You’ve most likely heard of keto and ketosis being thrown around in the weight loss world recently. Keto diets are a popular weight-loss tool because they speed up a natural process known as ketosis through a strict diet of low carbs, moderate protein, and high-fat foods.
Dirty keto and lazy keto are two newer forms of ketogenic diets and have been developed because a lot of people find pure keto diets hard to stick to. There are lots of dirty keto and lazy keto plans, cookbooks, and recipes available so let’s take a look at these.
What Is A Standard Keto Diet?
Keto stands for ketogenic, and a ketogenic diet is a diet that means your main sources of calories from fat and protein, rather than carbohydrates. The carbs you need to cut back on the most are the ones your body can digest most easily – sugar, white bread, pasta, soda, etc.
On a keto diet, you are consuming less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Your body eventually runs out of glucose (which is what carbohydrates are turned into once they are digested) and needs to look for alternative sources of energy.
After 3-4 days of no extra carbohydrates, your body uses up any stored energy in the form of glycogen and then begins to process fatty acids made by your liver into ketones.
These ketones can then be used as an alternate source of fuel which promotes weight loss. Keto diets are not meant for really long-term use but are good for those who are trying to get rid of excess fat that they had not been able to shed otherwise.
Occasionally keto diets are used by medical professionals to treat certain forms of epilepsy, heart disease, and other disorders but there is a lot more research to be done to make sure this is a viable tool for those conditions.
What Is Dirty Keto? What Is Lazy Keto?
- Clean Keto: the emphasis is on high-quality ingredients and whole foods (very few processed foods) and strict adherence to tracking keto macros.
- Dirty Keto: eat whatever you want (including processed foods) regardless of ingredient quality, but track your keto macros
- Lazy Keto: follow keto protocols and keep ingredient quality a priority, but the counting of keto macros is less strict.
Both clean and lazy keto diets insist on strict food quality, which means grass-fed, pasture-raised meats, and organically farmed foods as much as possible. Dirty keto doesn’t care about that so much as long as you adhere to your macro counts.
What Are Keto Macros?
Macros for any diet plans are essentially predetermined ratios for measuring things like total calories, total fats, total carbs, etc. The various keto diets have specific guidelines for the ratios to follow, depending on which one you choose, but the carbohydrate macro is never more than 20% of the whole day’s intake. [To learn more about Keto Macros, go ahead and read my article]
Macros help to break down the number of calories per gram in a type of food, and from there you can work out how much of that food can be put into your meal plan for the day or week. How is this calculated? Well, there’s a very basic formula for how many calories per gram carbs, fats, and proteins have.
- Carbs and protein have four calories per gram
- Fat has nine calories per gram
On a standard keto diet (clean, dirty, lazy, or otherwise) you’re generally aiming for 10 percent carbs, 20 percent protein, and 70 percent fat. If you’re on a 1600 calories per day diet these are the equations to help you figure out the macros.
Calories per day x percent of calories from food type/number of calories in food type = grams of food type per day. The following calculations are based on a 1600 calories per day diet.
- For carbs this would be 1600 x .10 / 4 = 40 grams.
- Protein works out as 1600 x .20 /4 = 80 grams
- Fat is 1600 x .70 / 9 = 125 grams
What Can I Eat on A Dirty Keto Diet?
On a dirty keto diet, you can eat processed foods like sausage, a double cheeseburger (without the bun of course) from your favorite fast-food place, or whatever. You don’t have to stick to high-quality ingredients all the time, which allows for it to be a little cheaper on the budget and potentially more varied in the types of food you’re eating.
A dirty keto diet doesn’t prioritize vegetables and lets you have processed meat (ie. lunch meat and packaged foods) as well as vegetable oil, provided you aren’t adding more carbs to your diet. It is a more convenient version of the diet for a lot of people.
Dirty keto diets are good for short-term use – when you’re on holiday or traveling for work ad finding it difficult to find ideal options, especially in terms of unprocessed meats.
What Can I Eat on A Lazy Keto Diet?
A lazy keto diet allows you to be less stringent about eating a high amount of fat, and you can increase your protein amounts if you so choose.
Whilst you still need to restrict your carbohydrate amount, a lazy keto allows you to have starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn, whole grains such as oats, barley, and quinoa, and fruits like bananas and mangos as your sources of carbohydrates. The main focus is on low carbs and high-quality ingredients.
People who cook for their family or enjoy dining out find a ‘lazy’ keto diet easier to stick to and find it’s more manageable in the long term if they can bend the rules using the lazy keto guidelines on occasion.
Pros and Cons of a Dirty Keto Diet
- More convenient than clean keto
- Can be useful when traveling or very busy
- Can cause you to be deficient in important nutrients.
- High amounts of processed foods can increase inflammatory markers
Pros and Cons of a Lazy Keto Diet
- Less restrictive than clean keto
- May suit those who cook for family members better
- Replacing bad carbs with better options is always a plus
- Does not always induce ketosis
- May not create a caloric deficiency which is key to weight loss
- Can cause you to be lacking in vital nutrients.
Should I Try A Dirty or Lazy Keto Diet?
You can certainly try them, although neither is quite as effective as a proper keto diet. That said, they’re both good ways of modifying your keto diet when circumstances require it – when traveling and there aren’t a lot of low carb options, or if you need to make a large meal for family who aren’t necessarily on a keto diet.
There are lots of great recipe resources for when you just want to bend the rules a little, like The Dirty, Lazy, Keto Cookbook. It has 100 recipes that can help you feed guests, or just make it feel like you’re eating something you’re not supposed to. These are all things that can help people stick to a diet.
Dirty keto and lazy keto can be useful short-term options or to add a little bit of variety every so often to your keto diet and may help to stick to your keto diet easier. But as with any type of diet, there are downsides and other ‘side effects’ that you should consider carefully as well.