History, culture, tradition and science: the secrets of olive oil, the most important contributing dietary factor for better health and longevity of the Mediterranean diet. You will find everything inside this enjoyable book, which will surpass all expectations.―Professor Francesco Sofi, Professor of Food Science and Clinical Nutrition, University of Florence
The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich eating plan that has been used for centuries to treat specific medical conditions. In the 19th century, the ketogenic diet was commonly used to help control diabetes. In 1920 it was introduced as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children in whom medication was ineffective. The ketogenic diet has also been tested and used in closely monitored settings for cancer, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The problem and the struggle for all the people we see, not just menopausal women, is they don’t know what hunger and fullness really are. They come to us after years and decades of a low fat high carb diet. So they are used to a feeling of fullness that is fuller than full. So we need to retrain ourselves to understand that full enough is the way you should feel.
One interesting finding of this eating plan is that it dispels the myth that people with or at risk for heart disease must eat a low fat diet. Although it does matter which types of fats are chosen, the percentage of calories from fat is less of an issue. The PREDIMED study, a primary prevention trial including thousands of people with diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts and without any fat and calorie restrictions reduced the rates of death from stroke by roughly 30%.  Most dietary fats were healthy fats, such as those from fatty fish, olive oil, and nuts, but total fat intake was generous at 39-42% of total daily calories, much higher than the 20-35% fat guideline as stated by the Institute of Medicine.  Risk of type 2 diabetes was also reduced in the PREDIMED trial. 
Olive oil is made by crushing then pressing olives. It has been a staple of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years. Extra-virgin olive oil comes from the first pressing of ripe olives, and, according to the Ochef website, it has less than 1 percent acid and offers the richest flavor. Virgin olive oil also comes from the first pressing, but can contain as much as 4 percent acid and its taste is slightly less smooth. The labels “light,” and “extra light” you see on bottles of olive oil refer to the color and flavor, not to how many calories or how much fat they contain. All olive oils contain the same number of calories, so choose olive oil based on your taste preferences.
Keep moving — In addition to ketosis, the best thing you can do for your weight-loss journey and your overall health is to get moving! It’s extremely easy to wake up, go to work, sit at a desk all day, come home, and then sit on the couch for the rest of the evening. But when you do this, you aren’t burning calories like you should if you want to lose weight. For best results, take up a combination of resistance training and cardio. Building muscle will give your metabolism a boost since muscle in your body burns more calories than fat, and cardio will further help you burn calories. And even if you don’t want to go to the gym or get outside for a run, try to get in a 30-minute walk 3-4 times per week. A 30-minute walk at a brisk pace can help you burn about 150 calories. Plus, working out will boost your mood and help you stay motivated on your health journey.
Fat isn’t unlimited either. As with wine, it's possible to get too much of a good thing when it comes to healthy fats. The American Heart Association points out that while the Mediterranean diet meets heart-healthy diet limits for saturated fat, your total fat consumption could be greater than the daily recommended amount if you aren't careful. That’s 65 g per day. (32)
The response was to try intermittent fasting — and we go into more detail about that in tip #3 below. But to truly get to the bottom of menopausal weight stalls and challenges, we explored the medical literature about what is known about metabolism changes and physiological energy needs during menopause and also tapped the knowledge and experience of some of our stellar low-carb experts — Dr. Sarah Hallberg, Dr. Jason Fung, Dr. Eric Westman, Dr. Ted Naiman, and Atkins RN Jackie Eberstein. We have come up with nine other actions, along with intermittent fasting, that may help stop menopausal weight issues and to give a boost to weight loss if you are experiencing a plateau while low-carb keto eating.
It's generally accepted that the folks in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments. The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control, and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods. The Mediterranean Diet may offer a host of health benefits, including weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease.
The study looked at more than 7000 participants who were divided into three groups and were tracked over five years. The first group was asked to follow an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet supplemented with additional extra virgin olive oil; the second group was asked to follow an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet supplemented with additional nuts; and the third group was asked to follow a low-fat diet. More than 90% of the participants were overweight or obese at the time of the study and were between the ages of 55 and 80 years of age.
A 2013 study conducted by the German Research Center for Food Chemistry indicates that even just smelling EVOO may lead to greater feelings of fullness: when the scent was added to foods via an aromatic extract, it lowered the number of calories consumed by study participants, and improved blood sugar response. Additionally, compared to other oils and fats, when EVOO was added to yogurt, the group that had eaten the yogurt enriched with olive oil showed the largest increases in blood levels of serotonin, a hormone associated with satiety.
One thing you’ll find people love about the Mediterranean diet is the allowance of moderate amounts of red wine. “Moderate” means 5 ounces (oz) or less each day for women (one glass) and no more than 10 oz daily for men (two glasses). (1) Above all else, these meals are eaten in the company of friends and family; strong social ties are a cornerstone of healthful lives — and a healthful diet. Here, food is celebrated.
One review, published in April 2016 in The American Journal of Medicine, looked at five research trials on overweight and obese people and found that after one year those who followed a Mediterranean diet lost as much as 11 pounds (lbs) more than low-fat eaters. (6) (They lost between 9 and 22 lbs total and kept it off for a year.) But that same study found similar weight loss in other diets, like low-carb diets and the American Diabetes Association diet. The results suggest, the researchers say, that “there is no ideal diet for achieving sustained weight loss in overweight or obese individuals.”
In just about every study purporting to show that people or animals lowered their LDL bad cholesterol levels after starting to use olive oil, the subjects used olive oil in place of other dietary fats, often saturated fats like butter, coconut oil, or lard. Well, of course LDL cholesterol is going to be lower when olive oil replaces butter. The total amount of saturated fat and/or cholesterol in the diet takes a tumble when butter is removed.
There is a lot of talk these days about the ketogenic diet—and for good reason. Developed in the 1920s as a way to cure epilepsy, the low-carb/high-fat diet is now being embraced for many of its other health benefits — weight loss being a primary one. If you search online, you’re bound to stumble across spectacular before-and-after photos of people who have lost a substantial amount of weight, seemingly overnight, thanks to the keto diet.
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The Mediterranean diet wasn’t built as a weight loss plan — in fact, because it wasn’t developed at all, but is a style of eating of a region of people that evolved naturally over centuries, there’s no official way to follow it. But it’s popular because it’s a well-rounded approach to eating that isn’t restrictive. Two of the five Blue Zones — areas where people live longer and have lower rates of disease — are located in Mediterranean cities (Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy). (2) These places are known for having some of the lowest rates of heart disease and cancer worldwide. (3)
Several human studies have also poked holes in olive oil’s heart–health claims. When researchers from the University of Crete recently compared residents of Crete who had heart disease with residents free of the disease, they found that the residents with heart disease ate a diet with “significantly higher daily intakes” of monounsaturated fats (principally from olive oil) as well as higher fat intake overall. (3)
In the short term, you may lose a modest amount of weight over a year span and are likely to keep it off it you continue to eat following the diet. (6) If eating in the Mediterranean style prompts you to consume more fruits and vegetables, you’ll not only feel better physically, but your mental health will get a lift, too. Research shows that people who eat more raw fruits and veggies (particularly dark leafy greens like spinach, fresh berries, and cucumber) have fewer symptoms of depression, a better mood, and more life satisfaction. (36)
If you stop taking MCT oil for a while and then restart, begin with a small amount again to allow your digestive system to readjust. That said, MCT oil is often more easily digested by those struggling to digest other types of fat, such as those with malabsorption, leaky gut, Crohn's disease or gallbladder impairment (such as an infection or if you had your gallbladder removed).
In fact, the FDA now allows olive oil labels to carry the claim that its monounsaturated fat can reduce heart disease risks -- with a few strings attached. The claim says that "limited and not conclusive scientific evidence" suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of heart disease. To give this possible benefit, it adds, the olive oil must replace a similar amount of saturated fat in your diet -- and must not increase the total calories you eat in a day.