When we consider our genetics and the current food environment together, a fascinating story reveals itself. The human species evolved from millions of years of genes that were trying to survive an environment that they didn’t create. As a result, humans evolved the ability to create their own environment that allows them to fulfill their needs at any given moment with minimal effort.
Your individual fat adaptation period. Remember your body needs time to become fat-adapted and that time depends on your metabolism. For instance, if you’re coming off a Standard American Diet (SAD) and your adult body has never run on ketones before, your adaptation period might take a little longer. You’ll only experience the true weight loss effects of keto when your body is actually running on ketones.
Some patients constantly graze on "legal" keto foods that can stall fat loss. Intermittent fasting is the answer here: You naturally reduce your caloric intake and give your gut a break. By not eating, you're allowing inflammation to quiet down in your body, which helps with blood sugar balance and weight loss. As an example, some plans combine daily fasting with a ketogenic diet. Have a big dinner, close up the kitchen, and push breakfast as far back the next morning as you can. I talk more about this type of keto diet, which I call a Cyclitarian plan, here.
The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich eating plan that has been used for centuries to treat specific medical conditions. In the 19th century, the ketogenic diet was commonly used to help control diabetes. In 1920 it was introduced as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children in whom medication was ineffective. The ketogenic diet has also been tested and used in closely monitored settings for cancer, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Now, in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, scientists have found that seniors who adhered most closely to the Mediterranean diet were the least likely to be become frail over a four-year study period. Recently, in the Journal of Urology, researchers also found that men who followed a diet rich in fish, produce and olive oil—and low in juice—had a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer than those who followed low-fat or typical Western diets.
Olive oil contains biophenols, which suppress the oxidization of LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) which has been shown to play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. High levels of LDL in the blood amplify oxidative stress which hardens the arterial walls (called atherosclerosis). The biophenols in olives reduce blood pressure, therefore reducing the development of arterial plaque as well.
There’s no one book or website to follow if you want to learn about the Mediterranean diet, and there’s no one way to structure a meal plan around it. But in general, says Weems, the Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and lean sources of animal protein. It’s low in red meat and other saturated fats, and it contains few processed foods or refined sugars.
Flynn says the key to the success of the olive oil diet is to cook your vegetables in olive oil. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that carotenoids – the powerful antioxidants that give orange, yellow and red veg their colour and are also found in abundance in leafy greens – need fat to be absorbed. She also believes the nutrients in cruciferous veg such as broccoli and cabbage are better absorbed with oil, but that’s still yet to be conclusively proven.