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Keto recipes

The different types of keto

All the different types of keto have the goal of consuming low carbohydrates in a day and thereby putting your body in a state of ketosis. You might think, keto is keto, right? But what do terms like clean keto, dirty keto, lazy keto, and high protein keto mean? I’ll explain all of these to you here because, even though they all fall under the keto umbrella, there are significant differences. Understanding the various forms can help you determine which one is best for you.

Table of Contents:

Clean keto

Keto recipes

Clean keto is the most strict but also the healthiest way to follow your ketogenic lifestyle. In clean keto, you maintain the standard keto macronutrient ratios (70% fat, 25% protein, 5% carbohydrates) while paying attention to more than just macros. You not only focus on percentages or grams but also consider the source of the foods you consume. The carbohydrates you eat mainly come from vegetables, the proteins have a natural origin, and the fats aren’t solely from cheese, burgers, ready-made mayonnaise (with unhealthy fats), and bacon. You consciously select the foods you eat because you know you’re helping your body be healthier and feel better. You don’t just think about “can I eat this because it fits my macros,” but you consider what your body needs to get all the right nutrients.

The description above may sound like you can only eat vegetables, meat, and nuts, but that’s not the case. For example, you can still enjoy a dollop of mayonnaise with your meal, but instead of the bad fats found in store-bought mayonnaise, you opt for a delicious homemade mayonnaise. It’s incredibly easy to make healthy mayonnaise, and it only takes a few minutes. You can find the recipe here.

You can also indulge in products like cheese and unsweetened liquid whipping cream, but you carefully consider the amounts. You want to ensure enough variety in the different healthy fats available while avoiding excessive dairy consumption.

If you find it challenging to figure out which foods fit into a healthy clean keto lifestyle, you can find an overview of commonly used clean keto foods to choose from here.

Unfortunately, there are still many misconceptions about what healthy fats are and what unhealthy fats are. You can learn more about this in this article.

Dirty keto

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Dirty keto means that you maintain the correct macronutrient ratios for keto (70% fat, 25% protein, 5% carbohydrates) but don’t pay attention to the healthiness of the products you consume. In other words, if it fits into your daily total, you can eat it.

Many people who follow dirty keto tend to consume fewer vegetables in proportion (even though these are your main source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber). They consume a lot of fats without considering whether they are healthy or unhealthy fats, and they pay less attention to the amount of dairy they consume. This form of keto is easier than clean keto, but it carries the risk of nutrient deficiencies and eating products that may not be suitable for keto because they can cause significant fluctuations in blood sugar. Think, for example, of sweeteners that do affect blood sugar levels or ready-made products that contain ingredients like cornstarch. For example, I sometimes come across comments from people who say, “a bite of a Snickers fits into my daily total, so that’s fine.” Of course, everyone is free to make their own choices, and this is still a healthier lifestyle than consuming large amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods. However, my personal advice would not be to follow this approach.

Lazy keto

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As the name may suggest, lazy keto is a more relaxed approach to wanting to eat a ketogenic diet. Lazy keto means that you roughly follow the keto principles of low carbohydrates, high fats, and moderate protein, but you don’t pay attention to the exact ratios, and you don’t track your daily intake. You also don’t consider the origin of the ingredients in what you eat. So, you aim to minimize the number of carbohydrates you eat in a day, which keeps you in ketosis, but you don’t take it too seriously.

The advantage of lazy keto is that you have more options in terms of what you can eat. The downside is that you have a higher risk of falling out of ketosis (because you’re not tracking your carbohydrate intake), you might consume foods that can cause significant fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, and there is a chance of developing deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Also, there is a reasonably high chance that you consume less healthy fats and more unhealthy fats, which can have various adverse effects on your health. If you only want to follow keto for weight loss and don’t want to put too much effort into it, then this form of ketogenic eating may suit you. It’s certainly better than consuming large quantities of carbohydrates daily without considering the impact of your diet. However, if you genuinely want to eat healthily and reap as many health benefits as possible, I would not recommend this form of ketogenic eating.

High protein keto

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High protein keto is a form of ketogenic eating that aims to stay in ketosis but involves consuming a relatively higher amount of protein (30-35%) and a lower amount of fats (60-65%). The carbohydrate intake remains low, allowing you to stay in a state of ketosis. However, it often happens that people do not properly educate themselves about this form of keto, leading them to consume much more protein than intended and significantly reduce their fat intake. If you consume too much protein, there is even a risk of getting out of ketosis because the excess protein in your body can be converted into sugar. You can read more about this here.

High protein keto is often combined with the basic principles of clean keto but with different macro ratios.

This form of ketogenic eating is particularly suitable for people who engage in a lot of intensive exercise because their muscles can use the extra protein for recovery, for those who require extra protein for medical reasons, or for people who cannot handle the high amount of fats in a clean keto lifestyle. However, it’s essential to educate yourself thoroughly to avoid taking excessive protein, which might not yield the desired effects.

Can you combine different keto approaches?

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The most common approach is to choose one of the forms of keto mentioned above and adhere to its principles. However, you can certainly alternate between them or even mix multiple forms. For example, you might pay attention to the source of ingredients, focus on consuming healthy fats, but not meticulously track every meal (combining clean with lazy). Determine which form (or forms) best suits you, and remember that adjustments can always be made along the way.


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