Lazy, Dirty, Strict – Which Keto is right for me?

  • Date: May 10, 2021
  • Time to read: 7 min.

All keto ‘diets’ (lazy, dirty or strict) have the same goal of reducing your carb intake. The result of reducing carb intake is for your body to adapt and start to burn the fat that has built up in the bodies cells. Burning fat produces ketones which is an acid.

This metabolic state is referred to as ketosis. This is why when people are on a keto diet and have reduced their carbs for a period of days will refer to themselves as being in Ketosis. Read on for more…

Keto  v Low Carb High Fat (LCHF)


As stated above, keto diets revolve around reducing an individuals carb intake to under 20 grams per day. The goal of this is for the body to enter ketosis and start metabolising fat as opposed to carbohydrates (glucose) in order to provide your body with energy.

Low Carb High Fat (LCHF)

Which Keto is right on a yellow post-it

A low carb and high-fat diet does what it says on the tin. You reduce the number of carbs that you are eating and still eat the high-fat foods that you would on the keto diet.

There is no specific definition of what is ‘low carb’ but many see this as being around 20 – 80 grams of carbs whit some people going as high as 100 grams of carbs per day.

A lot of people will use an LCHF diet as a way to transition onto a keto diet whereas others will adopt this when they are on holiday or away from home and cannot stick to their keto macros.

How many carbs do you eat in a day?

Would you believe that the average person in the UK eats around 250g of carbohydrates a day? As a little exercise to try and understand more about your eating habits try writing down EVERYTHING (no cheating!) that you eat in an average week.

You can do this with a pen and paper or through a fitness app such as myfitnesspal. This will give you an indication of how many carbs you eat on an average day.

What are Macros anyway and what do they mean on keto?

So far I have mentioned macros several times. If you’re new to a keto way of eating this may be a new concept to you.

The term ‘macro’ is short for macronutrient.

What are macronutrients?

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Protein

On a keto way of eating your aim it to stick to 20g of fewer carbs every day. This is the same for every person on keto.

The amount of fat and protein will alter depending on your current weight, your goal weight and your level of activity in everyday life.

In order to accurately work out what your macros are for a keto diet use the calculator on; having used a few this is the most accurate one out there.

Strict, Lazy and Dirty Keto…

So we have established now that 20 grams of carbohydrates are the target for all person on keto.

Strict, lazy and dirty versions of keto all stick to this mantra of 20g of carbs a day. What changes on each of these variants is what you do and do not allow yourself to eat.

Strict Keto

Lazy, Dirty, Strict, Which is Right for Me, writted on a light bulb background

On strict keto, you closely track all of your macros including the number of calories that you eat.

For some people that need strict guidelines as to what and how much of everything they can and cannot eat, this is the perfect diet.

You do not eat any sugar at all – all foods are more or less in their original form with no processing or additives.

For example, you would not be able to ‘keto’ goodies, as they do contain some sugar alternative. As you can imagine for some this is not manageable as the restrictions are quite strict.

Lazy Keto

This, as its title suggests, is a far more relaxed version of the keto diet.

On lazy keto you’re your key aim is to stick to 20 grams of carbs per day or fewer. Where these carbs come from is less important than on a strict keto plan.

For example, you may eat a shop-bought low carb bread that potentially has sugar in it, but still, keep you within your 20g carbs. Once people get into the swing of strict keto they will often swap onto lazy keto as they are aware of the macro values of what they are eating.

And finally, let’s get dirty!

On a ‘dirty’ keto as long as your diet is 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs it doesn’t matter where those macronutrients come from. You could be eating chocolate (not a lot though!) that is full of sugar as long as it keeps you within your macros. 

The big problem with dirty keto is that it effectively gives you permission to eat what you want as long as it’s low in carbs. It does not encourage you to eat foods with a high nutrition value.

So what is best for you; Strict, Lazy, or Dirty Keto or LCHF??

Only you can really answer this based on knowing how you react to changes in your eating patterns.

For me, I probably started out somewhere between dirty and lazy. The only thing I was ensuring was that I managed to stay within my 20 grams of carbs a day.

This was largely because when I started keto I did not know what foods I could and couldn’t eat. I used MyFitnessPal to track my food to start to learn the nutritional value of different foods etc.

Once I got the hang of this I drifted more into a lazy keto way of eating. That and I couldn’t sustain the amount of grease I was eating on my daily fry up thinking I was being ‘healthy’. Now I understand more about nutrition I see the value in eating a variety of foods and saving my fry up for a weekend!

The danger of choosing Lazy Keto?

Lazy, Dirty, Strict, Which is Right for Me, writted on a light bulb background
Unsure which Keto is for you? Keto, ketogenic, low carb diety? Strict, lazy, dirty find out which is right for you!

Every now and again I will stall on the weight loss front, or start to feel a bit sluggish and maybe gain inches. When this happens I know what I have done.

My portion sizes will have crept up and where I thought I was sticking to my macros I will be going over them, but convincing myself that I am still eating the ‘same’ food! When this happens I will try and move onto a more ‘strict’ version of keto for a couple of weeks.

I will get back into the habit of weighing and tracking everything to reign myself back in. I will also try and cut out some of the keto ‘alternatives’ I know and love – like bread and daily chocolate brownies!

After a couple of weeks, I will drift back onto a lazy way of eating, enjoying the odd brownie, but not making them a feature of every day!

Is LCHF for me?

Some people really do struggle to cut carbs out of their diet. If this is the case for you, or you are not sure about keto, you may want to try LCHF for a few months. Try to stay to the lower end of the carb intake for the best results.

I will be honest with you, when I go travelling, I normally migrate onto an LCHF way of eating. Why?

I love food!

I am not going to a new country and not experiencing everything it has to offer, and the food is no exception!! I love trying local cuisines, if for no other reason than knowing what the ‘original’ version tasted like so I can come home and play around in the kitchen to find a keto version. Then I can share that with you lovely people!

All I do when on holiday is try and plan the best I can. If I know that I am going to the food market in the afternoon and I will be sampling the local delicacy which is high in carbs, I will try and eat a low carb breakfast and lunch to accommodate that. The next day I may skip breakfast in order to ‘fast’ to get those carbs out of my system before trying to do it all again!

I love eating a keto way of life, but I will be honest in that I do not stick to it 100% of the time. When travelling I will try the foods that I want to. I will just manage what I can around that to mitigate any long term damage. I hate the cliché that, “life is for the living”, but it really is!

Think you’re alone?

Check out these six celebrities who have embraced a keto way of living…. if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me!

Check out the Guidance and Recipes section for inspiration!

Let me know in the comments below which ‘keto’ you follow and why! ???

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