Dr. Hallberg notes that it is easy to over-consume fat in liquids, especially full fat whipping cream. “Someone will come in and say they are in a weight loss plateau. We will look at their diet and see they are consuming six coffees, with two tablespoons of whipping cream in each one.” Cutting back on the whipping cream can get them out of a stall.
To put it another way, the ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to “hack” our brain and food environment so that we naturally eat fewer calories and lose weight. What is even more interesting is that this isn’t the only reason why many people find weight loss success with keto. By restricting carbs, we also unlock the weight loss boosting benefits of ketones.
Your body composition. Do you have a lot of fat to lose? How much muscle do you have? The people who have the most to lose will tend to shred the fat at a much faster rate than those who have a few extra pounds to burn off. This phenomenon is mostly explained by the fact that obese individuals can easily maintain a much larger calorie deficit, which will result in faster weight loss. Muscle mass also plays a vital role in weight loss because it helps keep your metabolic rate from dropping significantly as you lose weight. This can help stabilize your weight loss rate and may even prevent a dreaded weight loss plateau.
A randomized control study in 2017 examined the effects of a ketogenic diet combined with Crossfit training on body composition and performance. Results from this study concluded that subjects following a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (LCKD) significantly decreased body weight, body fat percentage and fat mass compared to those in the control group[*].
According to the US FDA, having two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily may reduce the risk of heart disease, due to its monounsaturated fat content. Some of the antioxidants present in extra virgin olive oil like oleocanthal and oleuropein are known for their anti-inflammatory action and help in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol which can be a risk factor for heart disease.
At this point, you probably already know that the Mediterranean diet is good for your health. Research proves over and over again that people who put an emphasis on produce, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats not only weigh less, but also have a decreased risk for heart disease, depression, and dementia. So what are you waiting for? Here are the basics: Shop the market perimeter, eat seasonally, and break (whole-grain) bread with people who make you smile. Now for the nitty-gritty.
Wow! You look great. I am in. Always worked out, always ate what I thought was cleanly. 2 years ago I began eating primally and was in awesome shape but let the stresses of the wine biz add it back on. A piece of bread (or 3!!!) here and there, etc. In just two days, I’ve lost 3 lbs. I work out 4 days a week (2 day split x 2, all free weights) and HIIT 2 x a week (usually one day on its own and then on chest/back/tri day). No fears of bulking up (I’m female).
The most important part of the ketogenic diet is consistency. Approach this diet (or any other diet that you try) with the mindset that you will make it into a long-term sustainable lifestyle. When you hit a plateau, don’t give up — we all hit plateaus eventually. Take it as an opportunity to recalculate your calorie needs, adjust your goals, and implement new strategies.
It is important to note that while you’re in this first phase, you’ll want to make sure to drink extra water to prevent yourself from becoming dehydrated. Additionally, you may also notice flu-like symptoms — nausea, vomiting, tiredness, and maybe even some irritability. This is what people call the keto flu and could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Don’t fret. This is simply a sign that your body is getting adjusted to a new fuel source i.e. transitioning to fat-burning mode.
Fat isn’t unlimited either. As with wine, it's possible to get too much of a good thing when it comes to healthy fats. The American Heart Association points out that while the Mediterranean diet meets heart-healthy diet limits for saturated fat, your total fat consumption could be greater than the daily recommended amount if you aren't careful. That’s 65 g per day. (32)
From this foundation, Flynn’s plant-based olive oil (PBOO) diet was born. She determined its components based on validated research examining food and chronic diseases. The cornerstone foods of the diet are extra virgin olive oil, vegetables (with particular emphasis on those with deep color and those from the cruciferous family), and starches/grains (ideally those that are whole), with minimal animal protein. Flynn was initially curious as to whether or not her diet would aid in weight loss. She hypothesized that as long as calories were controlled (~1500 calories per day for women, ~1800-2000 calorie per day for men), having healthy fats at every meal, in the form of nuts at breakfast and extra virgin olive oil at lunch and dinner, along with vegetable-heavy lunches and dinners, would help individuals feel more satiated and help them lose weight. Overall, those who follow her diet eat four to five servings of fat daily, most of which is extra virgin olive oil.
MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) are a particular type of beneficial fat that requires minimal action from the liver to convert directly into fuel in the form of ketones. Ketones are one of the brain’s two primary fuel sources, and also a vital source of ATP energy for the body. ATP energy is what allows every muscle to move inside your body. You may have heard people discussing the ketogenic diet, which is a diet designed to help the body run on ketones (from fats) rather than glycogen (from carbohydrates). This state is called ketosis. For anyone on a ketogenic or low carb diet, MCT oil is pure gold. But you don’t need to go full ‘keto’ to benefit from ketones.
The results in body fat percentage lost was even more striking. The average body mass percentage decreased by 2.9% in the Atkins diet group. In contrast, it decreased by 1.5% in the Ornish diet group, by 1.3% in the Zone diet group, and 1.0% in the LEARN diet group.  This means that subjects in the Atkins diets decreased their average body fat percentage at least twice of any other group- including those eating the low-fat, high carbohydrate Ornish diet.
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 diet primarily consists of foods and ingredients that are very close to nature, including olive oil, legumes like peas and beans, fruits, vegetables, unrefined cereal products, and small portions of animal products (that are always “organic” and locally produced). In contrast to the typical American diet, it’s very low in sugar and practically free of all GMOs or artificial ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and flavor enhancers. For something sweet, people in the Mediterranean enjoy fruit or small quantities of homemade desserts made with natural sweeteners like honey.
It requires a pit stop in the liver rather than getting immediately converted into energy like the other MCTs above. This is why it is more accurately described as an LCT, not an MCT like marketers claim. It raises cholesterol more than any other fatty acid (not necessarily a bad thing.) It is also commonly cited as having antimicrobial benefits, which it does…except the shorter chain MCTs are more effective against aggressive candida yeast and even gonorrhea and chlamydia (as a monoglyceride).
Set realistic expectations: Both Dr. Hallberg and Jackie Eberstein note this tip is particularly important for women, of all ages. Some women are aiming for an arbitrary number on a scale, perhaps from a long time ago or an idealized weight they have never achieved — a number that has no real bearing or relationship to their actual health and wellness.
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).
It’s low in saturated fat. You’re not going to feel hungry eating this way, because you can build in a variety of healthy fats. But by limiting large amounts of red or processed meats and relying heavily on monounsaturated fatty acids, like avocado, nuts, or olive oil, you’ll keep saturated fat levels low. These fats don't lead to high cholesterol the same way saturated fats do. Healthful sources of fat include olive oil, fish oils, and nut-based oils, Cohen explains.
Experiment with “real” whole grains that are still in their “whole” form and haven’t been refined. Quinoa cooks up in just 20 minutes, making it a great side dish for weeknight meals. Barley is full of fiber and it’s filling: pair it with mushrooms for a steamy, satisfying soup. A hot bowl of oatmeal is perfect for breakfast on a cold winter morning. Even popcorn is a whole grain—just keep it healthy by eating air-popped corn and forgo the butter (try a drizzle of olive oil instead). Supplement your intake with other whole-grain products, like whole-wheat bread and pasta. Look for the term “whole” or “whole grain” on the food package and in the ingredient list—it should be listed as the first ingredient. But if you still find it too hard to make the switch from your old refined favorites, phase in a whole grain by using whole-grain blends of pastas and rice or mixing whole grains half-and-half with a refined one (like half whole-wheat pasta and half white).
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
A 2010 study in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism assigned 259 overweight diabetics to one of three diets: a low-carb Mediterranean diet, a traditional Mediterranean diet or a diet based on recommendations from the American Diabetes Association. All groups were told to exercise 30 to 45 minutes at least three times per week. After a year, all groups lost weight; the traditional group lost an average of about 16 pounds while the ADA group dropped 17 pounds and the low-carb group lost 22 pounds.
MCTs, including coconut oil, are burned by the body for energy, or “fuel,” instead of being stored as fat. Studies in both men and women have been conducted using MCTs and have shown that MCTs increase energy expenditure and raise the metabolic rate. As part of a healthy diet, MCT oil can also help you feel full for longer periods of time—who doesn’t want that?
The ketogenic diet has been shown to produce beneficial metabolic changes in the short-term. Along with weight loss, health parameters associated with carrying excess weight have improved, such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. [2,7] There is also growing interest in the use of low-carbohydrate diets, including the ketogenic diet, for type 2 diabetes. Several theories exist as to why the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss, though they have not been consistently shown in research: [2,8,9]
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.
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.)