With all the information circulating about the keto diet, it can be difficult to know how to get started. Some people may even be intimidated by the thought of following a diet that has the words “high-fat” in its description and requires possibly dramatic changes in eating habits.
However, sticking to a clean keto diet doesn't have to be overwhelming or complicated. This article explains the basics of the clean keto diet, provides you with an idea of what foods to include in your meal plan, and includes a few tips for success.
The term keto, which stands for ketogenic, refers to a low-carbohydrate diet high in fat and moderate in protein. This balanced combination helps the body reach a state of ketosis, where it uses stored fat for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrates. It’s somewhat comparable to the Atkins diet in that it eliminates most carbohydrates from the diet and replaces them with foods high in healthy fats, like avocados.
The Missouri Medicine academic journal reports that with 25.4 million unique searches, the keto diet was the most Googled diet in the United States in 2020. With a growing interest in this eating style, it’s important to understand the science behind it and the basics of creating a clean, healthy meal plan.
It's common practice for those on a clean keto diet to track their macronutrients. This process can seem intimidating at first, but it can be a helpful way to ensure that you get the right balance of fat, carbohydrates, and protein.
The basics of macronutrient tracking include calculating your daily calorie intake and then breaking those calories down into certain percentages of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. A clean keto diet for someone eating 2,0000 calories a day typically consists of roughly 70% fat, 10% carbohydrates, and 20% protein. However, these figures can vary depending on calorie intake and specific dietary needs.
A clean keto diet, also known as the Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD), is a great way to improve overall health and lose weight. The high fat content of clean keto meals can be beneficial for those who struggle with hunger cravings or have difficulty sticking to traditional, low-calorie diets because you feel fuller, longer.
With the increasing popularity of the keto diet, many food items are marketed as "keto-friendly;” however, not all of them are ideal for a clean keto diet. A clean keto diet consists of whole, unprocessed, freshly prepared, natural foods free of additives and preservatives. Adding these whole foods to your diet and following clean keto recipes can have a variety of benefits.
Recent studies have shown that following a keto diet may benefit patients with neurological problems associated with a disruption in brain energy metabolism. These conditions include epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
Following a clean keto diet may also help with the following:
As a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, a keto diet may help you lose weight faster than other diets.
A clean keto diet can help you maintain healthy blood insulin levels if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
A keto diet may help you maintain healthy lipid levels and reduce inflammation in the body.
Eating a clean diet could reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
Following a clean keto diet may help you feel more energized and sustain your energy level throughout the day.
These are just a few of the amazing benefits that can come from following a clean keto diet. As with any diet, try to stick with it and incorporate other healthy habits, such as exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep. These habits can help you reach your health goals even faster.
While a clean keto diet provides everything a person needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle and lose weight, some people may opt for a dirty keto diet. This version of the keto diet allows some processed foods, though they often hold little to no nutritional value.
Clean keto foods include whole, unprocessed, and natural items, such as eggs, nuts, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, avocados, and healthy fats like coconut oil that benefit overall health. Clean keto dieters may also use certain low-carb sweeteners, such as stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol.
Conversely, dirty keto foods are usually processed or ultra-processed convenience foods that contain additives, preservatives, and unhealthy fats such as trans fat. These foods lack the nutritional benefits of clean keto foods and can increase your risk for health issues like heart disease and stroke.
Some common "dirty keto" foods include:
It is important to remember that while a dirty keto diet may allow for more flexibility in terms of what you can eat, it will not provide the same benefits as a clean keto diet. Eating a diet full of whole foods and fresh vegetables is the best way to ensure that you provide your body with the fuel it needs to perform at its best.
Another crucial factor to keep in mind when following keto is hidden carbohydrates. Many processed foods contain hidden sources of carbohydrates that can really add up. Some condiments, salad dressings, and even cheeses can have surprisingly high amounts of carbohydrates. To avoid these hidden carbs and ensure that your diet remains clean, read food labels carefully, and opt for whole foods when possible.
While following a clean keto diet can seem challenging, for most, it’s worth the effort. Following these 10 tips can help you achieve lasting results on your keto journey:
Preparing your meals in advance and having them ready to go each day will remove the stress of having to plan, prepare, and cook a meal after a long day. It will also help you stay on track with your clean keto diet and avoid reaching for unhealthy foods when you’re in a rush. Taking the time to plan your weekly meals can greatly impact your success.
When shopping for clean keto foods, focus on quality over quantity. Choose as many grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, and organic produce as possible. Not only are these healthier options, but you may also find they taste better. You don't have to skimp on quantity — just be sure to choose high-quality ingredients.
Protein is essential for a clean keto diet, so make sure you choose the best sources. Options like grass-fed steak and wild-caught salmon are both excellent sources of clean proteins. Be sure to mix up your protein intake, as this will ensure you get all the essential amino and fatty acids you need for optimal health.
Having a slow and steady diet approach to clean keto will make the diet easier to stick with in the long run. Don’t expect drastic results overnight — instead, focus on making small, sustainable changes over time and celebrate the progress you make along the way.
Fats are an essential part of any clean keto diet, but choosing healthy sources, like olive oil, coconut oil, and butter from grass fed cows, is important. It's easy to add fat to your diet by grabbing low-carb snacks, like pork rinds, but the quality of the fat is what matters most. Read labels and always choose healthy fats, like almonds and avocados, to processed pork rinds. Choosing the right fats will give your body energy and keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Counting your macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins) and calories is essential for a clean keto diet. Tracking your food intake will help keep you moving toward your goals and make sure you’re not overeating or eating too little. Try a smartphone app to help you stay on track, or use a food journal.
Staying hydrated significantly affects overall health and can make following a clean keto diet easier. Avoid sugary drinks, like sodas and juices, as these can be full of hidden carbs and calories. Instead, opt for plain water or tea or coffee without additives. Even some sugar-free sodas have hidden carbs, so make sure to read labels carefully.
It can be tempting to skip meals or drastically reduce your calorie intake when following a clean keto diet. However, this can lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients and be detrimental to your overall health. Aim for three meals a day, with snacks in between if needed. You shouldn't feel excessively hungry throughout the day. If you are, then it might be time to adjust your macros.
Processed foods often contain high amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats that can sabotage your clean keto diet. Choose whole, nutrient-dense foods whenever possible, and limit processed snacks. If you do crave something sweet, opt for a low-carb option, like a keto fat bomb. These are small energy bites made up of chocolate, healthy fats, and alternative sweeteners that make a great snack when cravings hit.
Regular exercise is essential to any healthy lifestyle, including when following a clean keto diet. It helps you maintain muscle mass, burn calories, and improve your overall well-being, all while boosting your energy levels. However, exercise doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing type of activity. Try incorporating physical activity into every day, whether it’s just a few minutes of gentle movement or a brisk walk around the block.
Following these tips can help you stay on track with a clean keto diet and get the most out of your nutrition plan. Remember, sustainable changes take time — so don't expect results overnight. Be patient and consistent with your diet and exercise routine for the best results. With dedication, you can reach your goals and live a healthy lifestyle without compromising on taste.
Meal planning and staying on top of the latest trends in nutrition can be overwhelming. That's where a clean keto meal plan comes in handy. A clean keto meal plan is designed to provide you with balanced meals and snacks that are low in carbohydrates but high in healthy fats and proteins.
The advantage of following a meal plan is that you don't have to worry about counting macros or calories, as the meal plan does that for you. This makes it easier to stay on track and reach your goals without doing all the hard work yourself. Plus, a clean keto meal plan offers delicious recipes that use nutrient-dense whole foods and contain no processed ingredients.
A clean keto meal plan also helps you save time in the kitchen. Many of the recipes are simple and quick to prepare, making meal prep a breeze. With everything planned out in advance, you can save money by reducing the number of trips you take to the grocery store or purchasing some food items in bulk.
Even the busiest people can stick to — and therefore benefit from — a clean keto meal plan. With a little bit of planning and thoughtful preparation, you can easily stick to your diet and get the most out of your nutrition plan.
While following a clean keto diet can be challenging, it doesn't have to be complicated. Following the tips outlined here and putting a meal plan in place can make the process easier and more enjoyable. With dedication, you can reach your health goals and enjoy delicious meals without compromising on taste.
Fill out the CertifiedKetoDiet questionnaire today to get started with your individualized ketogenic diet meal plan. There's no better time than today to get on track with your nutrition and start living a healthier, happier lifestyle.