People seem to have this habit of trying to break things down into cliques. When I first started Keto I was unaware of the groups Keto people fell under. I couldn’t understand why some people would say something was ‘Keto’ and others would disagree. It was confusing and overwhelming and honestly just a little bit off-putting. People can be very strongly opinionated when it comes to their food. The debate over lazy, strict and dirty keto rages on in the keto community and I am here to help shed some light on it for those of you just starting out.
Before I start, however, I want to make it clear that I fully support any diet choices you make which makes you feel better about yourself. Any and all positive changes in our lives should be encouraged regardless of the decisions of others.
Lazy, Strict and Dirty Keto – What’s the Difference?
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I actually hate these ‘keto types’ I believe it would be far less confusing and more welcoming to do away with these intergroup cliques entirely. However, if you are interested in Keto and want to start this way of eating then you are bound to run across them eventually, especially if you become active in keto Facebook groups. This post is not meant to steer you in any direction when it comes to Keto and all opinions on the lazy, strict and dirty Keto categories are entirely my own.
Lazy, Strict and Dirty Keto – The Breakdown
What is Lazy Keto?
Lazy Keto, in a nutshell, is where you focus on staying under 20g of net carbs a day.
While doing lazy keto it’s unlikely that you will be attempting to follow macros or count calories. You spend your time focusing on doing away with the sugars and junk food in your diet. You up your fat intake because you read that you should and stay away from fruits and high carb vegetables like potatoes. You’re probably not spending every meal calculating things into an app or if you do you only bother with the Net Carbs.
Lazy keto is great for people who get bored with endlessly trying to do the math or are easily overwhelmed and frustrated by the number game that is strict keto.
Does Lazy Keto work?
It worked for me. I have lost 51 pounds on lazy keto. I never bothered counting calories or spending a great deal of time worrying about my macros. 20g of net carbs a day will get you into ketosis and start you on the path to being fat adapted. Your ultimate Keto goal.
For most people, Lazy Keto will work for initial weight loss. It makes sense – cutting out the junk food is bound to have a positive influence on your body. However, some people do stall out as they get closer to their weight loss goals and for others, their weight problems might be related to food like dairy or sweeteners which requires a slightly stricter way of eating.
What do I do if Lazy Keto Stops Working?
As you get closer to having a healthy body weight you might find that your weight loss slows down significantly. This is perfectly normal, the last 20 pounds I lost took almost as long as all of my previous weight. People who have less to lose just lose slower. This can be frustrating for people who have gotten used to consistent loss.
If you have gone more then 6 weeks without losing then you are officially stalled. It might be time to look at your portions and calories. it’s possible that you have reached this plateau because you are currently eating enough to maintain your new weight rather than lose more pounds. If lowering your calorie count doesn’t help you can try dropping dairy or artificial sweeteners or consider adding in some exercise. Running or strength training are good contenders in my opinion!
What is Strict Keto?
Strict Keto is sticking to under 20g of net carbs per day while also watching your calories. Strict keto can also be a term used to coin people who really watch the ingredients in their foods. Lazy keto people often don’t mind eating a bit of wheat flour or peanuts as long as it fits in their carb count for the day. People following strict keto tend to completely cut out such ingredients. Many of them also avoid certain artificial sweeteners, mainly those with a higher glycemic index.
People on a strict Keto diet follow macros that are carefully calibrated using apps. The apps tell them how much fat/protein, carbs, and calories they should be eating in order to reach their weight loss goals.
Strict Keto is a great option for people who typically have a hard time losing weight or perform better when they have a specific goal to reach. Lots of people take great personal pride in hitting that perfect macro day – and they should! If you need that sort of motivation and daily accountability to stay on track then a stricter version of keto might be for you.
If you are looking to really cut back and feel like the rules of a more varied Keto diet are too confusing you might want to look into the Carnivore Diet – which is a bit more extreme but ultimately easier to follow since you only consume meat products.
Does Strict Keto Work?
Yes! It is, after all, lazy keto on steroids. For many people, strict keto has been the only way they achieve the final weight loss they desire. I never had to do strict keto to meet my goals but this is likely because I was able to include a good bit of exercise in my day. For people who have been stalled for a long time, are not able to exercise, or are just not seeing the results they desire then strict keto is sometimes the answer.
What is Dirty Keto?
Dirty Keto is a term I really dislike. This term has come up recently when it started making the rounds on various Keto Facebook groups. This seems to be a new term but, I fear it might become more popular given how people like to label things. It refers to following a Keto diet but continuing to use processed foods to do so. It can also be used to refer to following an ‘if it fits under 20g a day go for it!’ type of mantra.
I eat dirty keto. Why? Because I like wraps (using low carb tortillas) sometimes I use Carbquick to make biscuits and once in a while, I enjoy some low carb Ice cream. My diet is 1000% better then what I used to eat. I eat a lot more veggies, I use a lot more healthy fats while cooking and I no longer fill my cart with potato chips and cookies. I take issue with anyone calling that ‘dirty’.
But, even aside from that. Dirty keto is often seen as a shameful practice and it shouldn’t be. Clean eating is a wonderful standard for those blessed enough to be able to enjoy it. But not everyone can. Some people don’t have access to a good variety of nonprocessed foods and others just straight up can’t afford it.
Dirty Keto is still Keto. You are still doing a great job! You’re still taking steps to better your life.
My Thoughts on the Lazy, Strict and Dirty Keto Debate
I love Keto, since starting Keto at the tail end of last year my life has changed for the better. I’m doing things now that I never considered before. I’m exercising through Yoga and Running but even better I like myself again. What I don’t love is how fanatical some people can be about Keto. The same can be said for any activity – I’m a middle of the road person, I don’t enjoy the extremists of any group.
It is true that some practices in Keto work better for some than others. For some people dairy is fine, for others is stalls out weight loss. Some people do fine with artificial sweeteners others do not. Because all of our bodies are different we all react differently. Exploring these differences and finding the methods that work best for you is great and highly encouraged! I have no problems with people saying Lazy Keto didn’t give them results so they switched to strict Keto.
I only have a problem when people start demanding that the way they do things is the only right way. The only proper way. This is not true. You are making a positive change for yourself and that should be celebrated no matter how you manage to do it. Do what works for you and be proud of it! Let’s leave the lazy, strict, and dirty keto categories behind and just focus on supporting each other.