Diet-Induced Inflammation: Why Dirty Keto Is Making You Miserable
By: Dave Asprey
- “Dirty keto” is the version of keto that seems like it’s working for a while, but then you end up worse off than you started.
- People gravitate toward it because it promises weight loss with fast food and processed foods built into the program.
- With dirty keto, if you stay within your carb count, you’re following the rules. But, it will catch up to you.
- Keep reading to find out what to expect on dirty keto, why it causes diet-induced inflammation, and why you’ll feel a million times better on a clean ketogenic diet like the Bulletproof Diet.
When I first went into ketosis, I felt like I had grown a cape and become Superman — for a while. Then, I hit a wall. Being a biohacker, I knew I had to figure out what was happening and change what I was doing.
Turns out, some of the low-carb foods I was eating were tripping my body’s inflammation response. I found when I focused less on counting my macros and more on my body’s inflammation levels, I broke through that wall.
Technically, you can go to town on a stick of margarine and diet soda, and get into ketosis because you’re not having any carbs.
Welcome to “dirty keto,” the version of ketosis that seems like it’s working for a while, but then you end up worse off than you started. People gravitate toward it because it promises weight loss with fast food, processed foods, and food-like substances that aren’t food at all. With dirty keto, if you stay within your carb count, you’re following the rules.
It will catch up to you. Keep reading to find out what to expect on dirty keto, why it causes diet-induced inflammation, and why you’ll feel a million times better on a clean ketogenic diet like the Bulletproof Diet.
What happens when you do dirty keto
As you would expect, bunless burgers from the drive-thru and packaged low-carb snacks are bad news. Low-quality food does the same thing to your body that smoking a cigarette does. Your first few days on dirty keto, you go through keto flu, just like you would on a clean ketogenic diet like the Bulletproof Diet. Once you’re over the hump, you start losing weight, and you feel pretty incredible…
Until you don’t.
You stop losing weight, even though you know keto should be helping you melt fat. You start having trouble sleeping. You wake up tired, and it’s more than just didn’t-sleep-well tired. You find that you’re not thinking as clearly, and you don’t feel like yourself. You’re snapping at your kids and small stresses feel like epic catastrophes. You get to a point where you hate your life.
What happens when you follow a clean ketogenic diet like the Bulletproof Diet
If you instead fill your plate with organic vegetables, grass-fed meats, and the right fats, keto is everything you wanted it to be. You lose all the weight you want to lose. You think clearly, and your energy shoots through the roof. Your moods are level, and you keep a cool head under pressure. You might find that you grew abs, and everything works. Life is good.
Instantly download the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap, your cheat sheet to low-carb life without the inflammation.
Dirty keto and diet-induced inflammation
What’s the problem with dirty keto, and why is it so inflammatory? Here are some problems with getting into ketosis by watching your carbs and nothing else.
Conventionally-raised dairy causes inflammation for most people
When you search “keto recipes,” you’ll find that the recipes you pull up have something in common: they’re all smothered in cheese and creamy sauces. Maybe that’s why dirty keto appeals to so many — if we’re being honest, gooey cheese tastes good.
Truth is, most adults do not digest dairy. Even if you tolerate it, it’s probably causing low-level inflammation that you won’t necessarily notice. If you want to avoid the effects of inflammation, not to mention the digestive trouble that piles of cheese will cause, limit your dairy. And when you do it, do it right.
After a few days, you won’t miss it.
Artificial sweeteners wreck your gut
There are plenty of “diet” beverages and foods marketed to the keto crowd that contain chemical sweeteners. Study after study has shown that artificial sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium contribute to inflammation in animal models, mostly because the sweeteners disrupted the animals’ gut microbiome. Since so many disease processes start with disruptions in the gut, steer clear.
Starting a ketogenic diet doesn’t mean giving up sweet foods forever. Here’s a list of Bulletproof-approved natural sweeteners that won’t wreck your gut or cause inflammation.
Non-organic vegetables and oxidative stress
Studies show that glyphosate, one of the most widely used agricultural chemical sprays, increases oxidative stress in animals, which causes inflammation. On top of that it also disrupts antioxidants that would ordinarily fight oxidative stress, which reduces your body’s ability to regulate inflammation even more.
Buy as much organic as you can. If you have to choose what to buy organic, check your produce against the Environmental Working Group’s list of vegetables with the highest toxic residues, and avoid the “Dirty Dozen.”
Oxidized, damaged fats lead to inflammation
According to dirty keto, a gram of fat is a gram of fat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re reaching for a tablespoon of grass-fed butter or deep-fried pork rinds dripping with oxidized canola oil that’s been heated over and over again. Fat is fat.
That’s just on paper, though. You’ll feel the difference between butter and oxidized canola oil throughout your entire body. Here are just a few studies that show why eating the right fats has everything to do with your inflammation response:
- Replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat previously thought to be more heart-healthy, increased cardiovascular disease and deaths from all causes. Inflammation is a major player in all cardiovascular disease.
- Cheap oils like vegetable oil are extracted with highly inflammatory chemical solvents like hexane. You don’t want to eat that.
- Low-quality fats like corn oil and soybean oil have high levels of omega-6 fats. Ideally, you want to eat a ratio of 3:1 to 4:1 omega 6 to omega 3 fats to suppress inflammation, Most Americans’ ratios are around the 25:1 range.
When critics of the keto diet talk about it being unhealthy, or when they say it leads to fatigue, or when they say people don’t lose more than a few pounds of water weight on keto…they’re talking about dirty keto. It’s not being in ketosis that leads to the negative effects — it’s the inflammation. Remove the inflammation component, and the whole attitude around the ketogenic diet changes — for people in ketosis, and the people around them.
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