What’s the difference between “keto” and “dirty keto” diets? First, the ketogenic (keto) diet is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high-fat diet. In doing this, the body goes into ketosis and starts using fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. It has become a very popular method of weight loss. So much that people find ways to meet those macronutrient counts in many different forms of nutrition.
Many keto dieters follow the macronutrient guidelines suggested above. They use a lot of clean, whole foods including things like avocados, coconut oil, ghee, green vegetables, etc. for their nutrition. On the other hand, dirty keto follows those same guidelines but includes a lot of meat, butter, bacon, and packaged foods. It is a way for people to make eating keto “convenient” with no concern for the quality of food. What are some common dirty keto foods? Steak covered in butter, asparagus in bacon grease, hamburger with bacon and cheese (no bun), fast food egg and sausage sandwich (no biscuit), are just a handful.
The keto diet originated as a way for people to find good health. It is often misconstrued into dirty keto, which does not benefit the wellbeing of most people. Dirty keto allows people to hit their macronutrient “count” without looking at the real nutritional value. Given this concept, you should know that there are 3 toxins you’re eating if you’re doing dirty keto. We will explore these toxins and how they impact your health next.
3 Toxins You’re Eating if You’re doing Dirty Keto
1. Artificial sweeteners – are found in a lot of processed and packaged foods. People are often fooled by “no sugar” and “sugar-free” labels. If you look at the nutrition label and see 0 grams of sugar… take note though that if you look at the ingredient list, you’ll probably find things like sucralose, aspartame, Acesulfame potassium, and saccharin. These are “fake” sweeteners that were chemically designed to sweeten like sugar. The problem is that the body can’t process them and consuming them can cause problems. Some studies suggest that artificial sweeteners can negatively impact not only gut microbiota but also insulin levels and weight. They can also be hard on the liver and are associated with different forms of cancer. Much of this is true not only for artificial sweeteners but most artificial ingredients. In the big picture, all artificial ingredients wreak havoc on the body.
2. Nitrates and nitrites – can be found in some foods, vegetables are one example. Unfortunately, they are sometimes added to foods as a preservative. Things like bacon, pepperoni, salami, prosciutto, amongst others contain nitrates and nitrites. Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are used to prevent bacteria and mold from growing on the meat product. Nitrites keep cured meats red as a product of a chemical reaction that prevents the meat from turning brown. Both nitrates and nitrites are compounds that contain nitrogen and oxygen atoms. How these compounds respond and/or react once in the body is what makes them toxic. With amino acids present, it is shown that high heat can turn nitrites into nitrosamines which are a carcinogen. A carcinogen is a substance that contributes to cancer, so this should be avoided at all costs.
3. Mercury – is a heavy metal that can build up in the body and over time potentially cause mercury poisoning. Symptoms of poisoning include anxiety, irritability, numbness, memory problems, and more. Developmental problems including motor skills are some of the serious complications to mercury exposure. To avoid mercury poisoning, we recommend eating wild-caught smaller fish from clean water. The larger the fish the more mercury could be present. Small fish absorb mercury in the water and then they are eaten by a bigger fish that contains mercury and this goes on and on and on up the food chain until it gets to us. It is likely that larger fish contain more mercury which we then consume.