‘I have been living the keto lifestyle for a while now and I am also a happy member of quite a few online keto groups. Talking to like-minded people about keto is something I really enjoy and I also get a lot of useful information that way. But I do notice a lot of confusion and misunderstandings about what keto actually is. For me it is all about healthy eating. So why is it that I hear so many people claiming they are also doing keto while eating processed foods? Is there an easy way for me to explain the difference?‘
Great question! Different people, different ideas: there are many different theories on what a ketogenic lifestyle should look like. And truth be told, through my many years of studying and self-experimentation I have concluded there really is not one size fits all when it comes to keto.
While I do always teach people to start out with a low carb/moderate protein/high fat diet, there are plenty of variants one can experiment with when keto adaptation and metabolic flexibility are achieved. These variants do all have one thing in common though: they are about healthy unprocessed foods.
Because I am quite active myself online I understand what you are getting at with the confusion and misunderstandings in those groups. Arguments can get quite heated in fact. The biggest misunderstanding of all concerns the word ‘keto’ itself. While many people think it is short for ‘ketosis’, it is in fact short for ‘ketogenic’ and that term is about more than merely the state of ketosis.
So I have come up with a concise list that will help to explain the differences. Here goes:
A ketogenic lifestyle in general
Any ketosis inducing way of eating that eliminates all inflammatory, starchy, sugary and processed foods.
Strict ketogenic lifestyle
A ketosis inducing way of eating that eliminates all inflammatory, starchy, sugary and processed foods while staying between 20-30 grams net carbs and following personally calculated amounts for high fat and moderate protein.
Lazy ketogenic lifestyle (not recommended)
A ketosis inducing way of eating that eliminates inflammatory, starchy, sugary and processed foods while staying between 20-30 grams net carbs and not counting fat or protein amounts.
Dirty keto (not considered a true ketogenic lifestyle)
A low carb way of eating that includes inflammatory, starchy, sugary and processed foods and without any counting of macros.
IIFYM keto (not considered a true ketogenic lifestyle)
Stands for ‘If It Fits Your Macros’, a low carb way of eating that includes inflammatory, starchy, sugary and processed foods while counting macros.
I hope this somewhat helps you to explain the differences to other people. Keep in mind however it may not convince them to see or do things differently, as I said above: different people, different ideas.
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