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Τhe number one concern I get when I present or suggest using plenty of olive oil in the recipes I post here, is worrying about the calories and fat. Too much fat and you will gain weight, right? Well, no not exactly. As I have explained, when you have one of the many vegetable based Greek dishes which are made with vegetables and olive oil, the percentage of fat will be somewhat high because the calories from the vegetables is so low, but overall the calories balance out. As Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou, M.D., Ph.D., top Mediterranean diet researcher and one of the developers of the Oldways Mediterranean Pyramid, has said “Certainly olive oil has many calories, but a diet can be followed that can include oil while staying within normal limits calorie wise”.
Weight loss caused by low-carb diets isn’t just because of a loss of “water weight”. In research studies that measured change in body fat, subjects eating low-carb diets had a greater loss in body fat than those eating low-fat diets. Additionally, keto diets lead to a greater reduction in waist circumference, a critical indicator of harmful stomach fat.
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.
While most people in the Mediterranean aren’t vegetarians, the diet promotes only a small consumption on meats and heavier meals — instead going for the lighter and healthier fish options across the board. This can be beneficial for those looking to lose weight and improve things such as their cholesterol, heart health and omega-3 fatty acid intake.

There's a lot of confusion around the best cooking oils that you should use for your health. The supermarket shelves are stuffed with a huge variety of different kind of oils and within those too there different types. You have virgin oils, extra-virgin oils, cold-pressed oils and even blended oils! The word extra-virgin refers to 'fine grade' oil. There are different varieties of olive oil that are set apart not by the type of olive that is used, but the process used to extract the oil. Extra virgin olive oil is obtained by crushing olives and extracting the fresh juice. It is unrefined and the highest-quality olive oil you can buy. Because of the way extra-virgin olive oil is made, it retains the true flavour of olives, and has a lower level of oleic acid than the other varieties. It has a higher concentration of natural vitamins and minerals found in olives. According to Consultant Nutritionist, Dr. Rupali Dutta, "Extra virgin olive oil is the first oil that comes out of cold pressing the olives. It has been subjected to zero processing, and has no additives which makes it bright green in colour and has a strong olive flavor. It also contains only 1% of Oleic Acid and is able to retain all its antioxidants. Regular olive oil, on the other hand, is commercially produced and processed just like any other oil. It contains at least 3-4% of Oleic Acid."Ms. Ritika Sammadar, Consultant Nutritionist at Max Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, agrees, “Extra Virgin Oil is the clearest form of oil and is extremely healthy as it is rich in Vitamin B. There is no heat applied during its extraction nor are are any chemicals used in the process, thus the oil is pure and unrefined. The oil usually has a pungent smell because it is crude and pure.”
These findings fall in line with another meta-analysis on 13 randomized controlled trials that compared low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets. The researchers found that, after six months, subjects who consumed less than 60 grams of carbohydrates per day had an average weight loss that was 8.8 pounds greater than the subjects on low-fat diets. At one year, the difference had fallen to 2.3 lb (which is consistent with what was found in the meta-analysis conducted by the Brazilian researchers).

Once fat adapted, cut back on extra fat: One of the great joys of low-carb keto eating is adding back fat into our bodies after denying them fat for so long. But a keto diet is not carte blanche to gorge yourself on fat, the experts note. If you want to lose weight, you have to burn your own fat stores for energy, not consume all the energy you need by eating fat. So stop the bulletproof coffee and fat bombs for now.

Dr. Vincent M. Pedre, medical director of Pedre Integrative Health and president of Dr. Pedre Wellness, is a board-certified internist in private practice in New York City since 2004. His philosophy and practices are a blend of both Western and Eastern medical traditions. He is a clinical instructor in medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is certified in yoga and medical acupuncture. His unique methodology is best described as integrative or defined by a functional, systems-based approach to health. With his holistic understanding of both sides of the equation, he can help each patient choose the best course of action for their ailments to provide both immediate and long-term relief. His holistic approach incorporates positive, preventive health and wellness lifestyle choices. Dr. Pedre Wellness is a growing wellness platform offering health-enhancing programs along with informative social media and lifestyle products, such as dietary supplements, books, and weight-loss programs.

For example, the large Greek EPIC study investigated which components of the Mediterranean diet were most beneficial and found that monounsaturated fats like olive oil were not stars. (11) Following 23,349 people for 8.5 years, the scientists demonstrated that only 11% of the benefit from a Mediterranean diet came from a high ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fats, and all of the monounsaturated fats were not olive oil.  The biggest health benefits came from high vegetable intake, low meat intake, and moderate alcohol consumption.

Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvadó J, Covas MI, Corella D, Arós F, Gómez-Gracia E, Ruiz-Gutiérrez V, Fiol M, Lapetra J, Lamuela-Raventos RM. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts. New England Journal of Medicine. 2018 Jun 13. [Note: reference updated in June 2018 due to retraction and republication]


Flynn proved the success of a diet that’s high in healthy fats in 2010 with a study of 44 women over 50 who’d become overweight during breast cancer treatment. Each woman trialled two eight-week diets: Flynn’s olive oil-based diet and a low-fat food plan as recommended by the US National Cancer Institute. Both diets were made up of 1500 calories a day.
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