Interestingly, a few years ago the American Heart Association lowered the recommended intake of saturated fat to no more than 7% of total calories eaten each day. Olive oil is 14% saturated fat. (The average American consumes a diet with about 14% saturated fat.) So if you’re using a lot of olive oil on your food, it’d be hard to have a diet that’s less than 14% saturated fat, which means your arteries are being subjected to double the saturated-fat-limit that the AHA recommends.
You can eat what you love. It’s evident that with such a variety of whole, fresh foods available to you as options, it’s easy to build meals based on the diet. And, you don’t have to eliminate your favorites, either. They may just require some tweaks. For instance, rather than a sausage and pepperoni pizza, you’d choose one piled high with veggies and topped with some cheese. You can also fit in a lot of food into one meal. Filling up on fresh foods like fruits and vegetables will allow you to build volume into meals for fewer calories.
Following a very high-fat diet may be challenging to maintain. Possible symptoms of extreme carbohydrate restriction that may last days to weeks include hunger, fatigue, low mood, irritability, constipation, headaches, and brain “fog.” Though these uncomfortable feelings may subside, staying satisfied with the limited variety of foods available and being restricted from otherwise enjoyable foods like a crunchy apple or creamy sweet potato may present new challenges.
The high-grade extra virgin olive oil contains around 30 polyphenols that act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation in the body. The monounsaturated fatty acids in extra virgin olive oil help increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol while decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Plus, the additional antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
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SOURCES: Environmental Nutrition, June 2003; May 2004; February 2005. The Journal of Pediatrics, July 1995. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, February 1997. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 1997. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004; 292. Food Chemistry, May 2004, vol 85; issue 3. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition January 2005. FDA News, Nov. 1, 2004. The Olive Oil Source web site.