These two meta-analyses (and the other research you’ll find in this article on keto & weight loss) provide us with a look at the real world significance of low-fat and low-carb diets. When you put people on a low-carb ketogenic type diet, they tend to lose more weight than people who are on a low-fat diet. The ketogenic diet also provides us with clear rules to follow, which makes it is easier for us to keep ourselves from overeating.
Keto meals seemed so heavy and rich to me, and it just wasn't how I was used to eating. Plus, I consider myself a flexitarian, so the thought of eating more meat-and more often than I typically would-gave me pause. Dr. Axe assured me that even vegetarians could pull off a keto diet if they planned well enough. (Vegans can, too.) That said, he's a proponent of animal products and red meat specifically, because of the iron it provides for women (who are more susceptible to deficiency) and because it can bolster energy when carbs are lacking. (These Are the Other Things Vegetarians Need to Be Aware of Before Going Keto.)
Good fats in olive oil, nuts, and fish are beneficial for our health, and science is continually proving this to be the case. Recent studies have shown that consuming a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil leads to lower rates of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. And now there is evidence that the healthy fats in olive oil is linked to weight loss.
When examining the studies, the researchers noted that, on average, the participants in the VLCKD groups lost about 2 lbs. more of bodyweight compared to the low-fat diet groups.  This difference was statistically significant and described as “moderate”. The researchers also noted greater improvements in triglycerides, blood pressure, and HDL cholesterol in the VLCKD group compared to the low-fat diet group.
Research shows that greater adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet, including plenty of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 foods, is associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, especially heart disease. A striking protective effect of a Mediterranean diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from olive oil has been shown in many studies, with some finding that a Mediterranean-style diet can decrease the risk of cardiac death by 30 percent and sudden cardiac death by 45 percent. (6)
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.
Many versions of ketogenic diets exist, but all ban carb-rich foods. Some of these foods may be obvious: starches from both refined and whole grains like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, and cookies; potatoes, corn, and other starchy vegetables; and fruit juices. Some that may not be so obvious are beans, legumes, and most fruits. Most ketogenic plans allow foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, lard, and butter, as well as sources of unsaturated fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, plant oils, and oily fish. Depending on your source of information, ketogenic food lists may vary and even conflict.
Get a good night sleep: During menopause, many women find their quality of sleep sharply deteriorates, often because of hot flashes and night sweats. Drs. Fung and Hallberg really recommend that women in weight loss plateaus aim to improve their sleep. A good night sleep reduces stress and cortisol, the stress hormone that when raised hangs onto abdominal fat.
That first drop might be mostly water weight. But research suggests that the keto diet is good for fat loss, too. An Italian study of nearly 20,000 obese adults found that participants who ate keto lost around 12 pounds in 25 days. However, there aren’t many studies looking at whether the pounds will stay off long-term, researchers note. Most people find it tough to stick with such a strict eating plan, and if you veer off your diet, the pounds can easily pile back on.
The high-grade extra virgin olive oil contains around 30 polyphenols that act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation in the body. The monounsaturated fatty acids in extra virgin olive oil help increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol while decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Plus, the additional antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Hallberg and colleagues are currently in the midst of a study in which ten overweight mostly menopausal women, who have been doing low carb keto eating but whose weight loss has stalled prematurely, will spend about five days in a monitored environment. During this time the women’s food and activity will be observed and recorded and their metabolism analyzed. While studies like this have been done before, this is the first time the focus has been on women who have stalled in their weight loss on a low carb and high fat diet, Hallberg says. “Most of the other studies found it was overconsumption leading to the problem. We want to see what is happening for these women.”
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.
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.
Similarly, in a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists followed for years the diets and health of 22,043 adults in Greece. (12) Adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet was assessed by a 10–point scale that incorporated the key facets of the diet, including an abundance of plant food (fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals, nuts, and legumes), olive oil as the main source of fat, and low–to–moderate amounts of fish and poultry.
Additionally, they remarked that “concerns about adverse metabolic effects of the Atkins diet were not substantiated within the 12-month study period.”  They acknowledged that more research needs to be done on the long-term effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health especially on men. However, their study supports the idea that a low-carbohydrate diet can help you lower body mass and body fat better than higher-carbohydrate alternatives.
In the United States, the Mediterranean diet’s popularity continues to rise alongside a growing need for healthier eating patterns and lifestyles. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirms heart disease as the leading cause of death in America for men and women, due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity, diabetes, high levels of bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and more. In the 1970s, U.S. physiologist Ancel Keys first linked a Mediterranean-style diet and better cardiovascular health through his “Seven Countries Study,” but his theory would not catch on until several decades later. In the 1990s, non-profit Oldways Preservation Trust introduced the Mediterranean Diet pyramid (pictured below), offering Americans a different approach to healthy eating than the USDA food pyramid provided. Through solid research, increased support from experts, and continued education to the public, the Mediterranean diet is regarded today as a powerful weapon against rising rates of heart disease in the U.S.
The Mediterranean diet might help you lose weight. While some people fear that eating a diet like the Mediterranean diet that is relatively rich in fats (think olive oil, olives, avocado and some cheese) will keep them fat, more and more research is suggesting the opposite is true. Of course, it depends on which aspects you adopt and how it compares to your current diet. If, for instance, you build a "calorie deficit" into your plan – eating fewer calories than your daily recommended max or burning off extra by exercising – you should shed some pounds. How quickly and whether you keep them off is up to you.
So is the Mediterranean diet still healthy? Absolutely. While this one study may have been flawed, it doesn’t change the fact that fresh fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, fish and healthy fats like olive oil (along with the occasional glass of wine!) are all foods that are proven to be good for you on their own. Together, they comprise a diet that can be terrific for your health — study or no study.
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)
Olive oil joins foods containing omega-3 fats, like salmon and walnuts, for example, as an elite category of healthy fatty acids. Olive oil has a ton of research backing its health benefits — in fact, it’s so backed by research that the FDA even permits labels on olive oil bottles containing a specific health claim (to date this is only allowed on olive oil, omega-3 fats and walnuts). That claim?
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This meta-analysis also provides us with an explanation for why keto and low-carb diets have not always been found to confer better weight loss than low-fat diets. When protein and calories are controlled, changes in weight loss results remain relatively equal. This not only supports the theory that calorie deficits are the key to weight loss, but it also provides evidence against the hypothesis that carbs and insulin are the cause of obesity.