You'll find lots of free Mediterranean diet resources on the Oldways website, including an easy-to-understand food pyramid; a printable grocery list; gender- and age-specific tips on making the Mediterranean switch; a quick-read "starter" brochure; a recipe newsletter; and even a glossary defining Mediterranean staples, from bruschetta to tapenade.

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.*
During this first phase, people can expect to lose anywhere from 2 to 7 pounds of water weight. Some people may even lose up to 10 pounds! Studies indicate that each gram of glycogen in human muscle is bound to about 3 grams of water. So, as your body burns through the glycogen, it also rids your body of water. Even though you’ll be losing mostly water weight in these early stages, this is a great sign that you are on your way to achieving ketosis.
First, start with a tablespoon and increase the amount over time. Another option is to mix olive oil in a blender with a cup of warm water and the juice of a lemon. It makes it much more palatable and the lemon juice will help with the easier digestion of the oil. Plus, lemon juice has been linked to improved liver function. A healthy liver produces more bile, which in turn is needed for the proper breakdown of fats (and oils) in the small intestine.
Eat less often. It’s much easier to eat fewer calories and maintain higher levels of ketosis when you eat less meals. Instead of snacking throughout the day, try getting all of your calories from 2-3 meals every day. You can also try intermittent fasting by restricting all your meals to an 8-hour eating window. This will allow your blood sugar and insulin to drop down to baseline levels so that your body can go into its fasting state and burn body fat for fuel.
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.
MCTs have antiviral and antibacterial properties and there is some evidence that they may help balance gut bacteria and combat pathogenic bacteria. They also offer the digestive system a break because they are so easily utilized by the body. When used with a healthy diet and other ways to support gut bacteria, MCTs may help improve gut health over time. (Though regular coconut oil may be more effective for this, see below).
The study found that those people eating a Mediterranean diet that was supplemented with the olive oil deliveries were 30 percent less likely to die of heart attack, disease, stroke or death from cardiovascular causes than those eating a low-fat diet. (1) In fact, the study finished earlier than planned, because the results were drastic enough that it was considered unethical to continue conducting it. For those of us who advocate eating a Mediterranean diet, this study was a welcome validation.
“Dietary fat is rewarding,” said Dr. Andreas Fritsche, study co-author and nutritional medicine professor at the University Hospital Tübingen in Germany. So rewarding, in fact, that it could be used as an effective dieting tool, though further studies are needed. “If you eat a fat-free aroma extract which is commonly associated with fat, it is possible that you get the rewarding effect of fat-triggered sensations without calories,” Dr. Fritsche said. 

When we consider our genetics and the current food environment together, a fascinating story reveals itself. The human species evolved from millions of years of genes that were trying to survive an environment that they didn’t create. As a result, humans evolved the ability to create their own environment that allows them to fulfill their needs at any given moment with minimal effort.
Yes, in the 1950s Ancel Keys and fellow scientists observed that people living in the Mediterranean, especially on the isle of Crete, were lean and heart disease-free. And true, their diet consisted of olive oil, but it also had an abundance of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, coarse whole-grain breads, beans, and fish. And they walked about nine miles daily, often behind an ox and plow.
Shortly after World War II, Ancel Keys and colleagues (including Paul Dudley White, later President Eisenhower’s heart doctor) organized the remarkable Seven Countries Study to examine the hypothesis that Mediterranean-eating patterns contributed directly to improved health outcomes. This long-running study examined the health of almost thirteen thousand middle-aged men in the United States, Japan, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, and then-Yugoslavia.
In the Mediterranean, many people start their day with a quarter cup of olive oil. The oleic acid in olive oil has a satiating effect. As mentioned above, it also slows the absorption of other nutrients, so you’ll feel full longer and won’t need to reach for that mid-morning sugary snack. While the calories in olive oil may be high, the overall consumption of calories throughout the day will drop when you’re just not that hungry.
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.
This supposedly “good” monounsaturated fat-rich meal, in effect, elevated blood fats and crippled the workings of the endothelium (the inside skin of the arteries), putting the squeeze on blood flow and reducing the arteries’ ability to deliver more blood to tissues. Research has shown that things that impair endothelial function in the short term usually contribute to clogged arteries in the long run. No problems with impaired endothelial function occurred with meals enriched in other parts of the Mediterranean diet, such as vegetables and fruits.
A study of 89 obese adults who were placed on a two-phase diet regimen (6 months of a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and 6 months of a reintroduction phase on a normal calorie Mediterranean diet) showed a significant mean 10% weight loss with no weight regain at one year. The ketogenic diet provided about 980 calories with 12% carbohydrate, 36% protein, and 52% fat, while the Mediterranean diet provided about 1800 calories with 58% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 27% fat. Eighty-eight percent of the participants were compliant with the entire regimen. [12] It is noted that the ketogenic diet used in this study was lower in fat and slightly higher in carbohydrate and protein than the average ketogenic diet that provides 70% or greater calories from fat and less than 20% protein.

The Mediterranean diet is a primarily plant-based eating plan that includes daily intake of whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, nuts, herbs, and spices. Other foods like animal proteins are eaten in smaller quantities, with the preferred animal protein being fish and seafood. Although the pyramid shape suggests the proportion of foods to eat (e.g., eat more fruits and vegetables and less dairy foods), it does not specify portion sizes or specific amounts. It is up to the individual to decide exactly how much food to eat at each meal, as this will vary by physical activity and body size. There are additional points that make this eating plan unique:

I lost 7lbs in the first 2 weeks of Keto, I do one aerobic type class a week and 4-5 HIIT classes. I have recently purchased the Ketostix and according to that i’m not in a ketogenic state. I have decided to throw myself back into this week regardless and I’m consciously writing down everything that I’m eating and keeping the net carbs to less than 20g’s a day. I’d be interested to know how many calories and protein you are consuming a day and what should my minimum fat intake be? A day for me at the min looks something like this

This is the ultimate “trimmifying” oil, with 100% Medium Chain Trglycerides that boost your metabolism life rocket fuel. MCT Oil has become the delicious and multi-talented dietary BFF of Trim Healthy Mamas all over the globe. Its succulent silky texture and neutral taste make it perfect to whip into your morning coffees that we call “Trimmies” and to drizzle over large leafy salads topped with protein. It delivers a very fatty mouth feel but provides the fewest calories of any oil!
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
Dr. Westman never brings up exercise as a first step in weight loss. He wants patients to focus on the diet first. “But later on, if things are no longer working well and there is still significant weight to lose, I bring up the E-word, exercise. But I try to get them back to things that are fun for them. Exercise will help you get through a plateau.”
We’d like to help. Many of our readers are women over the age of 45, and we know that the keto low-carb diet for weight loss and improved health over the menopause years is of huge interest for a lot of people. Many women in this age group are happy with the results they have achieved by adopting the low-carb or keto way of eating. But what if you are not achieving the results you want?
One of the diets that implement these principles is the low-carb ketogenic diet. It primarily consists of highly-satiating foods like meat and low-carb vegetables while cutting out all carb-ridden, highly-palatable foods. By eating in this way, most people experience tremendous amounts of fat loss — not because it lowers insulin levels, but because keto dieters tend to eat significantly fewer calories than high-carb dieters without realizing it.

There is a risk of excess calorie intake because specific amounts of foods and portion sizes are not emphasized, which could lead to weight gain. It might be helpful to use the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, which provides guidance on specific types of foods to choose, along with a balanced plate guide such as the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate, which gives a better indication of proportions of food to eat per meal. However, it is important to note that—probably in part due to the higher intake of olive oil and less processed foods—the Mediterranean dietary pattern provides satiety and enables long term adherence. In one of the most successful weight loss trials to date, those assigned to the Mediterranean diet maintained weight loss over a period of six years. [14]
As a dietary supplement, take 1 tablespoon (15 mL) 1 to 4 times daily. Onnit Pure Premium MCT Oil can be mixed into smoothies, or try it with Hemp FORCE for a certified delicious protein shake. Can also be used as a substitute for conventional oils in salad dressings or unheated sauces. Not recommended for cooking due to its relatively low boiling point. Not recommended for use with Styrofoam or any other foam-based material.
What’s next for Flynn? With teaching, research, clinical and non-profit work on her plate, she still feels that there is much left to learn about the application of a plant-based diet that includes high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Securing funding remains challenging, which Flynn attributes in large part due to the “dismal failure” of low-fat diet research. She also is confident in the potential of using “food as medicine” to improve risk factors for chronic diseases among low-income groups, which offers dual benefits of improving lives as well as decreasing health care costs. She is also curious about the freshness of olive oil vis-à-vis its provision of health benefits and whether there is a cutoff at which these benefits begin to decline.

"I'll typically have two chocolate peanut butter fat bombs. They save me. Lately, there’s been a keto cheesecake in the fridge and I’ll sneak a bite, but won’t have a whole piece. I try not to go too hard on the snacks anymore. I’m noticing that laying off the almond flours, coconut flours, and baked sweets has helped me feel better overall. If I want a crunch I’m reaching for the pork cracklings."
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.

If you’re looking to lose weight without being hungry and maintain that weight in a realistic way that can last a lifetime, this might be the plan for you. The diet is both sustainable and worthwhile, and has been undertaken by many people all around the world with great success related to weight loss and more, as it works to help manage weight and reduce fat intake naturally and easily due to eating many nutrient-dense foods.
One of the “hearty healthy” effects of olive oil, argues the olive oil industry, is that it raises levels of HDL good cholesterol. But higher HDL levels do not always mean better arteries. Remember the study on monkeys discussed at the beginning of this article? The higher HDL levels of the monkeys consuming a diet rich in monounsaturated fat did not prevent them from developing plaque–ridden, diseased arteries.

I just came across your blog on the keto diet. I have tried everything under the sun. I’m getting at a menopausal stage and no matter how healthy I eat, and exercise I continue to gain. Have you had good success with people like me? Do you really think this will work for me? I understand when women enter this stage it’s near impossible to lose weight. And for all my attempts it seems to be true. Lol!
More serious: Scientists have documented several cases in which a condition called ketoacidosis occurred as a result of a very low-carb diet. In ketoacidosis, the body produces more ketones than it can use for energy, and they build up in the blood, becoming toxic. If untreated, ketoacidosis can cause heart attacks, kidney failure, or fluid buildup in the brain.
Combine that with the fact that your body is excreting more water, and you have a potential recipe for clogged pipes. You can keep things moving by getting some fiber from keto-friendly foods like avocado, nuts, and limited portions of non-starchy vegetables and berries, says David Nico, PhD, author of Diet Diagnosis. Upping your water intake helps, too.

Benefits The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas pack an impressive amount of fiber (more than half of a woman’s 25 g daily quota), as well as iron, zinc, folate, and magnesium, according to a paper published in November 2014 in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. (15,16) The stats above are for a whole cup, but you only need ½ cup per day to reap the benefits.


Great article and very inspiring. I am very interested in the Keto lifestyle. My husband has Chrons disease and a friend of ours was telling us about the Keto diet. From the research I have done this seems very beneficial. However, I am struggling with the meal planning part of this. I currently plan our meals and grocery shopping weekly and know if I had a meal plan/recipes that we could be very successful. Do you have recommendations or suggestions on a place to find this?
In this new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers from the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil,  had a group of middle aged, overweight women receive a high fat breakfast that included 25 ml of oil. One group was given olive oil while the other group was given soybean oil. The oils were added to shakes that were consumed every morning. The participants were following a calorie restricted diet prescribed by a dietitian. After 9 weeks on this diet, both groups had lost weight, although the olive oil group had lost more weight but also more body fat. In fact, the olive oil group had 80% more body fat loss than the soybean oil group. The researchers noted that the results indicate that extra virgin olive oil should be included into calorie restricted programs for obesity treatment.

I’ve tried several brands of MCT oil hoping to save 3 dollars. I don’t need to try any more brands. THM is the best one by far! It’s tasteless and not HEAVY like some I’ve tried. I also just had my annual check up with cholesterol check and ALL my numbers went the right direction! (The numbers that were suppose to be high were higher. The numbers that were suppose to be low were lower!) . Don’t forget that you can use this in salads, over eggs but I like it best in my morning coffee! Lots of ways to incorporate this healthy fat!
I have also been doing 16:8, but not everyday. If You eat too few calories for too long you may lower your basic metabolic rate which you don’t really want to do. I eat something around 10 or 11 in the morning such as 3 deviled eggs, then a decent size meal at about 12:30 and my last meal at about 6. This seems to work well for me. I also use my fitness pal( free app), which is awesome and tracks all your macro ratios. It is important to keep it as Keto as you can. 70%fat, 5%carb, and 25% protein. I found at first that I just wasn’t eating enough fat, and my protein levels were too high. I think most people run into that same trap at first. Good luck!

People claiming huge benefits of these supplements – despite the lack of solid scientific support – may sometimes have a financial reason to believe in the supplements. Some of these products are sold under a multi-level marketing arrangement, where sales people are paid based on commission. For example, the company Prüvit sells drinkable ketones, called KETO//OS with a multi-level marketing structure.
Good luck miss. I’m on week 7 now of being on keto and I’ve lost 11.5Kilos (about 25 pounds!) and reduced my body fat by nearly 5%! I eat just once a day in the evening and supplement with 15ml of high quality liquid fish oil at night before bed plus eat some Pepitas that I roast at home (get just the kernels, with shells are too chewy) then roll on melted butter and add salt or whatever, delicious!), they’re a great way to up mineral levels like magnesium etc that are important for health.
There isn't "a" Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat differently from Italians, who eat differently from the French and Spanish. But they share many of the same principles. Working with the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways, a nonprofit food think tank in Boston, developed a consumer-friendly Mediterranean diet pyramid that offers guidelines on how to fill your plate – and maybe wineglass – the Mediterranean way.
There’s room for interpretation in the Mediterranean diet, whether you prefer to eat lower carb, lower protein or somewhere in between. The diet focuses on consumption of healthy fats while keeping carbohydrates relatively low and improving a person’s intake of high-quality protein foods. If you refer protein over legumes and grains, you have the option to lose weight in a healthy, no-deprivation-kind-of-way with a high amount of seafood and quality dairy products (that simultaneously provide other benefits like omega-3s and often probiotics).
MCT oil powder is a unique form of dietary fat rapidly absorbed by the body and has a wide range of health benefits. Supplementation with MCT powder can help combat fatigue, suppress appetite[*], enhance thermogenesis (aka ‘fat burning’)[*] and help your body adapt to using ketones for fuel. A recent scientific review showed that MCTs can effectively decrease body weight, total body fat, hip circumference, waist circumference, total subcutaneous fat and visceral fat[*]. Check out this articlefor more information on how to supplement with MCTs.

What is even more surprising is that the monounsaturated-fat-rich diet and saturated-fat-rich diet were equally damaging. “The monkeys fed monounsaturated fat developed equivalent amounts of coronary artery atherosclerosis as those fed saturated fat,” wrote Dr. Lawrence Rudel and colleagues at Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston–Salem, North Carolina.


You'll find lots of free Mediterranean diet resources on the Oldways website, including an easy-to-understand food pyramid; a printable grocery list; gender- and age-specific tips on making the Mediterranean switch; a quick-read "starter" brochure; a recipe newsletter; and even a glossary defining Mediterranean staples, from bruschetta to tapenade.

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.”
I used the keto guide at http://www.ketocookbook.org and I've lost 25 pounds of fat in one month! Since starting the keto diet, there's one thing I can tell you: the longer you follow it, the more benefits you get! It also gets much easier! That's because, once your body is fat adapted for a long period of time, it get's easier to get back into ketosis. You simply need to train your body to do it. Once you've been fat adapted for a few months, you can even add a few carbohydrates back into your diet from time to time. So understand that you aren't saying goodbye to carbs forever, you are just getting smarter about how to use them!
A weight loss transformation photo can only say so much about a person's past, their struggles, their victories, and the day-to-day steps they took to make a lasting change. Neither of us have had to lose a substantial amount of weight, so we need to learn from real people who have incredible weight loss transformation stories. We can all relate in one way or another.

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.
Lift weights: While you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, adding in weight lifting will build muscle and increase your metabolism. “The more muscle you add, the better your insulin sensitivity, so any sort of resistant strain you can add to your muscle is great for weight loss,” says Dr. Naiman. The weight lifting doesn’t have to be a excessive — 90 seconds, twice a week can do it. But he notes it has to be a heavy enough weight that after about to 10 to 15 lifts (reps) you cannot do another rep. That is called lifting to muscle failure. “It is only if you go to absolute failure that you convince your body that you’re not strong enough. Your body won’t add muscle unless you send the message that it needs more,” Dr. Naiman says. Squats, push-ups and other body resistance methods are just as effective as hand held weights or weight machines.
Nine months ago she decided to try the stricter keto diet and followed our advice to help support this way of eating. By testing her urine with keto stix she could see she was expelling ketones in the low to moderate range. But still her weight was increasing — she gained a total of 7 lbs (3 kg) over nine months of keto eating. And her clothes were feeling tight and uncomfortable. What was she doing wrong?

"I was on Reddit one day when I saw a weight loss transformation of a guy who had lost 140 pounds in a year using the keto diet. I started reading the keto subReddit and began researching the science behind it. After years of using upcoming events as excuses not to diet, I chose to start keto in January when the holidays were over and there weren’t any weddings or parties for the next few months. 
While each person’s keto journey will be unique, the fact remains: going keto is an effective way to shed extra weight and kickstart a life with better health. You’ll look better, feel better, and perform better in everyday life. But as with any diet, there will be times when the weight effortlessly slips off, and other times when the weight stubbornly hangs on. When you hit those weight loss stalls, the best thing to do is stick with it and stay on track. The ketogenic diet works and the health benefits of losing weight could transform your life.
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.
×