The clean keto diet is a variation of the standard ketogenic diet that emphasizes quality nutrition from whole, unprocessed foods. Like regular keto, it involves reducing carbs to induce ketosis. However, clean keto prioritizes natural, nutrient-dense fats and carbs from sources like grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, wild fish, organic vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. The goal is to promote weight loss and health through ketosis while avoiding highly processed foods or artificial additives.
Clean keto focuses on food quality just as much as macronutrient ratios. While it allows high-fat, high-calorie options, portion control is key to maintain caloric balance and achieve health goals. As with any restrictive diet, consult a healthcare professional before starting clean keto, especially if you have underlying conditions.
They can provide guidance to meet your individual nutritional needs within a clean keto framework. The key is emphasizing wholesome, natural foods while still benefiting metabolically from ketosis.
What is a Clean Keto Diet?
The clean keto diet sticks to the standard keto macros of about 70-80% calories from fat, 15-20% from protein, and 5-10% from carbs. However, it emphasizes eating whole, unprocessed versions of keto-friendly foods while limiting dairy intake. The goal is to maximize nutrition and avoid potentially harmful ingredients like preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and inflammatory oils found in processed products.
Fats and proteins come from real, natural food sources on clean keto. Think grass-fed and pasture-raised meats and eggs, wild caught fish, nuts, seeds, coconut products, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil. According to studies, grass-fed beef contains more omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed beef. Pasture-raised eggs have more vitamin E and omega-3s than conventional eggs. Wild-caught fish are lower in toxins like mercury.
Examples of Clean Keto Foods
Some examples of nutrient-dense clean keto foods include:
- Meats: Grass-fed beef, bison, lamb, pork, poultry
- Fish: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, tuna, cod
- Non-starchy veggies: Leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, peppers
- Healthy fats: Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, nut butter
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds
A clean keto diet full of whole foods provides superior nutrition and health benefits. These foods are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Studies demonstrate diets high in unprocessed foods can reduce inflammation, blood sugar levels, and heart disease risk factors—people who eat clean keto report improved energy, mental clarity, mood, and digestion.
Keto Macros and Tracking Carbs
Recommended Keto Macros
To induce and sustain ketosis, following the proper macronutrient ratios is essential. Here are the recommended clean keto macros to aim for each day:
- Fats: 60-80% of total daily calories
- Protein: 15-20% of total daily calories
- Net Carbs: 5-10% of total daily calories
Net carbs are total carbs minus fiber. Fiber does not significantly impact blood sugar and insulin like other carbs.
Counting Net Carbs
To figure net carbs:
Total Carbs – Fiber = Net Carbs
Aim to limit net carbs to 20-50 grams per day or less. Keeping carb intake this low assists the transition to ketosis and fat burning. To meet this goal, eliminate carb-heavy foods like grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, beans/legumes, milk, and added sugars.
Tracking net carbs and macros removes the guesswork of sticking to the keto ratios. Apps like Carb Manager or MyFitnessPal make inputting foods and getting macros for each meal and snack easy. Or you can manually track intake in a food journal or spreadsheet. Getting into the habit of carb counting is critical when first starting clean keto. This helps ensure you restrict carbs sufficiently to reach ketosis and fat burning.
Clean Keto Diet Meal Ideas
Delicious, satisfying meals on a clean keto diet revolve around wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients. Here are some clean keto meal ideas:
- Veggie omelet with avocado
- Keto yogurt with mixed berries
- Baked egg cups with spinach, mushrooms, and feta
- Smoked salmon and avocado wrap
- Buffalo chicken salad with romaine lettuce
- Tuna salad stuffed in tomatoes
- Zucchini noodle bolognese with grass-fed beef
- Leftover broccoli beef stir fry
- Herb-roasted chicken with roasted broccoli
- Grilled salmon with asparagus
- Pork tenderloin with cauliflower rice
- Steak kabobs served over arugula salad
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Turkey and cheese roll-ups
- Almonds and celery sticks
- Green smoothie with almond milk, spinach, and avocado
- Celery sticks with nut butter
Include plenty of low-carb non-starchy vegetables, along with nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, coconut, olive oil, and ghee. Prioritizing whole foods in recipes provides optimal nutrition on a clean keto diet.
The clean keto diet focuses on getting fats and carbs from unprocessed, natural food sources. It limits net carbs to 20-50 grams daily while emphasizing proteins and fats from foods like grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, and organic vegetables. Clean keto provides superior nutrition to support health.
Tips for Grocery Shopping and Meal Prep
Following a clean keto diet, grocery shopping strategically, and prepping meals in advance are two tactics that can set you up for success. Here are some tips:
- Shop the grocery store’s perimeter where the whole, unprocessed foods are located. Avoid the inner aisles with packaged and processed foods.
- Stock up on low-carb vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, peppers, etc. Choose organic when possible.
- Purchase grass-fed, organic meats, pasture-raised eggs, and wild caught fish whenever you can. Grass-fed beef has more omega-3s and CLA; pasture-raised eggs have more vitamin E.
- Buy healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and nut butter. Try to find organic, unrefined versions.
- Avoid packaged snacks, candy, cereals, crackers, juices, soda, etc. These are high in carbs, sugars, and unhealthy ingredients.
- Cook proteins in bulk to have them ready for quick meals. Grill grass-fed beef patties, bake chicken breasts, cook sausage links, etc. Refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze.
- Chop veggies on your day off – wash, cut broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, etc. Store in bags or containers for fast snacks and sides.
- Make a few simple dressings like vinaigrettes, tahini, or ranch to have on hand for salads and veggies. Homemade is cleaner than store-bought.
- To reheat during the busy week, consider batch cooking a veggie casserole, low-carb soup, or keto chili on the weekend.
Planning grocery trips around whole, unprocessed foods and prepping ingredients in advance will set you up for clean eating success on the keto diet.
The clean keto diet provides many benefits by emphasizing whole, nutritious foods while restricting carb intake. Eating unprocessed fats and proteins sourced from grass-fed meats, wild caught fish, and organic vegetables provides superior nutrition compared to a standard keto diet relying on bacon, cheese, and packaged foods.
Clean keto foods are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory compounds that support overall health. Research shows diets rich in unprocessed foods can reduce systemic inflammation, improve cardiovascular risk factors, and enhance gut health. Those who follow clean keto principles also report better energy levels, mental clarity, mood, and digestion.
Yet to experience these benefits, it is essential to stick to the macronutrient ratios that induce ketosis. Carefully tracking net carbs and planning keto-friendly meals using whole food ingredients can help significantly with adhering to the diet. Most people feel best when consuming around 30–50 net grams of carbs or less daily from nutritious sources like vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocados, and berries. Apps and food journals make tracking easy.
In summary, a clean keto diet is an optimal approach to health that focuses on high-quality nutrition from unprocessed, natural foods while restricting carb intake. Eating wholesome, clean keto foods and tracking macros diligently supports fat burning and provides lasting wellness benefits.