The traditional Mediterranean diet is based on typical eating habits from the early 1960's in some Mediterranean areas, including parts of Greece and Southern Italy. During that time, the rates of coronary heart disease were among the lowest in the world and the life expectancy rates were among the highest. These trends were attributed to the eating habits in the regions. More recently, in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Mediterranean diet was shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and death related to heart problems by 30%.
Research supports the health benefits of a Mediterranean-style eating pattern that includes several different foods. It is the combination of these foods that appear protective against disease, as the benefit is not as strong when looking at single foods or nutrients included in the Mediterranean diet.  Therefore it is important to not simply add olive oil or nuts to one’s current diet but to adopt the plan in its entirety.
Constipation is a common side effect of low-carb eating plans, including the ketogenic diet. Severely curbing your carb intake means saying goodbye to high-fiber foods like whole grains, beans, and a large proportion of fruits and vegetables, says Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, Seattle-based nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
It’s estimated that over 50% of people are deficient in Vitamin D worldwide[*]. Although Vitamin D doesn’t play a major role in whether or not you are in ketosis, it is responsible for regulating immunity, inflammation, hormones and helping with electrolyte absorption[*][*] — all factors important for weight loss and overall health. Additionally, studies support the direct benefits of vitamin D for weight loss[*][*][*]. You can check your Vitamin D levels with a simple blood test and then supplement accordingly. When supplementing, choose Vitamin D3 as it is the form that’s best absorbed by your body[*][*].
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.
The group who ate yogurt with the extract had increased blood flow in brain areas typically associated with fat consumption—even though the overall fat content of the snack was low. That's all thanks to the scent of olive oil, which might help you feel full, according to the researchers. (This isn't the first time studies have shown that olive oil can increase feelings of satiety and fullness.)
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”.
Just remember that all olive oil is not created equally. Unfortunately, most commercial manufacturers that are trying to ride the health hype on olive oil have rushed to the market with all kinds of fake olive oils, which are imitations and inferior products. The problem is these oils aren’t always harvested or processed properly, which can kill many of their delicate nutrients and turn some of their fatty acids rancid or toxic.
But much has changed on Crete – and throughout the Mediterranean – since then. Today, the people of Crete still eat a lot of olive oil, but their intake of whole, natural foods has gone way down, as has their physical activity. The island’s new staples are meat, cheese, TV, and the Internet. Today, more than 60% of Crete’s adult population – and an alarming 50% of its children – are overweight.
“The general body of research says that once you have two or more tablespoons a day, you’ll improve your blood pressure, your glucose levels and your good cholesterol,” Flynn says. “But I’ve found that the weight-loss effect comes into play at three tablespoons, so that’s what I recommend. It’s an amazing food – it does all these things that help your body, plus it tastes good.”