The Happy Type One

Dirty keto & the key to any healthy diet (S2E4 #14)

2 September 2020

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What is keto?

I explained in depth what keto is in episode 3 of season 1. Listen to the episode on apple podcast or spotify.

In short, keto is:

– no more than 50 grams of carbs per day

– a moderate protein intake of 15–20% of daily calories

– a high fat intake of at least 75% of daily calories

Restricting carbs puts our bodies into ketosis, a metabolic state in which we get our energy from fat rather than glucose in carbs.

This  can have several potential health benefits, including being more insulin sensitive, needing less insulin medication, getting flatter blood glucose (BG) levels, having more energy and less mood swings, etc. You can read more about these benefits and my personal experience with keto on my website

What is dirty keto?

Dirty keto, also known as “lazy keto”,  is another way of achieving ketosis the state where your body gets its fuel from fat (rather than glucose). It relies more on highly processed foods which are micronutrient poor, such as a Currywurst rather than grass fed beef, a colorful salad with a variety of vegetables and a high fat dressing with cold pressed oils. Plus Dirty keto contains more artificial sweeter and processed oils.

Dirty keto, also known as “lazy keto”,  is another way of achieving ketosis the state where your body gets its fuel from fat (rather than glucose). It relies more on highly processed foods which are micronutrient poor, such as a Currywurst rather than grass fed beef, a colorful salad with a variety of vegetables and a high fat dressing with cold pressed oils. Plus Dirty keto contains more artificial sweeter and processed oils.

There are many reasons on why relying on processed foods for any diet is unhealthy. Here are some – all is backed up by science, references are linked

Due to these negative long-term health effects, any processed food should always be more of an exception then a staple of your diet. The same applies for the keto diet.

One might say, I can eat dirty keto and supplement what I need. I hope the health risks mentioned already show why simply supplementing is not a viable substitute for a healthy diet of whole foods!

But a general note here is, that undoubtably supplementing can help (I supplement), yet some studies suggest that we utilizes micronutrients better from whole foods. We test for single nutrients, which results in the need for isolated supplements. But keep in mind, this is due to testing for a deficiency of a single nutrient and whole foods consist of thousands of nutrients we have evolved to benefit from, e.g. tomatoes consist of much more than just one single nutrient we could supplement for!

People who generally do not want to follow a healthy lifestyle but a short term diet for short term benefits, such as quick weight loss, go on dirty keto. Yet, as mentioned, it might be even harder to loose weight on dirty keto than clean keto.

But that does not mean, if you are occasionally eating processed food you are lazy. It is not about shaming anyone by calling them “lazy” or “dirty”! We need to be realistic and see what we can manage in our daily lives. It is the same as trying to eat only organic food, it is not possible for everyone all the time. I believe, educating ourselves and trying, where possible, to improve, is what life is all about! Obtain the knowledge then do the steps which are realistic for you!


No matter what you eat,

whole foods should be the priority in any diet!

Going on keto is no different!

What is clean keto?

Clean keto refers to a traditional keto diet consisting of whole foods and minimally processed foods that are low in carbs yet partially high in fat. Clean keto is rich in non starchy vegetables and is not limited to just meat, poultry and dairy products (sadly too often promoted as such)!

The main difference to lazy keto is not just the quality of food (processed vs. non processed) but also the choice of food (e.g. diversity and high micronutrient content).

For example, although meat is fine on keto, many studies suggest, that it should not be eaten daily due to concerns of increased acidity in the body and many other aspects (there are big debates about it which have been going on for years, I advocate more on the plant based side of things!).

A clean and healthier food choice would be a combination of meat with many micronutrient rich vegetables and plant based proteins such as Temphe, Edamame or Tofu, rather than just animal products. Many keto followers eat more veggies on keto, which is absolutely great! You can also be a vegetarian or vegan on keto.

What can I eat on clean keto?

So, which vegetables are actually non starchy vegetables?

I made a list of foods for you with examples for each food categories such as vegetables, fruits, protein, fat, nuts, cheese and drinks.

Foods to eat on clean keto:

  • Vegetables: non starchy vegetables, which grow above ground, leafy and green like spinach, lettuce, asparagus, olives, eggplant, cauliflower, zuccini (Courgette), peppers, broccoli, green beans

  • Protein sources: unprocessed, organic and grass-fed beef, chicken, fish like salmon, organic eggs, full fat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, temphe, edamame

  • Fruits: berries are great such as raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Plums, kiwis and cherries can also be an option.

  • Fat sources: preferably plant based like avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, sesame oil, and walnut oil, otherwise animal fats such as grass-fed butter, ghee

  • Nuts and seeds (in moderation): great energy source, keeping you less hungry for a longer period of time. Good options are pecan, Brazilian nuts, non salty macadamia, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pine seeds.

  • Cheeses (in moderation): preferably non cow milk, goat or sheep cheese, as they are more easily digested and less mass produced. Most cheeses are ok like cheddar, gouda, cream cheese, Swiss, blue cheese

  • Drinks: water, teas, coffee, vegetable juice and kombucha, wine (diet sodas are more for dirty keto 😉

The key to any healthy diet

There is a healthy path for all diets, keto is no different! The difference between clean and dirty keto is food quality and food choices. Dirty keto contains many processed items, clean keto includes more whole, nutritious foods. Both of them create a metabolic advantage by fueling from fat sources and bring your body into a state of ketosis.

Clean eating is the foundation of any diet we can aspire to follow. In a standard western diet, we are usually not lacking calories from macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs) but micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). So no matter how you eat, try to give micronutrients more of your attention than macronutrients. That sets the baseline for a healthy way of eating!

As T1Ds we have to watch our macros too. So let’s leave out nutrient poor carbs more and nourish our bodies from micronutrient rich foods.

Personal advice

There are so many opinions on what’s the right diet. My advice is, give priority to micronutrients (not macronutrients) and then see which adjustments you can make to ease BG spikes and increase insulin sensitivity. Clean keto might be just the perfect fit, if not, traditional clean low-carb can already bring you many positive results by compromising further benefits on keto, while maybe managing meals more easily in your hectic day to day life.

Whatever your way is, let me know your thoughts and I am happy to support you on your lowcarb and keto journey. We are here to learn and grow together. Simple send me a message or instagram!

You can contribute

 Your feedback matters to me, as this podcast is made for you! So please share your thoughts on todays episode with me on There you can also stay up to date on new episode coming out! 

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Your input and ideas help massively to keep my work alive and the love spreading!

You are a gift to this world, now go out and shine!


Yours Julia

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