Clean keto follows the same macronutrient guidelines as standard keto but with an increased focus on nutrient-dense whole foods versus processed foods. By avoiding "dirty keto" fast foods and artificial sweeteners while emphasizing low carb fruits, veggies, and high-quality meat and dairy, you can clean up your keto diet and improve your mood, energy levels, and health all while losing weight!
In this article, you will learn:
What is Clean Keto?
Clean keto is a health-focused approach to the keto diet that combines the healthy nutrient density of the paleo diet with keto's fat-burning macros.
The clean keto diet boosts micronutrient density, supplying your body with more minerals and vitamins that are essential to enhancing every area of your health, from digestion to mood, brain function, and even skin and hair health.
Unlike dirty keto, another version of the keto diet which follows a much more lenient approach centered on convenience foods that are often devoid of micronutrients, clean keto places a higher value on healthy food choices. Instead of eating fast food like a bunless bacon cheeseburger for lunch, for example, a clean keto approach would involve healthier alternatives like salmon with a side salad that’s drizzled with a C8 MCT oil dressing.
Compared to other methods, following clean keto can offer many long-term health benefits. With this approach, the clean keto diet can help you optimize your health, lose weight, and feel your best!
Here are just a few of the benefits of the clean keto approach:
- Smooth digestion
- Stable energy levels
- Increased focus
- Long-term vitality
- Enhanced metabolism
- Steady weight loss
- Improved skin health
- Strengthened immunity
- Elevated mood
With a focus on eating whole foods, clean keto offers its followers more macronutrients, fiber, and powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s a long-term solution that helps shed off extra pounds while boosting overall physical and mental health.
8 Tips to Eat Clean on Keto
These simple tips will help you clean up your keto eating habits and maximize your health and weight loss results.
1. Swap Processed Foods for Whole Foods
A bunless bacon cheeseburger from your favorite fast-food joint may pass as keto-friendly, but it lacks essential micronutrients needed for optimal health. On top of that convenient processed junk foods like this are often full of sodium, harmful additives, and chemical preservatives.
A diet high in processed foods can negatively impact your health by causing a host of unwanted digestive problems like leaky gut, prolonged keto flu symptoms, and decreased energy levels. Plus, it can slow or stall results like increased energy, fat loss, and skin health.
Clean keto prioritizes long term health and understands the importance of being conscious about where you source your fats and nutrients from.
Instead of a bacon cheeseburger from your local fast food joint, try swapping it for a homemade grass-fed burger, topped with local full-fat cheese from your farmer’s market, and nitrate-free bacon!
2. Choose Healthy Fats
While looking for fat-rich foods to keep you in ketosis, keep in mind that there are many sources of fat, and not all of them are healthy.
Healthy fat is fat that creates anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are two examples of good sources of these fats.
Some clean keto fats include:
- Olive oil
- Chia seeds
- Grass-fed butter
- Fish Oil
- Flax seeds
- MCT oil
- Hemp hearts
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Fish like salmon, cod, herring, trout, and sardines
- Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts
Unhealthy fats increase inflammation in the body, which can cause heart disease, stroke, and other negative effects like insulin resistance, and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
One type of fat to avoid completely is trans fats. Trans fats are highly processed and can increase your "bad" LDL cholesterol while simultaneously decreasing your "good" HDL cholesterol. One type of trans fat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is considered so unsafe, the Food and Drug Administration is advising that it be phased out in the next several years.
Another source of unhealthy fat to avoid is industrial oils, which include vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and cottonseed oil. These oils are highly processed, often rancid, and skew the body’s ratio of omega 3 to 6 essential fatty acids, which can lead to chronic inflammation.
Dirty keto fats to avoid include:
- Canola oil
- Vegetable oil
- Soybean oil
- Corn oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Peanut oil
- Processed cheese
- Palm oil
3. Eat Your Veggies
Adding vegetables to your meals is your easiest way to get your dose of vitamins, minerals, and most importantly, fiber.
Fiber does more than save you from dealing with keto constipation. Eating fiber-rich vegetables will also keep you feeling full for hours on end by absorbing a lot of water and slowing down the absorption of your meal.
Here are a few low-carb, high-fiber veggies you can incorporate on the keto diet:
- Broccoli (2.6g per serving)
- Avocado (4.5g per serving)
- Cauliflower (3g per serving)
- Asparagus (1.8g per serving)
- Kale (2.5g per serving)
- Spinach (2.4g per serving)
- Bell peppers (3.1g per serving)/li>
- Portobello mushrooms (2g per serving)
By eating your fair share of vegetables, you’re also offering your body abundant doses of important micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals that will keep you in optimal physical and mental health.
4. Ditch the Artificial Sweeteners
Going sugar free on keto leaves us with dozens of different sugar alternatives. Unfortunately, the most common alternative found in sugar-free products on the market is artificial sweeteners, which can take a toll on gut health by killing gut-friendly bacteria and disrupting blood sugar stability.
These three popular artificial sweeteners are especially known for their harmful effects:
- Aspartame: Possible carcinogen, also known for causing headaches and disrupting behavior, mood and brain functions.
- Sucralose: This sugar alternative, commonly sold by the name Splenda, is proven to cause peaks in blood sugar and insulin levels by 14%, contributing to cravings and increased appetite.
- Saccharin: one recent study on saccharin proved that this artificial sweetener created a depletion in healthy gut bacteria in nearly 60% of the participants.
These artificial sweeteners are among the most common ingredients to appear in sugar-free coffee flavors, and sadly, those keto-friendly Starbucks drinks are no exception.
Thankfully, there are many delicious clean keto options to help you recreate your favorite latte drinks without the use of any gut-damaging sweeteners.
For your dessert needs, you can also look out for gut-friendly, low glycemic natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit sweetener.
5. Choose Grass-fed and Organic Meat
Opting for processed meats like hotdogs tend to cause inflammation in your gut. For a wholesome meal that will leave your belly feeling happy and satiated, opt for grass-fed and organic meat, which boasts more micronutrients and healthier saturated fat. Grass-fed beef has up to 5 times more omega-3 than its grain-fed counterpart and it’s considerably richer in vitamins A, E and digestive enzymes like glutathione.
Wild-caught fish is another wholesome option that can increase your intake in essential vitamins and minerals. By choosing wild-caught instead of farm-raised fish, you’re also choosing an antibiotic-free option that’s at least 25% richer in nutrients like vitamin D and omega 3.
6. Grass-fed Organic Dairy Products
Clean ketoers swap processed dairy products for healthier alternatives. When it comes to quality, grass-fed dairy is, pun intended, the creme de la creme, thanks to its significantly higher levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.
Organic, grass-fed cows contain more nutrients than their corn and grain fed counterparts, as well as higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), an omega 6 that can address inflammatory issues like asthma and allergies while significantly boosting the metabolism.
Shopping dairy brands that source their products from grass-fed organic cows will also better help you increase your daily dose of essential omega-3 fatty acids that increase focus and memory retention.
7. Make Simple, Homemade Keto Meals
Keto dieters with busy lifestyles will know the temptation of settling for a keto-friendly fast food meal. While opting for these low-quality keto foods may not have a noticeable effect at first, they eventually bring long-term side effects that make it increasingly more difficult to lose each pound.
Thankfully, eating a clean keto meal at home can be quick and simple. Cooking at home offers you the advantage of having full control over everything you’re eating. One example of an easy clean keto meal is a piece of salmon and a side salad made with a fistful of leafy greens, a few slices of avocado, and an easy C8 MCT oil dressing.
8. Change Your Mindset
The keto diet encourages you to lose weight by focusing on limiting your intake of carbohydrates and increasing your amount of fats. But focusing on these macronutrients can sometimes make us lose sight of the ultimate priorities, which is your long-term health and feeling your best.
By changing your mindset and prioritizing the long term benefits of better health and lasting results (instead of just using keto as a “quick fix”), you can increase your micronutrients and truly feel your best both physically and mentally.
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