Then there’s what you won’t eat. Palinski-Wade gives your body a break from the worst waist-plumping culprits. That means you’ll skip sweeteners and processed starch, which set off blood-sugar spikes strongly linked to belly-fat storage. Trans fats and red meat are also out, since both can worsen a type of cellular inflammation and make belly-fat hormones go haywire.

Eating like a Mediterranean is as much lifestyle as it is diet. Instead of gobbling your meal in front of the TV, slow down and sit down at the table with your family and friends to savor what you’re eating. Not only will you enjoy your company and your food, eating slowly allows you to tune in to your body’s hunger and fullness signals. You’re more apt to eat just until you’re satisfied than until you’re busting-at-the-seams full.

Want even more inspiration? Sign up for our Fresh Fridays newsletter. Our bi-weekly e-newsletter delivered right to your inbox celebrates the Mediterranean Diet and its remarkable health benefits. Each issue includes delicious recipes that will remind you just how easy it is to enjoy beautiful, simple, economical, and easy-to-find Mediterranean foods. 
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Therefore, consuming a lot of olive oil (or any other fat) can easily lead to weight gain and obesity, which leads us straight to poor heart health. That’s because weight gain increases insulin resistance in many people and leads to a variety of metabolic changes that promote heart disease, including higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as higher levels of markers linked with chronic inflammation, like inflammatory cytokines.
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.

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Watch for carb creep: If you have been doing low-carb keto eating for a while, carbs can sneak back into your diet, particularly in the form of sauces, condiments, fruits, and nut snacks. If weight loss has stalled, closely examine what you are eating and cut back to under 20 g of carbs again. Nut snacks like cashews, almonds, and pistachios are easy to overeat and can contain enough carbs to contribute to a weight-loss stall. A cup of pistachios, for example, has 34 g of carbs. Avoid carb cycling or cheat meals, too, for now.
It is no secret that Southern Europeans who eat a more Mediterranean Diet, consisting of vegetables, fruits, lots of fish and plenty of olive oil, have a higher life expectancy with fewer diseases. An average, Italians and Spaniards consume about 13 liters of olive oil per person per year. While the entire diet does play a big role in how healthy people are, it seems the use of extra virgin olive oil is the major contributing factor to longevity and health.
"Growing up, I was always sick to my stomach and doctors couldn’t see anything wrong. After going keto, all those symptoms went away, until I have a cheat meal. For the first year, I didn’t have any cheats. Now, 95 percent of the time it’s keto, but if we go on vacation or have an anniversary, I’ll have a cheat meal. I usually don’t feel good after cheating and I remember why I don't like to do it."  

“Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.”
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.)
When the data were examined, it was clear that people who ate a diet where fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, and fish were the basis of daily meals were healthiest. Topping the chart were residents of Crete. Even after the deprivations of World War II – and in part, perhaps, because of them –  the cardiovascular health of Crete residents exceeded that of US residents. Researchers attributed the differences to diet.
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%.

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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