As well as being a full time GP, Dr Simon Poole is a renowned international commentator on the Mediterranean Diet and a member of the Council of Directors of the True Health Initiative in the USA. He has written regularly on matters related to primary care in medicine and nutrition for a diverse range of national media including The Guardian, Nutrition and Food Science and the Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons as well as consumer magazines such as Cook Vegetarian and Body Language. He also has extensive experience broadcasting and writing for local, national and international radio, television and web based organisations and regularly speaks at and chairs conferences attended by physicians, the media, politicians and the food industry on subject matters relating to health, politics and nutrition.
A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials following overweight and obese participants for 1-2 years on either low-fat diets or very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets found that the ketogenic diet produced a small but significantly greater reduction in weight, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and a greater increase in HDL and LDL cholesterol compared with the low-fat diet at one year.  The authors acknowledged the small weight loss difference between the two diets of about 2 pounds, and that compliance to the ketogenic diet declined over time, which may have explained the more significant difference at one year but not at two years (the authors did not provide additional data on this).
The second reason is arguably more important: Vegies taste better with olive oil, so people are likely to eat more. “My rule of thumb is one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to one cup of veg,” Flynn says, adding that sautéing them or roasting are tasty options, plus these methods maintain much of their nutrient value. “Eating veg like this fills you up and stops you being hungry.” An added bonus, she says, is fibre from the veg also improves bowel regularity.
A 2018 study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry found evidence that healthy dietary choices, those in line with eating the Mediterranean diet, can help reduce the risk for depression. (12) Researchers involved in the study investigated the mental-health effects of adherence to a range of diets — including the Mediterranean diet, the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH diet), and the Dietary Inflammatory Index. They found that the risk of depression was reduced the most when people followed a traditional Mediterranean diet and overall ate a variety of anti-inflammatory foods.
HDL cholesterol has long been considered “good” because it is largely responsible for picking up excess cholesterol from tissues, including the artery wall, and bringing it back to the liver for disposal. This process is known as reverse cholesterol transport. It’s easy to remember if you think of HDL as the garbage trucks that help rid the body of garbage (LDL).
To start, olive oil is very high in compounds called phenols, which are potent antioxidants capable of lowering inflammation and fighting free radical damage. Olive oil is mainly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids, the most important of which is called oleic acid. Oleic acid is known to be extremely heart-healthy in numerous ways, especially when compared to many other refined vegetable oils, trans-fats or hydrogenated fats.
The solution? One way of approaching this issue is through dieting. To adapt to such an abundant food environment, you need to give your brain new food rules to follow (e.g, a diet). Your brain needs you to tell it what to eat and what not to eat to meet your health goals. One of the best ways to do this is by finding a diet with simple rules that you can follow for the rest of your life.
She went on to research whether a plant-based olive oil diet would improve risk factors for chronic disease, including breast and prostate cancers, relative to a lower fat diet. In one major study of 44 women with breast cancer, participants were assigned either a conventional diet where less than 30 percent of calories came from fat or a plant-based olive oil diet. The women followed the diets for eight weeks of weight loss and then could choose which they wanted to continue on for six months of follow-up. Somewhat surprisingly to Flynn, a strong majority of the women chose her diet, saying that the meals tasted better, were easy to prepare, inexpensive, and could be used both for everyday eating and when entertaining. Moreover, those who have tried to adopt the plant-based olive diet in both research and outpatient settings have mentioned feeling better after just one day following it, which is a powerful motivator for lasting behavior change.
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Of course, the most famous use for MCT oil is Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof® Coffee recipe. This fat-packed coffee uses a mixture of grass-fed butter and MCT oil for a brain and energy boost. I accomplish similar results by adding coconut oil to my healthy coffee recipe, but have tried the MCT version and can vouch for its energy-boosting and brain-focus inducing properties. (Note: There are two Bulletproof® brand MCT oils: XCT Oil (C8+C10)and Brain Octane oil (Pure C8), which do contain palm but are sustainably sourced and use a super-clean steam distillation process of extraction).
So don’t reward olive oil with the laurels, agreed Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, one of the nation’s top nutrition scientists, at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tuft University in Boston. In several interviews about this study of Greek adults, she said, “If the main message that Americans get is to just increase their olive or canola oil consumption, that’s unfortunate because they will increase their caloric intake and they are already getting too many calories.
I lost most of my weight on a high protein, low carb diet prescribed by my surgeon, but I’ve recently started the Deeper State Keto program which is much higher fat. I’ve cut out the protein bars and shakes and have so much energy. I feel like I could do cartwheels at all times. It’s not like I felt bad before. I wasn’t sleepy, lethargic, or sluggish. Now, I’m alert, bright and energized all the time."
In the famous Lyon Diet Heart Study, people who had heart attacks between 1988 and 1992 were either counseled to follow the standard post-heart attack diet advice, which reduces saturated fat greatly, or told to follow a Mediterranean style. After about four years, follow-up results showed that people on the Mediterranean diet experienced 70 percent less heart disease — which is about three times the reduction in risk achieved by most cholesterol-lowering prescription station drugs! The people on the Mediterranean diet also amazingly experienced a 45 percent lower risk of all-cause death than the group on the standard low-fat diet. (11)
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.