Picking through the data, the researchers found that the extra olive oil group did slightly better than the extra nut group, but both were clearly superior to low fat diets. The research was also much more reliable than many diet studies because it was a randomised control trial that looked at a large group of people over a long period of time, rather than just monitoring people on one diet for a few days or weeks.
Maybe you don’t want to choose olive oil over, say, butter or marbled steak for the rest of your life. Not to worry. “You don’t have to give up favorite foods forever,” Palinski-Wade promises. “As you use my plan and lose weight, your body chemistry shifts. You’ll be able to indulge from time to time without adding belly fat.” And if you’re looking to get a smaller waist as quickly as possible, “You won’t find a better jumpstart. This is perfect for the impatient dieter.”

MCTs get their name because of the length of their chemical structure. All types of fatty acids are made up of strings of connected carbon and hydrogen. Fats are categorized by how many carbons they have: short-chain fats (like butyric acid) have fewer than six carbons, medium-chain fats have between six to 12 carbons and long-chain fats (like omega-3s) have between 13–21.
“Net carbs” and “impact carbs” are familiar phrases in ketogenic diets as well as diabetic diets. They are unregulated interchangeable terms invented by food manufacturers as a marketing strategy, appearing on some food labels to claim that the product contains less “usable” carbohydrate than is listed. [6] Net carbs or impact carbs are the amount of carbohydrate that are directly absorbed by the body and contribute calories. They are calculated by subtracting the amount of indigestible carbohydrates from the total carbohydrate amount. Indigestible (unabsorbed) carbohydrates include insoluble fibers from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; and sugar alcohols, such as mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol commonly used in sugar-free diabetic food products. However, these calculations are not an exact or reliable science because the effect of sugar alcohols on absorption and blood sugar can vary. Some sugar alcohols may still contribute calories and raise blood sugar. The total calorie level also does not change despite the amount of net carbs, which is an important factor with weight loss. There is debate even within the ketogenic diet community about the value of using net carbs.
While many of these studies have been observational, and therefore could not establish cause-and-effect relationships, experts say it’s not surprising that the diet’s emphasis on whole, plant-based foods could deliver these results. “It focuses on foods that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and we know that’s important for the prevention of disease,” says Weinandy.
As evidence continues to mount affirming that inflammatory substances in the blood promote plaque growth, plaque rupture, and clot formation, all of which likely increase the risk of heart attacks, “we’ve got to start asking ourselves: ‘Is any fat, even so-called good fats, beneficial in terms of preventing heart attacks and strokes?'” says Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center.
Eating fat has virtually no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, but too much protein can actually drive up insulin levels in the blood and interfere with the process of burning fatty acids in the body. It’s critical to get the right balance of fats and protein in order to promote ketosis and weight loss. See my post about the Top 10 mistakes people make on their ketogenic diet plan.
But your heart health might depend on what you actually eat. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that low-carb diets based mostly on plant sources of fat and protein (like avocados or nuts) can lower heart disease risk by 30 percent. But those benefits didn’t hold for people who ate mostly animal-based proteins and fats. (Think: bacon, butter, and steak.)
When asked about the impact of importation of adulterated olive oils on her work, Flynn said that it was a “huge concern.” She realized that the ubiquity of poor-quality olive oils likely explains why she did not always get consistent results with her patients. She feels that “a people’s revolution” is needed to have an impact on the corruption issues in the olive oil world and aims to improve others’ knowledge and awareness of the adulteration problem by spreading the word.
This was an awesome read, man! Convinced me to go Keto again, as I’ve had great results in the past. I workout 3-4x a week heavy lifting (powerlifter), but my weight has gotten too high for me. 5’8″ 21y/o Male, 223 pounds, but a lot of muscle mass. I’m ready to transition my focus to fat loss, mostly for health and body composition reasons, and the fact that diabetes run in my family and most my relatives have it!! I refuse to be apart of that! So thank you for this awesome read and inspiring article. Awesome job on your progress!!
From a health and dietary perspective, the popularity of the ketogenic diet has arrived because, at its root, the body is burning fat for energy. As the body becomes efficient in this method of energy extraction, you can reduce the amount of fat you consume and the body will start to use stored fat as well as the fat you consume to facilitate ketosis.

"Listening to podcasts while I run has completely changed my fitness routine. I thought I hated running, but what I hated was pop music. Keeping my mind engaged has helped me push passed physical barriers. Podcasts about keto, fitness, and nutrition is motivating to me to learn about my body while I’m actively working it. My favorite podcasts are Keto for Normies, The Keto Savage podcast, Seth Godin's podcast and Hiding in the Bathroom."
To maintain ketosis (where you burn fat rather than sugar for energy), you need to keep your carb intake to around 20 to 50 grams daily. Some of my patients have to go to the lower end to get those results. That doesn't mean you can't incorporate some carbs: You can fit plenty of green vegetables and low-sugar fruits like berries and avocado into even a 20-gram carb allotment.

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.
Due to the high-quality design and data of the study, it was published in the Journal of American Medicine, one of the most prestigious research journals in the world. The research team stated that “in this study of overweight and obese premenopausal women, those assigned to follow the Atkins diet had more weight loss and more favorable outcomes for metabolic effects at 1 year than women assigned to the Zone, Ornish, or LEARN diets.” [16]

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.

My dad was diabetic even though he was a competitive cyclist and ate "healthy". I grew up in a Weight Watchers household where everything was sugar-free and fat-free. Back then, if you had diabetes, you switched your white bread, rice, and pasta to whole wheat and you were fine. My dad died of pancreatic cancer when I was 19 years old. They say there’s no cause for this cancer, but I think the stress from his diabetes on his pancreas had a lot to do with it.
You can approach keto in a number of different ways. On some keto diets, like dirty keto, it doesn’t matter where your fats, protein, and carbs come from. So dinner could be a bunless cheeseburger with extra bacon. Eating bad fats like low-quality vegetable oils, packaged low-carb snacks, and processed cheese dials up inflammation, making weight loss more challenging.[8]
Cunnane, S. C., Courchesne-Loyer, A., St-Pierre, V., Vandenberghe, C., Pierotti, T., Fortier, M., … & Castellano, C.-A. (2016, March). Can ketones compensate for deteriorating brain glucose uptake during aging? Implications for the risk and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1367, 12–20. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.12999/full
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.
A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials following overweight and obese participants for 1-2 years on either low-fat diets or very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets found that the ketogenic diet produced a small but significantly greater reduction in weight, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and a greater increase in HDL and LDL cholesterol compared with the low-fat diet at one year. [10] The authors acknowledged the small weight loss difference between the two diets of about 2 pounds, and that compliance to the ketogenic diet declined over time, which may have explained the more significant difference at one year but not at two years (the authors did not provide additional data on this).
• Other research suggests MCTs help with weight loss by reducing your appetite. As reported by Mental Health Daily:12 "Some scientists speculate that MCT acts on various hormones such as: cholecystokinin, gastric inhibitory peptide, pancreatic polypeptide, peptide YY and neurotensin. The precise mechanism of action of MCTs remains unknown, but it is known to induce satiety and reduced appetite compared to [LCTs]."

For the sake of science and my book I was trying to emulate the diets of Cretan fishermen from the 1960s, who reportedly had a glass of olive oil for breakfast before a hard day of fishing or goat herding. These high intakes of oil had been suggested as a cause of their remarkable longevity, despite the large amounts of saturated fat they consumed as a result.


Elena Paravantes, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Writer and consultant specializing in the Mediterranean Diet and Cuisine. She has been active as a clinician, consultant and lecturer for 20 years, both in the U.S. and Greece. An expert on the Greek Mediterranean Diet, her interviews and articles have been published in many publications including CNN, U.S. News and World Report, Prevention, NPR, and Shape. Elena has collaborated with a number of organizations including Loyola University, Yale University, University of Missouri, Louisiana State University, and the American College of Greece.

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.
If you've been cooking with vegetable oil or coconut oil, make the switch to extra-virgin olive oil. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which may improve HDL cholesterol, the "good" type of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol ferries "bad" LDL particles out of arteries, according to a 2017 study in Circulation. Use olive oil in homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Drizzle it on finished dishes like fish or chicken to boost flavor. Swap butter for olive oil in mashed potatoes, pasta, and more.
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.
“However, it may be time to question the wisdom of promoting diets with 20 to 35% fat or more for people with cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes. Diets this high in fat appear to greatly increase both acute and chronic low–grade inflammation in the body. Increasingly, inflammation is being linked to not only more cardiovascular disease but also insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.”
That doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry on a diet. It’s quite the opposite! You’re not starving yourself of calories but of carbohydrates. Your body won’t go into what’s known as starvation mode, which is where your metabolic rate drops considerably. You’re adding more fat to the diet and taking out the carbs, so the metabolism can still work, and you get the energy you need.
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Remove artificial sweeteners: If you have been including artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose in your low-carb or keto diet, our experts recommend you wean yourself off them. “While there are not a whole lot of scientific studies, anecdotally we find when people get rid of artificial sweeetners, they were able to lose weight. Come off them as soon as you can,” advises Dr. Westman.
Weight loss in obese or overweight individuals. Research shows that taking MCTs can decrease body weight, body fat, and waist and hip circumference by a small amount. At least 4 weeks of use is likely needed to see any benefit. Men, people of Asian descent, and people with the highest amount of body fat before treatment seem to benefit the most. However, for most people any benefit is only slight and might not be clinically meaningful.
Reduced hunger. Many people experience a marked reduction in hunger on a keto diet. This may be caused by an increased ability of the body to be fueled by its fat stores. Many people feel great when they eat just once or twice a day, and may automatically end up doing a form of intermittent fasting. This saves time and money, while also speeding up weight loss.

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)


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
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Start by grating your cauliflower, so it looks like cauliflower rice. Put it all in a bowl and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. This helps to pack everything together to make your bread slices. Make the cauliflower into patties and then pop onto a baking tray. Just put in the oven on a medium heat for around 15 minutes. They’ll be ready to go!
The fatty acids termed MCTs and lauric acid act somewhat differently in the body, although in the U.S., coconut oil and MCT oil manufacturers are legally allowed to claim that lauric acid is a type of MCT. Some people claim that lauric acid doesn’t biologically act like other forms of shorter MCTs (or at least as quickly), which is one reason why MCT advocates believe that MCT oil is somewhat superior.
And monounsaturated fat isn't the only thing olive oil has going for it nutritionally. Some olive oils come with phytonutrients that may offer their own disease protection benefits (still, it's not clear whether most of us can take in enough of these phytonutrients without going overboard on olive oil, says Joyce Nettleton, DSc, RD, researcher and editor of the PUFA Newsletter).
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