Have you heard the phrase “clean keto” being thrown around in the keto community or online? If you’re not sure what clean keto means, don’t worry. We’re here to explain everything you need to know about it.
What is Clean Keto?
So, what exactly is clean keto? A traditional ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and high in fat. For most people, the typical keto diet is used to manage weight loss, as well as a myriad of other health benefits.
Clean keto is a type of keto that focuses specifically on the quality of food, as well as focusing on consuming very nutritious foods. One may find that a clean keto diet is much stricter in terms of food intake than a traditional keto diet.
The clean keto diet has no more than 25 grams of carbohydrates per day and a very high fat intake of at least 75 percent of daily calories. In addition, the clean keto diet has a moderate protein intake of 15 to 20 percent of daily calories.
Clean keto prioritizes whole foods over processed foods. Most clean keto meals come from grass-fed beef, wild-caught seafood, free-range eggs and vegetables without a lot of starch. Clean keto focuses on knowing where your food comes from and emphasizing the quality of your ingredients.
Foods to Eat on Clean Keto
Clean keto allows for a range of different foods that can be prepared fairly easily and satisfy your cravings throughout the day.
Here are some examples of delicious foods eaten on this diet:
- 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: cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, green beans, peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, and celery
- Limited portions of berries: strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries
- Fat sources: grass-fed butter, ghee, avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, sesame oil, and walnut oil
- Nuts, nutter 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 cheese, and manchego
- Beverages: water, sparkling water, diet soda, green tea, black tea, coffee, protein shakes, milk alternatives, vegetable juice, and kombucha
The Benefits of Clean Keto
Your body can’t produce micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – which is why you need to get them from food. Whole foods are the best source of micronutrients. On the other hand, food processing can lead to the loss of certain highly sensitive nutrients, such as ascorbic acid, folic acid and thiamin.
Highly processed foods contain harmful ingredients, such as added sugars and trans fats. Consuming them repeatedly can negatively affect your skin health in different ways.
For example, added sugars break down collagen, making your skin prone to aging. One study also showed that consuming trans fatty acids can increase your risk of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) skin damage.
Eating a clean diet can promote younger and healthier skin, along with other strategies such as sleep and stress management.
One of the best things you can do to promote gut health is to reduce the amount of processed foods you eat. A clean keto diet helps your gut by providing fiber, which can:
- Help with digestion, especially for those who are constipated at the start of the keto diet. (In contrast, processed foods not only contain more sugar, but are often lacking in fiber).
- Increase the diversity and abundance of your microbiome – the microbes in your gut. Eating a variety of foods, which happens on a clean keto diet, will boost your microbiome.
In addition to fiber, a clean keto diet provides probiotics from foods such as asparagus, artichokes, garlic and onions. Probiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the gut.
Break Through a Weight Loss Stall
If you’ve been on a keto diet for a few months and you’re hitting a weight loss bottleneck, check your food choices. You may be consuming more calories, sugar and carbohydrates due to eating more processed foods.
In addition, it’s easy to overindulge in these foods because they taste more appealing. This is especially true if you’re not tracking your macro nutrients and calories.
When it comes to calories, whole foods are naturally lower in calories, which helps with weight loss. (Though keep in mind that not all calories are created equal and you should get your calories from high quality sources).
A clean keto diet emphasizes getting carbohydrates, fats and proteins from whole sources. In addition to high nutrient density, unprocessed foods have no added sugars and other harmful ingredients, and they are lower in calories.
Dirty keto may offer convenience while also allowing for ketosis and weight loss, but it has negative health consequences. It’s okay to eat highly processed foods occasionally, but if you want to thrive on ketosis, you should make clean eating your main focus.