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While some Mediterranean diets do include a good deal of carbohydrates — in the form of pasta or bread, for example — being active and otherwise consuming very low levels of sugar means that insulin resistance remains rare in these countries. The Mediterranean style of eating helps prevent peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels, which zaps energy and takes a toll on your mood. All of these various factors contribute to this diet’s diabetes prevention capabilities.
Jackie Eberstein agrees: “Measure your success by a loss of inches, rather than the scale.” She advises that you accept that weight loss in middle age will be slower than when you were younger. “Remember that you are in this for the long haul. It is an investment in your health as you get older. Have patience. Your long-term goal is to make a permanent lifestyle change as well as lose the excess fat.”
However, the researchers noted that it was still substantial and noted that “Evidence from this systematic review demonstrates that low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets are more effective at 6 months and are as effective, if not more, as low-fat diets in reducing weight and cardiovascular disease risk up to 1 year.”  They emphasized, however, that more research needs to be done to evaluate the long-term effects of the ketogenic diet on weight-loss.
Metagenics offers a wide range of educational opportunities including webinars, group meetings, and seminars as part of our commitment to continuing functional medicine education. Our goal is to give our practitioners further insight to help address their patients’ unique health needs for a higher level of personalized, lifetime wellness care. We have been sharing this ever-growing body of nutritional and lifestyle research for over 25 years.
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)
How much olive oil should you consume daily? While recommendations differ depending on your specific calorie needs and diet, anywhere from one to four tablespoons seems to be beneficial. Estimates show that those in the Mediterranean region probably consume between three to four tablespoons a day, and this is the amount that some health practitioners recommend to their heart disease patients.
On a less serious (but still important) note, it is important to start using MCT oil slowly. Because it is so readily and quickly used by the body, it can lead to all kinds of (temporary but embarrassing) digestive disturbances if you jump in to quickly. I’ve even stumbled across entire threads in online forums bemoaning the “disaster pants” that resulted from using too much MCT oil too quickly. It is generally considered safe to start with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon and work up as the stomach permits.
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.
The keto diet is notorious for delivering a quick initial slim down. That’s because carbs hold on to more water than protein or fat, says Becky Kerkenbush, RD, a clinical dietitian at Watertown Regional Medical Center. So when you stop eating them, all that extra H2O gets released through urination. As a result, the scale might read a few pounds lower, and you may look a bit leaner.
The go-to protein in the Mediterranean diet is fish. In particular, this diet emphasizes fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. These fish are rich in heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Even those fish that are leaner and have less fat (like cod or tilapia) are still worth it, as they provide a good source of protein. If you currently don't get a lot of fish in your diet, an easy point of entry is to designate one day each week as "fish" night. Cooking fish in parchment paper or foil packets is one no-fuss, no-mess way to put dinner on the table. Or try incorporating it in some of your favorite foods, like tacos, stir-frys, and soups.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are fats that are naturally found in coconut and palm kernel oils. They’re more easily and rapidly digested than other types of fats. MCTs are readily absorbed from the GI tract and are metabolized very quickly by the liver, where they are reported to encourage the use of fat for energy rather than for storage.* Numerous studies suggest that substituting MCT oil for other fats in a healthy diet may therefore help to support healthy weight and body composition.*
Mamalaki, E., Anastasiou, C. A., Ntanasi, E., Tsapanou, A., Kosmidis, M. H., Dardiotis, E., ... Yannakoulia, M. (2018, September 5). Associations between the mediterranean diet and sleep in older adults: Results from the hellenic longitudinal investigation of aging and diet study. Geriatrics & Gerontology International, 18(11), 1543–1548. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ggi.13521
Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder and CEO of Wellness Mama, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.
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.
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.