When you first switch to a low-carb, high-fat diet, you typically drop weight fast. That’s what happened to me. I lost 50 pounds in three months when I first went keto (we called it Atkins back then). I was eating pork rinds. I was eating lots of cheese. And I was eating and drinking anything that wasn’t a carb, including diet soda. The weight loss was great, but it quickly stalled, and here’s why: When you don’t pay attention to where your food comes from, you run into problems.
The way I was eating is now known as dirty keto. The diet follows the same breakdown of fats, protein, and carbs as regular keto, but with one key difference: you can get those macronutrients from anywhere. So instead of eating organic scrambled eggs with avocado for breakfast, you might reach for a fast food sausage and cheese breakfast sandwich, minus the bun.
What happens when you go down that dirty keto path is you lose half the amount of weight you wanted to lose. So you see a lot of 400 pound people who used to weigh 500 pounds. And they still weigh 400 pounds months later. Or in my case, I went from 300 to 250 pounds, but no matter what I did, no matter how much steak I ate, I couldn’t shed any more weight. So why is this? Keep reading to learn more about dirty keto, why it puts the brakes on weight loss, and why a clean keto diet like the Bulletproof Diet will help get you to the weight you want.
Processed food makes you gain weight
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: All fats are not created equal, and the same goes for proteins. Eating an industrially-produced burger patty full of additives is very different to eating a grass-fed steak. Both may be proteins, but the similarity ends there. The processed burger patty is junk food, while the steak is whole food. Which one you choose will impact your weight (not to mention your mood and your sleep).
In one study, people were put on a diet of either processed or unprocessed foods. Both meal plans contained the same amount of calories, fat, protein, carbs, salt, fiber, and sugar. Participants could eat as much food as they wanted. After two weeks, those eating unprocessed whole foods lost two pounds, while those on the processed diet put on two pounds.
These results aren’t surprising, and here’s why: Packaged goods companies spend a lot of money on making their food taste so good that you want more of it. Processed foods also contain harmful additives and toxins that causes diet-induced inflammation. Guess what weighs as much as fat? Inflammation. When you’re on dirty keto, you’re carrying a lot of water and inflammation because your cells just aren’t working well. When cells don’t work well, they can’t pull sugar or ketones from your blood to turn them into energy that you use to breathe or think or do whatever it is you’re going to do.
Related: What’s Dirty Keto and Should You Be Doing It?
So how can you continue losing weight on the keto diet?
Who would’ve thought that the type of protein or the type of fat that you’re eating are the reasons you might not be losing weight on keto? When I got all this dialed in, I came up with the Bulletproof Diet, a low-inflammation, cyclical ketosis diet, where you eat the right vegetables, the right proteins, the right fats, and every now and then, once a week, you eat some carbs. What happens is, your testosterone levels stay up, you feel really good, you get lean, and you have this boundless energy. As for the weight, you don’t hit that plateau where you still have that stubborn 30 pounds of weight that you cannot lose. No one likes that.
Here are some more tips if you’re not losing weight on keto:
- Try going out of ketosis now and then. It’s amazing what happens when your gut bacteria get some fiber from the right carbs like sweet potatoes and white rice. Learn more about cyclical ketosis here.
- Load up on vegetables. When you eat lots of vegetables — preferably organic — you lower inflammation and keep your gut thriving with a diversity of gut bacteria.
- Try a protein fast. You might not be losing weight because you’re simply eating too much protein. Did you know that protein raises insulin, which can lead to inflammation? To do a protein fast, stay below 15 grams of protein total on one day of the week. Learn more about protein fasting here.
When you try the clean keto approach, as outlined in the Bulletproof Diet, you’re going to throw away your fat pants. Because your weight is going to be where you want it to be, all the time, effortlessly. You’re not hungry and you don’t look at the cheesecake longingly. You just don’t care because you’re satisfied and full of energy. Now that’s living.
Read next: Diet Induced Inflammation: Why Dirty Keto Is Making You Miserable