do keto the right way, you should always be supporting your health.”


  • Can you tell the difference between clean keto and dirty keto? 

Clean Keto vs. Dirty Keto-and Why It Matters

Clean keto  puts more emphasis on food quality than traditional keto diet. focuses on whole, unprocessed foods that are nutrient-dense foods, high in fiber and low in net carbs-but are still packed with other nutrients-such as avocados, green vegetables, and healthy fats

The meals have no more than 50 grams of carbs per day, a moderate protein intake of 15–20% of daily calories, and a high fat intake of at least 75% of daily calories.

Clean keto consists mainly of whole foods from quality sources, such as grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, wild-caught seafood, olive oil, and non-starchy vegetables.

High carb foods, including grains, rice, potatoes, pastries, bread, pasta, and most fruits, are severely restricted or banned.

Clean keto also minimizes your intake of processed food, though it can still be eaten in moderation.

What is dirty keto?

  • Dirty keto, on the other hand, is following the keto diet and adhering to its carb restrictions without actually steering clear of unhealthy foods. “The dirty keto approach includes lots of meat, butter, bacon, and pre-made/packaged convenience food,” Although dirty keto is still low in carbs and high in fat, its food sources are often not as nutritious.
  • includes seemingly healthy things like protein bars, shakes, and other snacks that boast being sugar-free and low-carb.
  • These foods aren’t made with health in mind, because, “when any diets become trendy, companies try to make money off of it by making processed foods [that fit the diet],”
  • “When people go on diets, they tend to gravitate towards the unhealthy part or asking the question: ‘What can I get away with?'”
  • As a long-time advocate of the keto lifestyle, the dirty keto is concerning: “I don’t want people to just lose weight; I want people to heal and perform better”
  • And, yes, you should care, even if you’re losing weight on the “dirty” version of the keto diet. While you can technically attain ketosis and garner some of the keto diet’s benefitsusing this approach, you may miss out on several key nutrients and increase your risk of disease.
  • “The biggest foundation of weight loss is health,”. “If you have any inflammation, if your gut is imbalanced, if your hormones are off, if your blood sugar is off-all of those things are going to make weight loss a lot more difficult and maintaining that weight loss a lot more difficult.”
  • Dirty keto follows the same breakdown of fats, protein and carbs. But compared to a regular keto diet, there’s one key difference — it doesn’t matter where these macronutrients come from. A clean keto diet encourages you to eat organic vegetables, pasture-raised meat and quality fats like coconut oil and grass-fed butter. On the dirty keto diet, you can hit a drive-thru for a bun less double bacon cheeseburger and diet orange soda.
  • What is your experience with both?

I have lost weight doing both styles. The biggest difference is how I feel. By consuming less sodium and refined or processed items, I retain less water and feel lighter even if I weigh the same.

  • What are the benefits of clean keto?

In a nutshell you are eating foods that your body recognizes. They are whole foods that are unprocessed and contain all the vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins you need while doing away with excess sodium or preservatives. Your body has an easier time processing these and converting them into healthy energy sources with less inflammation.

  • Why is dirty keto dangerous?

Contains processed foods

Dirty keto is also called lazy keto, as it allows for highly processed and packaged foods.

It’s popular among individuals who want to achieve ketosis without spending lots of time prepping clean keto meals.

For instance, someone on dirty keto might order a double bacon cheeseburger without the bun instead of grilling a grass-fed steak and making a low carb salad with a high fat dressing.

Dirty keto meals are often high in sodium. For people who are sensitive to salt, high sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source).

Processed foods are also likely to have far more additives and fewer of the micronutrients your body needs. What’s more, they are associated with several negative health effects, including weight gain, diabetes, overall mortality, and heart disease (6Trusted Source7Trusted Source8Trusted Source).

Certain additives, including monosodium glutamate (MSG) and trans fats, are linked to adverse conditions

. like cancer, obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes (9Trusted Source10Trusted Source11Trusted Source12Trusted Source).

Moreover, the added sugars in many processed foods may prevent you from reaching and maintaining ketosis.

May lack micronutrients

Dirty keto foods are lacking in vitamins and minerals that your body requires.

By choosing processed foods over nutritious, whole foods, you may become deficient in micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, and vitamins C, D, and K (13Trusted Source).

While these nutrients can be obtained from supplements, studies suggest that your body digests and utilizes them better from whole foods (14Trusted Source15Trusted Source).

Examples of foods that can be eaten on a dirty keto diet – regularly or only on cheat days – depending on your interpretation:

  • Artificial sweeteners.
  • Processed oils.
  • Processed proteins.
  • Low-carb snack foods, such as potato or tortilla chips and cookies.
  • Chai and coffee drinks that contain coconut milk and sugar-free syrup.
  • Pork rinds and beef jerky.
  • Cheese chips.
  • Chocolate.
  • Salami and cheese.


If you’re eating junk food that doesn’t meet your body’s basic nutrient needs, there are going to be consequences.

Your body uses vitamins and minerals from whole foods to support everything from your cells to your immune system, strengthen your bones, keep your brain sharp and give you energy .

The processed foods allowed in the dirty keto diet contain additives and preservatives that can decrease your healthy gut bacteria and actually damage the lining of your gut. Also, processed foods like chips, meat jerky and even soda can be loaded with sodium, which causes water-retention, bloating and puffiness.[3] When you’re in ketosis, your body needs more water than usual in order to stay hydrated, so adding excess sodium to the mix can exacerbate dehydration, constipation, and other symptoms of the keto flu.[4] In short, preservatives reverse all the gut-strengthening, inflammation-busting benefits of a clean keto diet that encourages a diet high in whole foods.[5]

While the dirty keto diet may be tempting for people on a busy schedule, it emphasizes processed food and may severely curtail your micronutrient intake and you probably won’t feel your best if you’re eating too many preservatives and not enough nutrients from whole foods.

Skip: Dirty Keto Foods

Pre-packaged and processed keto diet foods: Just because packaging boasts being keto-friendly doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to eat them. “Artificial foods are filled with chemicals and they can disrupt your gut bacteria and can even affect your brain,” Especially  avoid artificially sugar-free foods, like chocolate protein bars (which are often sweetened with sugar alcohols). “You’re better off having a piece of high-percentage dark chocolate if you want a treat,”

Full-fat dairy: Overuse of high-fat dairy products (ex: full-fat cheese) can lead to a diet that is extremely high in saturated fat, which puts people at risk of cardiovascular disease,. “If most of the foods you’re choosing are highly processed or filled with saturated fat, you’re probably consuming an overall unhealthy diet,” says Shusterman.

Processed and red meats:  Limiting processed and red meats (such as sausage, bacon, and beef) in favor of less processed, leaner options like fish and poultry. “Fish, like salmon, provides omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fat in our diet, and a great source of protein, is a really good start. If you are going to eat red meat, I recommend buying only grass-fed and organic meats. “When cows are grain-fed they are full of omega-6 fats, which is inflammatory,” When people worry about the costs I stress that you can eat less and still feel satiated because its whole food.

The Takeaway

Ketogenetic diets, whether they’re clean or dirty, can lead to rapid weight loss, but maintaining that reduction long term can be really challenging. “In general, any diet that requires users to make such drastic changes and all but eliminate the foods they enjoy, will typically offer limited long-term success,”

For some this diet tends to be a temporary solution to a permanent problem. This diets attract users because they enable them to eat very indulgent and satiating foods,” he explains. That’s because fatty foods may help you feel fuller longer.

For some the lack of variety gets old quickly. “In time, the average user grows weary of these diets and ultimately ends up returning back to the root cause of obesity,”

These root causes include:

  • Overconsumption of calories, often from processed carbohydrates.
  • Lack of portion control.

To give us an idea of what clean keto really looks like, can you give us examples of what you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner on clean keto?

Foods to eat on clean keto

  • Healthy Fat sources: grass-fed butter, ghee, avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, sesame oil, and walnut oil Sustainable Malaysian PALM OIL
  • Palm oil has scientifically proven benefits for the heart, brain and liver. It is loaded with carotenoids– much more than carrots and tomatoes. Much better for cooking and grilling, as it holds up to high heat and has a neutral flavor.


  1. Naturally trans-fat free, cholesterol-neutral and the bonus: It’s non-GMO.
  • Supplements contain tocotrienols (vitamin E), carotene and vitamin A in their natural form, which are derived from Malaysian sustainable palm oil.
  • Use the cooking oil or you can find Malaysian palm oil in many foods.
  • Good for brain and heart health
  • Good-for-you saturated fat
  • It can be used in high heat without becoming a carcinogen, unlike other oils including olive oil.
    • Contains nutrients that protect the skin from the inside

Malaysian sustainable palm oil is a good-for-you oil. It is naturally trans fat-free and non-GMO. It also has beta carotene, tocotrienols and other nutrients that have been shown to support good health.”

  1. Deforestation/Environmental Impact/RSPO
  • 50% of the country’s rainforests are protected forever; the U.S. only has 4% of its native land remaining. It takes 10 times more land to produce the same amount of canola oil or soybean oil. Livestock requires the most land usage
  • The trees grow for 30 years, and produce a harvest every 3 months. There’s no chemical processing. They just squeeze out the oil.
  • Palm isn’t labor intensive. They just chop off the palm fruit and bring it to the processing plant, which runs on steam.

What I love about Malaysian palm oil is knowing that half of this country’s forests are protected.

  • High fat protein sources: grass-fed beef, chicken thighs, salmon, tuna, shellfish, eggs, bacon (in moderation), full fat Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese
  • Low carb vegetables: Eat produce that’s an array of colors to ensure you’re getting a good variety of vitamins and minerals. A lot of vegetables are high in fiber, which makes their net carbs very low. cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, green beans, peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, and celery. To pair the veggies with fat, bake them in butter, sauté or steam and eat with guac or tahini.
  • Limited portions of berries: strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries
  • Nuts, nut butters, and seeds: walnuts, pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts, as well as hemp, flax, sunflower, chia, and pumpkin seeds
  • Cheeses (in moderation): Cheddar, cream cheese, Gouda, Swiss, blue
  • Beverages: Clean hydration is important because you’re cutting a lot of sugar and sodium out of your diet and this helps flush your system.water, sparkling water, diet soda, green tea, black tea, coffee, protein shakes, milk alternatives, vegetable juice, and kombucha


Clean keto refers to the traditional keto diet, which is meant to get your body burning fat as its main fuel source instead of carbs. This eating pattern consists of whole, minimally processed foods that are low in carbs but high in fat.


  • Can you help us clear up the misconception that keto has to be all organic, expensive and hard to follow?


  • How can we make the keto diet, or other diets for that matter, cheaper?

1st-portion sizes, 2nd whole foods cost less for satiety sake, not engineered

  • What are some of your favorite clean keto recipes?

Fathead pizza, squash “lasagna”, cauliflower puree [blank canvas for flavor -spice, roasted garlic, pesto

  • What are good resources to find new recipes for keto or other diets?

Eat primal, Mark Sisson

  • How do you curb your cravings for foods that do not fall under the keto umbrella?

Flirting with keto or cyclical keto. I don’t like to think that I am on a restricted plan otherwise I would not last, but when I need a break I cycle. Keto Cycling / Flirting with Keto

Although there are a lot of keto products on the market, it can be hard to stay on the keto diet. This is not Atkins, which doesn’t demand that you stay in ketosis. And it’s easy to make the mistake of eating a higher ratio of protein than fat, which can knock your body out of nutritional ketosis. If staying on keto full time is too demanding, there are a few options that might work for you.

  • Intermittent fasting. This is a way to dip your toe into the keto world. If you go on an

18-hour fast, you can stimulate ketosis. Ideally your body will be running on fat calories

(ketones). Then maybe try a keto cleanse, which is basically following the keto diet for a

few days or weeks.

  • Keto cycling/Flirting with keto. A lot of keto advocates are into this. They follow a

ketogenic diet for three to four weeks, a few times a year. It can be very therapeutic.

Think of keto cycling as hitting the reset button on your metabolism. It helps jumpstart

your weight loss.

Additional keto tips and strategies

  • Don’t fall for the water weight myth. Some people will tell you that the first pounds

you drop when you stop eating carbs are nothing but water weight. Studies now show

there’s some fat in there as well!

  • How have you been able to make healthy eating a lifestyle rather than a fad?

Results, blood testing proof, race results. If I got on a scale every day, I’d be a slave to the numbers. By focusing on empirical data such as smaller clothes, faster running or cycling times, blood results, I have inspiration to keep moving forward.