Fact: The food is a huge part of the diet, yes, but don’t overlook the other ways the Mediterraneans live their lives. When they sit down for a meal, they don’t sit in front of a television or eat in a rush; they sit down for a relaxed, leisurely meal with others, which may be just as important for your health as what’s on your plate. Mediterraneans also enjoy plenty of physical activity.
If you look at your diet and worry that there's barely a green to be seen, this is the perfect opportunity to fit in more veggies. A good way to do this is to eat one serving at snacktime, like crunching on bell pepper strips or throwing a handful of spinach into a smoothie), and one at dinner, like these quick and easy side dishes. Aim for at least two servings per day. More is better. At least three servings can help you bust stress, Australian research notes.
Given the choice of a fat and protein source like meat or a salt and carb rich food like potato chips, we are designed say yes to both. No matter how stuffed we are, the most primal parts of our brain will typically tell us that there is room for more if a novel food source is available. These behaviors were essential for our survival as a species. If we ate reasonably whenever food was available, then we wouldn’t have enough fat or muscle to fuel us when calories were scarce.
Eating like a Mediterranean is as much lifestyle as it is diet. Instead of gobbling your meal in front of the TV, slow down and sit down at the table with your family and friends to savor what you’re eating. Not only will you enjoy your company and your food, eating slowly allows you to tune in to your body’s hunger and fullness signals. You’re more apt to eat just until you’re satisfied than until you’re busting-at-the-seams full.
Nuts are another Mediterranean diet staple. Grabbing a handful, whether that's almonds, cashews, or pistachios, can make for a satisfying, on-the-go snack. One study in Nutrition Journal found that if people replaced their standard snack (cookies, chips, crackers, snack mix, cereal bars) with almonds, their diets would be lower in empty calories, added sugar, and sodium. Plus, nuts contain more fiber and minerals, such as potassium, than processed snack foods.
These are the widely recognized LCTs, or long chain fatty acids in coconut oil, mostly saturated, including stearic acid (C18:0), oleic acid (C18:1), and linoleic acid (18:2). The exact percentage of each depends on the region the coconut is grown, time of harvest, and other growing variables. They are good as a fuel source, but they are also widely available in other oils, and you won’t benefit from eating a lot more of them compared to eating true medium chain fatty acids.
“Certainly, a single high-fat meal has been shown to impair blood flow in part because of acute damage to the endothelium, which may explain why angina is often much worse for several hours after each high-fat meal. A vital question scientists must ask is: ‘How much inflammatory damage do dietary fats cause, and, as a result, how much cardiovascular disease are they causing’?”
A typical keto diet is comprised of 80 percent fat, 15 percent protein, and a mere 5 percent of calories from carbohydrates. If you consume 2,000 calories a day, that means just 100 of them are coming from carbs—including healthy carbs like fruits and vegetables. When you eat this way, it triggers ketosis, which means your body has burned through all its carbs and needs to begin burning fat for energy.
Drinking more than a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a day can have a laxative effect. That can lead to diarrhea, which leads to dehydration and possible laxative dependency. Also, olive oil does contain calories. Dipping bread in olive oil instead of buttering it will save you the saturated fats in animal products, but a tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories, where a tablespoon of butter only has 100. Twenty calories isn’t enough to tip the scales, but calories can add up fast if you’re not paying attention.
Julius thanks for sharing your story with us and the great breakdown of everything. I’m two weeks in on my standard keto diet along with exercise and I feel great. I know how vital sleep is but I find myself waking up very early in the morning usually between 3-4 am(I wake up at 5 for work) but I have so much energy I can’t go back to sleep and I am not tired throughout the day. From your knowledge and experience is this normal? And is working out more than 3x a week counter productive in your opinion? Thanks again, Josh
“The eating style with the most impressive evidence to support its health benefits is the Mediterranean diet. However, this is not the American version of the Mediterranean diet, which tends to be heavy on pasta, pizza and meat. Instead, it's the traditional peasant Mediterranean diet, whose followers could not afford refined sugar, processed foods, butter and meats. Instead, they grew and ate their own vegetables and berries, and tended orchards of olives, nuts, and fruits. They fished the seas and rivers for their protein, which was rich in omega-3 fats. They consumed modest amounts of fermented dairy such as yogurt and cheese. Many of them during their largest meal of the day would enjoy a glass of red wine from their own vineyards. This diet and lifestyle has been proven in many large studies to be the healthiest eating pattern in the world; and it helps that it is delicious as well as nutritious.”
All olive oils are not the same, however. This book also explores the effects of diverse varieties of olives, growing techniques and oil-production methods on the health-giving properties - and flavour - of different oils. With over 100 delicious recipes, it points the way to those extra virgin oils and food combinations that are likely to do you the most good.
When ketone bodies accumulate in the blood, this is called ketosis. Healthy individuals naturally experience mild ketosis during periods of fasting (e.g., sleeping overnight) and very strenuous exercise. Proponents of the ketogenic diet state that if the diet is carefully followed, blood levels of ketones should not reach a harmful level (known as “ketoacidosis”) as the brain will use ketones for fuel, and healthy individuals will typically produce enough insulin to prevent excessive ketones from forming.  How soon ketosis happens and the number of ketone bodies that accumulate in the blood is variable from person to person and depends on factors such as body fat percentage and resting metabolic rate. 
“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)
Julius – You are awesome and nice job with this! I have been a crazy person researching every university and medical journal to study nutritional ketosis as well as fasting, and how to use in combination. My goal is to be on the cover of SHAPE magazine when I’m 60 – a few years away – and this lifestyle what will make that happen. So far, 26 pounds in 6 weeks – this is huge – and I was inspired to read your results. DO YOU FIND that keeping snacks in your diet is OK?? Same question for whey powder vs egg white powder?? I thought the whey resulted in a higher insulin response…have you compared the two? As a former competitive powerlifter, I’m curious about this….and thanks for doing this great blog.
Both MCT oil and coconut oil are beneficial for balancing bacteria in the gut microbiota, which in turn has positive effects on the digestive symptom, energy expenditure, and the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Medium-chain fats can help kill a wide range of pathogenic viruses, strains and bacteria that cause digestive issues, including candida, constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomachaches and so on. (8)
The cheaper forms of olive oil (those labelled regular or virgin) didn’t show any benefit – it had to be extra virgin. The difference between the grades of oil lies not just in the lower acidity, freshness and richer taste but in the number of chemicals released called polyphenols. High grade extra virgin oil, especially if cold extracted, has around 30 polyphenols that act as antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and also help reduce the effects of aging particularly on the heart and brain.
“It makes other food, especially vegetables, taste delicious,” says Palinski-Wade. Raw broccoli? Salad with fat-free dressing? Meh. But broccoli sautéed with garlic and olive oil, salad drizzled with homemade vinaigrette — now we’re talking. “There are so many micronutrients in veggies with potential to help reduce belly fat — but they won’t work if you don’t eat them. I really think that’s a huge reason diets rich in olive oil have been shown to take off more weight,” says the pro. “Olive oil leads to greater vegetable consumption!”