Welcome to the 21st century, where the low-fat diet is slowly but definitely on its way out to make room for a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet. For decades we have been following the faulty advice to reduce our fat intake to a bare minimum while increasing the amount of sugar in everything. Even a well-known brand of packaged macaroni and cheese contains added sugar, leaving us wondering why noodles and cheese might possibly need to be sweetened.
Until recently it was thought these antioxidant polyphenols acted directly on genes and blood vessels. But it turns out that they also work via our gut microbes that make up our microbiome. This is the community of trillions of diverse bacteria which live in our large intestine. They feed off the different polyphenols and produce other small chemicals (short chain fatty acids) that dampen down inflammation and help our immune system.
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.
As evidence continues to mount affirming that inflammatory substances in the blood promote plaque growth, plaque rupture, and clot formation, all of which likely increase the risk of heart attacks, “we’ve got to start asking ourselves: ‘Is any fat, even so-called good fats, beneficial in terms of preventing heart attacks and strokes?'” says Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center.
In Britain and the US, people consume on average around 1 litre of olive oil per person per year, but isn’t much compared to the Greeks, Italians and Spanish who all consume more 13 litres per person. Olive oil, with its high calories and mixed saturated and unsaturated fats, was once assumed by many doctors to be dreadfully unhealthy. But health surveys of European populations kept finding that southern Europeans lived longer and had less heart disease despite higher fat intakes. It turns out olive oil was the likely reason.
"After 10 years of drinking and partying in the music industry, I had the perfect example of a 'dad bod'. This whole, calories in calories out, thing didn’t work for me, so I did some research and I came across keto. I saw a weight loss transformation picture of someone who had done keto for four months and saw great results, so I went five months without carbs.
The ketogenic diet is a diet based on the consumption of predominately fat, giving less emphasis to the other two macronutrients, particularly carbohydrates. While ratios vary depending on the individual and their goals, consumption typically consists of only five to ten percent carbohydrates, fifteen to thirty percent protein and the remainder of the diet is made up of fat.
It has a belly-melting X factor. Olive oil is what scientists call a monounsaturated fat (MUFA). And while the mechanism that makes MUFAs melt ab fat isn’t yet fully understood, one thing is for sure: MUFAs lower levels of insulin, a hormone programmed to turn excess blood sugar to belly fat. No wonder studies show that when we choose mostly MUFAs, our bellies shrink up to 350 percent faster than when we choose other fats or no fat at all. Says Palinski-Wade: “This actually works better than really crazy diets.”
Ten years ago an ambitious and unique research trial was started in Spain in 7,500 mildly overweight men and women in their 60s at risk of heart disease and diabetes. They were randomly allocated to two diets for five years: one a low-fat diet recommended by doctors in most western countries and the other a high fat Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra olive oil or nuts.

The information you share, including that which might otherwise be Protected Health Information, to this site is by design open to the public and is not a private, secure service. You should think carefully before disclosing any personal information in any public forum. What you have written may be seen, disclosed to, or collected by third parties and may be used by others in ways we are unable to control or predict, including to contact you or otherwise be used for unauthorized or unlawful purposes. As with any public forum on any site, this information may also appear in third-party search engines like Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc. Your use of this site is governed by Harvard University and its affiliates Terms of Use located at www.health.harvard.edu/privacy-policy and may be amended from time to time.


Julius thanks for the reply. I am usually asleep anywhere between 9-10pm. I usually eat dinner early between 5 and 6. Work out at about 7:30(after we put our daughter to sleep Mon, Wed, Fri). I drink caffeine in the mornings. I have a full gym in my garage where I do light weight until fatigue(or close to it) for 3 sets one after the other Bench, Squat, Barbell Rows, Military, and RDL with about a two and a half minute in between. When I am done I usually throw in some auxillaries.. curls, tri’s, etc.. I was thinking of adding HIIT on off days(sprints on treadmill, jump rope). Thank you again!
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

"The authors … use kilojoules to measure energy instead of calories, but when you convert the units, you'll see that few of the studies showed a benefit relevant to the real world. For example, one study found that 5 grams of MCT oil did indeed raise the metabolic rate of healthy men … by 11 calories a day … [Y]ou could burn more calories than that by walking for [five] minutes, or jumping rope slowly for [two] minutes."
I’m so very happy I found your page! I was on the ketogenic diet a couple of years ago and there wasn’t much information back then as there is now. I followed the diet and lost 25 lbs but fast forward to today Im 17 lbs heavier so I’m back on it again but this time I’m concerned because unlike before I wasn’t working out at all! I now train 6 times a week. I’m not skinny but I do consider myself a fit person and run 5k’s, obstacle course races and now training for my first CrossFit competition but I felt a devastating hit to my performance this week. I mean I know it’s normal to be weak and fatigued in the beginning but I’m not so sure if keto is the best diet for me now that my goal is to perform for these OCR and drop weight while still building muscles. Any advise for me?
Don’t get it wrong — just about all the cheap and abundant oils in coconut oil are good for you, which is why coconut oil is high on the list of Bulletproof foods! The problem is that studies show you can’t get enough of the really useful MCTs from just eating coconut oil or a so-called “MCT oil” that is diluted with lauric acid, a useful, but cheap, and hugely abundant part of coconut oil that is marketed as an MCT oil.[1]
While keto diets minimize sugar and other food sensitivities, they often allow full-fat dairy such as yogurt that, for some people, can stall fat loss. And some packaged keto-friendly foods (yes, there's a whole industry of keto-friendly cookies, candy, and other junk food!) can contain gluten, artificial sweeteners, and other reactive ingredients. These foods and additives cause dysbiosis (an imbalance between good and bad bugs), leaky gut syndrome, and increase insulin resistance, which raises blood sugar levels—stalling weight loss. Read your labels carefully: Food sensitivities can be sneaky and hide in foods that you would never suspect, like mustard.
Extra virgin olive oil helps in supporting your weight loss goals effectively. This is because of the satiating power of the fatty acids found in olive oil. This means that the regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil leads to a greater feeling of fullness. Extra virgin olive oil does contain calories but it is a healthier type of fat and is a great alternative to the others like butter or refined oils, especially if you are on a diet. In Greece, which consumes more olive oil than any other country, it is traditional to drink half a cup of extra virgin olive oil with lime water every morning to stay slim, prevent hunger pangs and increase longevity. You must consult a nutritionist to help you add extra virgin olive oil to your weight loss diet.
At this point, you probably already know that the Mediterranean diet is good for your health. Research proves over and over again that people who put an emphasis on produce, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats not only weigh less, but also have a decreased risk for heart disease, depression, and dementia. So what are you waiting for? Here are the basics: Shop the market perimeter, eat seasonally, and break (whole-grain) bread with people who make you smile. Now for the nitty-gritty.

The polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil act as antioxidants to rid the body of free radicals that would otherwise damage cells, or even lead to cancer. A study found that drinking olive oil inhibited colon cancer at various stages of the disease. So why not use it to fend off cancer to begin with? This is not to say that you should skip those recommended colonoscopies after age 50, but go ahead and add olive oil to your daily regimen as a preventative measure.
Eating extra virgin olive oil as part of a diverse Mediterranean diet is clearly beneficial in Spanish adults. And although genes partially control preferences, there is no reason to believe it won’t work in other cultures and populations. If we start educating people to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil early in life and change its stigma as a medicine or punishment, we could make our populations and our gut microbiomes healthier. Although we are unlikely to ever match the Greeks.
Beyond plant foods, another major staple of the diet is locally caught fish and a moderate consumption of cow, goat or sheep cheeses and yogurts that are included as a way to receive healthy fats and cholesterol. Fish like sardines and anchovies are a central part of the diet, which usually is traditionally lower in meat products than many Western diets today.
The group who ate yogurt with the extract had increased blood flow in brain areas typically associated with fat consumption—even though the overall fat content of the snack was low. That's all thanks to the scent of olive oil, which might help you feel full, according to the researchers. (This isn't the first time studies have shown that olive oil can increase feelings of satiety and fullness.)
Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) – Not technically a ketone but a molecule. Its essential role in the ketogenic diet makes it count as the important ketone body. BHB is synthesized by your liver from acetoacetate. BHB is important because it can freely float throughout your body in your blood, crossing many tissues where other molecules can’t. It enters the mitochondria and gets turned into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy currency of your cells. BHB = ATP = energy!

This research also demonstrated that the monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid (olive oil is 78% oleic acid) resulted in a marked increase in LPS attached to chylomicrons in the bloodstream. Chylomicrons, also known as cholesterol remnants, are large, fat-rich lipoprotein particles that research has found contribute to the growth of cholesterol-filled plaques. (8) After a fatty meal, the blood is so full of chylomicrons that it turns milky, like a strawberry shake.
I can't help but think that if all of the world's leaders were to read this book and promote the implementation of its recommendations, we would see a lot less premature death and morbidity. Our population would shrink in girth. Diabetes and hypertension would be relegated to the genetically less fortunate...―Dr Melissa Shirley Walton MD, Cardiologist, Medscape
Try stress reduction techniques: Examine the stresses in your life and see if you can do anything to alleviate any of them. Stress increases cortisol release. But don’t stress about stress — that is no win. Many women during menopause find they are caught in the sandwich of still dependent children but aging or ill parents. Death of loved ones and loss are common during the menopausal years.
I just started keto this past week and I am on day 7. I am down 4lbs, but have a long way to go to reach my goal (40lbs). I was wondering about certain foods….are tomatoes/onions okay on a keto diet? I’ve read quite a few conflicting reports that claim you should not eat those while on keto. I’m not very good at tracking macros and calories yet. I’m just trying to stay focused on eating all the right foods. It has been a rough week with brain fog, headaches, fatigue, the works…and barely enough energy to get in any exercise. Still I try. I have two little ones and that tends to take up more of my time. I recently found out that milk is pretty high in carbs and replaced that as well. I was wondering if after your reaching your goal, whether or not I could transition to paleo and still keep the weight off. Do you think that would work? I love fruits and the occassional glass of milk that allows me to make a smoothie haha….I was just wondering, what are your thoughts on this?
And so much more. Click Here to open a chart comparing the nutrients in the same number of calories from green leafy lettuce and olive oil. Keep in mind, too, what mountains of research over the past several decades have told us. Consistently, the foods linked with healthier, longer, disease-free lives are foods rich in all kinds of nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fiber, polyphenols, beta carotene, and so on. Yes, foods like leafy greens. Olive oil, by comparison, tallies up a whole lot of zeros.
Dr. Hallberg notes that vigorous exercise can sometimes create a false weight plateau. “If you are exercising to the point of getting sore, you are tearing muscle — which is a good thing, that is how we build muscle, by micro-tears.” But in order to deal with that, the body sets off a small inflammatory response, which causes people to retain fluid. “So after a vigorous workout you can jump up a few pounds overnight. It is not a real plateau, it is a pseudo plateau.”

“MCTs” are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has numerous health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management. Coconut oil is one great source of MCTs — roughly 62 percent to 65 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs — but recently more concentrated “MCT oil” has also been growing in popularity.

Olive oil contains biophenols, which suppress the oxidization of LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) which has been shown to play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. High levels of LDL in the blood amplify oxidative stress which hardens the arterial walls (called atherosclerosis). The biophenols in olives reduce blood pressure, therefore reducing the development of arterial plaque as well.
Our European neighbors have known for many centuries of the many benefits of olive oil — they use it inside the body and out! On the skin, they use it as an exfoliant mixed into a sugar scrub or as a moisturizer. But you don’t have to smear olive oil all over you; drinking it will provide known anti-aging compounds, like antioxidants and vitamin E.
In 2014, a group of three Brazilian researchers assessed the available literature on low-carbohydrate diets in a meta-analysis. They specifically looked at trials that compared a very-low carbohydrate ketogenic diet (VLCKD) that contained no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day against a conventional, low-fat diet with less than 30% of calories from fat. Ultimately, they included 13 studies that lasted 12 months or more and collectively contained 1577 subjects with 787 randomized to a low-fat diet group and 790 to a VLCKD group.

Starting in Italy thousands of years ago and spreading to Greece, Spain and other areas around the Mediterranean, this diet is now successful all over the world for promoting health and longevity. While it’s always existed, even before books and studies were dedicated to it, the diet really began to take hold around the world in the 1990s, when a Harvard University doctor showcased it as a diet useful for improving heart health, losing weight and clearing up other health issues.


MCT oils are particularly good for cooking because they have a high “smoke point,” meaning they don’t oxidize from heat easily and can withstand high temperatures. This is crucial, because even certain “good fats” are not well-suited for cooking (like extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil, for example) and can become rancid oils somewhat easily. Both coconut oil and MCT oil can be used for the most part in baked goods, sautés, stir-fries and grilled foods without oxidizing.
Unlike coconut oil, MCT oil is liquid at room temperature and is tasteless. It is better for rapid energy and metabolism than coconut oil and it may also be a great choice for those who don’t like the taste of coconut oil or who need a liquid oil at room temperature. It is a great neutral oil for use in homemade mayonnaise or as an unflavored oil in homemade salad dressings.

• Other research suggests MCTs help with weight loss by reducing your appetite. As reported by Mental Health Daily:12 "Some scientists speculate that MCT acts on various hormones such as: cholecystokinin, gastric inhibitory peptide, pancreatic polypeptide, peptide YY and neurotensin. The precise mechanism of action of MCTs remains unknown, but it is known to induce satiety and reduced appetite compared to [LCTs]."
MCTs and saturated fats are good for you in other ways, too: They reduce the risks of low-fat diets, and they’re supportive of your gut environment, especially since they have the capability to combat harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Additionally, MCTs contain antioxidant properties, which is why coconut oil has far-reaching inflammatory benefits that have led it to be used to treat dozens of health problems in folk medicine for centuries.
Don’t eat too much protein — In addition to limiting your carb intake, you need to limit your protein intake as well. You should aim for about 20% of your calories to come from protein. If you eat more than that, your body will turn the excess protein into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. Your body will then try to burn this glucose off instead of fat and will kick your body out of ketosis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even modest weight loss — anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of your body weight — can provide huge health benefits including improvements in blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Furthermore, a study in the National Weight Control Registry cited that participants who maintained significant weight loss reported increased “energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence.” In other words, losing weight on the keto diet won’t just help you look better, it will be better for your overall health, energy, mood, and confidence. Keeping all of this in mind will help you stay motivated on your ketogenic journey.
This is because you get rid of the foods that cause high blood sugar, also known as glucose. Glucose is the easiest way for your body to get energy, but it can lead to energy crashes if you get too much in a short time. To get rid of the glucose and use it up, the body needs to produce insulin. As we produce more and more, our bodies become resistant to it, and this can lead to diabetes.
For those who love their potatoes, pasta, and even fruit, this is a diet that will change your lifestyle completely. You’ve probably already guessed that the pasta and other wheat foods are not allowed. Potatoes and other starchy foods, like legumes and beans, are also on the banned list and that makes sense to many. But fruit? Is fruit not allowed?
Coconut oil contains MCT’s, but only in relatively small quantities. C8 MCT (Caprylic Acid) comprises roughly 6% of coconut oil, and C10 (Capric acid) is usually around 9%. These two forms of MCT are particularly valuable because they take far fewer steps to convert to caloric energy than the other saturated fat forms found in coconut oil. Coconut oil is great, but if you really want to benefit from the fast acting fuel of MCT’s, choosing Onnit MCT oil is the way to go.
Neither protein nor carbohydrate triggers the production of chylomicrons. Only long-chain fatty acids do, which are what the vast majority of all naturally occurring fats and oils are made up of. More LPS and chylomicrons may help explain the unique role of dietary fat in raising CRP and other inflammatory substances in the blood, as researchers from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, and Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, discussed. (9)
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.
×