However, there is one caveat when it comes to weight loss. In response to a calorie deficit, the body will typically burn some of its muscle mass for fuel by using a process called gluconeogenesis. As a result, many people will lose muscle along with the fat when they diet. Luckily, there is a way to preserve muscle mass, even in the midst of extreme caloric deficits.
As the tide began to turn in the early 2000s and the claims for low-fat diets grew more dubious, new dietary culprits were called into question, such as refined carbohydrates and gluten. Meanwhile, more research emerged exploring the benefits of diets rich in healthy fats. These days, Flynn is noted for seemingly having known before others that low-fat diets were not optimal for health. “I constantly hear from people now ‘How did you know low-fat diets were unhealthy?’ ” She laughs this off remarking that she would simply always read the references supporting dietary guidelines and was a critical reviewer of the evidence. “I constantly tell my students to not take dietary guidelines at face value; look into the evidence.”
“Dietary fat is rewarding,” said Dr. Andreas Fritsche, study co-author and nutritional medicine professor at the University Hospital Tübingen in Germany. So rewarding, in fact, that it could be used as an effective dieting tool, though further studies are needed. “If you eat a fat-free aroma extract which is commonly associated with fat, it is possible that you get the rewarding effect of fat-triggered sensations without calories,” Dr. Fritsche said.
Olive oil, particularly extra-virgin olive oil, is full of vitamin E and antioxidants. These help fight the free radicals in your bloodstream that may be the cause of some of the effects of aging as well as certain cancers. Olive oil contains 77 percent monounsaturated fat, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Monounsaturated fats are associated with lowering low-density lipoproteins — LDLs, the “bad” cholesterol — and raising the levels of high-density lipoproteins — HDLs, the “good” cholesterol — in your bloodstream. Proper balance between LDLs and HDLs can help decrease your risk of heart disease. The better your body functions, the better you feel, and the more likely you are to exercise and make healthy choices.
It’s easy to stick with. A diet only works if it’s doable. That means everyone in your family can eat it and you can eat in this style no matter where you go (to a restaurant for dinner, to a family event). With its flavors and variety of foods that don’t cut out any food group, this is one such eating plan. "It is an appealing diet that one can stay with for a lifetime,” Dr. Cohen says.
To maximize the benefits of olive oil, Palinski-Wade mixes six servings a day with other ingredients scientifically proven to blast belly fat — including lean protein (which helps keep belly-fat hormones low) and dairy (rich in an amino acid that speeds the release of ab fat). On the olive oil diet plan, you’ll also enjoy berries, greens, beans, potatoes, and other plant foods that come packed with belly-fat-fighting antioxidants.
Polyphenols are antioxidant plant compounds that are linked with better heart health, including less oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a process that inflames the arteries and heightens the risk of plaque rupture and heart attacks. Plant sterols are another plant chemical that interferes with cholesterol absorption from the gut and helps lower LDL cholesterol.
Elena Paravantes, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Writer and consultant specializing in the Mediterranean Diet and Cuisine. She has been active as a clinician, consultant and lecturer for 20 years, both in the U.S. and Greece. An expert on the Greek Mediterranean Diet, her interviews and articles have been published in many publications including CNN, U.S. News and World Report, Prevention, NPR, and Shape. Elena has collaborated with a number of organizations including Loyola University, Yale University, University of Missouri, Louisiana State University, and the American College of Greece.
“Better” cigarettes (those with less nicotine and toxic chemicals like benzo(a)pyrenes) still promote lung cancer. “Better” monounsaturated fats like olive oil may still lead to diseased arteries. When scientists fed a monounsaturated fat–rich diet to monkeys for five years, the monkeys developed extensive atherosclerotic plaques in their coronary arteries. (1)
A 2016 study in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal that analyzed data from Predimed – a five-year trial including 7,447 adults with Type 2 diabetes or at risk for cardiovascular disease who were assigned either a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil, the same diet supplemented with nuts or a control diet – found that people on the Mediterranean versions added the fewest inches to their waistlines. The olive oil folks lost the most weight.
In the end, I'm pleased with my keto diet results both internally and externally. I lost 4 pounds in two weeks, gained some energy and efficiency with my training, and more often than not felt that I could see better muscle tone instead of feeling bloated or weighed down. While the ketogenic diet may not be my go-to on a regular basis, Dr. Axe's final feedback was encouraging: He says because I've now had a successful keto trial run, if I wanted to cycle through some keto weeks (or even a month, next time), I'd be able to easily, potentially reaching ketosis even more quickly. While going full-force back on the carbs could derail me or anyone else who wants to keto-cycle, Dr. Axe says the odds are in my favor. "Ninety percent of the time if someone's done it once, they will get into ketosis quicker and easier the next time," he says.
Results, she promises, can be quite dramatic. And sure enough, Woman’s World readers who tested Palinski-Wade’s olive oil diet menus melted up to eight pounds and four inches of ab flab in just seven days. “I tried Weight Watchers, supplements, fad diets, but nothing worked until this,” says Pennsylvania grandmother Eleanor Downing, 62. “I lost a pant size in a week!” Meanwhile, Colorado travel agent Erika Crocker, 47, who whisked four inches off her middle, still can’t believe such a simple approach could be so effective. As for 30-year-old Mississippi mom Lindsey Bradley, 30, dropping a size has her raving: “For once, my belly got flatter without hunger pangs.”