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Nutritional Science Series 8: Dirty vs. Clean Keto

Made To Thrive’s Nutritional Science Series has unpacked keto in respect of radical metabolism, approaching how to reset your body and embrace a ketongenic lifestyle successfully and wisely. As we know, our primal ancestors followed a ketogenic lifestyle which yielded many of the benefits discussed in previous blogs including but not limited to an increase in energy levels, alertness, improved brain function, and optimal body fat composition.

A ‘clean’ keto diet is based on ensuring that we consume a fixed macronutrient breakdown of mostly healthy fats, high-quality protein in moderation, and restricted carbohydrates (less than 50 grams per day). This enables your body to enter a ketogenic state, being fueled with energy from fat (healthy fat consumption and your body’s ability to burn its own stores) avoiding hunger, weakness, and fatigue.

There is however a malevolent take on keto which has crept into the industry- something we term ‘dirty keto.’ Dirty keto assumes the same macronutrient breakdown of fats, protein and carbs as clean keto, however the core difference is that dirty keto looks purely at the macronutrient level without assessing the source of where these macros come from. So, instead of fueling your body with the goodness of healthy fats in the form of avocado, grass-fed butter or oily fish, dirty keto’ists will consume processed cheese or pork rinds doused in preservative-rich ‘fake’ spices.

Can you lose body fat this way? Potentially, but the question should be further reaching than just body fat reduction. Keto is a way of life that presupposes an ethos of wellness, improved health wellbeing, performance and thriving. Dirty keto may bring short term ‘success’ of fat loss, but the impact on your health and inflammation, will be detrimental.

A dirty keto diet is void of vital micronutrients like vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are critical to your overall health. Dirty keto foods are often high in sodium, flavorings and preservatives like monosodiumglutamate (MSG) which causes inflammation in the cells of the body and can trigger cravings, bloating and feelings of withdrawal which is counter to the essence of the core of ketogenic living.

Dr Silverman supports Made To Thrive’s perspective that you are what you feed your brain. He notes that “in a healthy digestive system, the cells that form the paper-thin lining of the small and large intestines are packed very closely together. In fact, they’re so close that under normal, healthy conditions, only digested food (solutes) and water—can and should—enter the bloodstream. But when there is intestinal inflammation or inappropriate dietary intake, the tight junctions of the gut lining can easily be disrupted and become too porous. Diets high in chemical-laden processed foods—such as those often consumed on the dirty keto diet—can damage the gut lining and force it to become more permeable. These same factors also affect the balance of both the trillions of beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut. When this balance is disturbed, harmful bacteria can get the upper hand and cause an increase in gut permeability.

The result is intestinal hyperpermeability, or “leaky gut.” This condition can allow toxins, bacteria, undigested food particles, and other undesirable gut contents to enter the bloodstream and circulate to the rest of the body, including your brain. Not only does your gut affect your mental state in how you feel physically, but the reverse is also true: Your mental state affects your gut and gut health. This makes following the clean keto diet a better choice for your brain’s health.”

It is thus evident that a clean keto approach is by far the more favourable, kinder and healthier programme for your body. Your success on a clean keto programme will be longer lasting, you will enjoy sustained energy knowing that you are fueling your system with macronutrient goodness for longer term benefit. We encourage you to try a ketogenic lifestyle and reach out if you would like a consultation to have someone walk a journey of guidance with you.

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