It has a belly-melting X factor. Olive oil is what scientists call a monounsaturated fat (MUFA). And while the mechanism that makes MUFAs melt ab fat isn’t yet fully understood, one thing is for sure: MUFAs lower levels of insulin, a hormone programmed to turn excess blood sugar to belly fat. No wonder studies show that when we choose mostly MUFAs, our bellies shrink up to 350 percent faster than when we choose other fats or no fat at all. Says Palinski-Wade: “This actually works better than really crazy diets.”
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.
Concentrated MCT oils are often derived from “a blend of coconut and palm oils.” I personally always look for MCT oils sourced only from coconut oil or sustainable and rainforest friendly palm oil because the palm oil industry is responsible for the deforestation for large parts of the rainforest. Thousands of acres of rainforest are being destroyed to make room for palm production. This has also driven many animals out of their natural habitats and greatly threatens species like the orangutan and Sumatran tiger, which are both in danger of extinction.
Olive oil cuts hunger. You won’t burn belly fat (or any fat, for that matter) unless you first take in fewer calories than your body needs to fuel itself. “And you won’t stick with a low-cal approach if you’re constantly hungry,” says Palinksi-Wade. That’s why using olive oil to reduce belly fat and lose weight is a no-brainer. “You often hear that protein or fiber help control hunger, but I find olive oil is equally if not more powerful.” Explanation: Olive oil is made up of 75 percent oleic acid, a substance shown to help us feel content for hours longer between meals. For this reason, Palinski-Wade actually includes more olive oil on the lowest-calorie version of her plan. “Olive oil is extremely filling.”
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The Mediterranean diet might help you lose weight. While some people fear that eating a diet like the Mediterranean diet that is relatively rich in fats (think olive oil, olives, avocado and some cheese) will keep them fat, more and more research is suggesting the opposite is true. Of course, it depends on which aspects you adopt and how it compares to your current diet. If, for instance, you build a "calorie deficit" into your plan – eating fewer calories than your daily recommended max or burning off extra by exercising – you should shed some pounds. How quickly and whether you keep them off is up to you.
Bottom Line: Research has shown in both humans and other primates that diets high in fat and cholesterol promote atherosclerosis. By contrast, research in animals and humans, such as the Stanford Coronary Risk Intervention Project, have demonstrated that diets very low in total fat and cholesterol can not only prevent atherosclerosis but actually shrink plaque and reverse atherosclerosis.
MCT oil powder is a unique form of dietary fat rapidly absorbed by the body and has a wide range of health benefits. Supplementation with MCT powder can help combat fatigue, suppress appetite[*], enhance thermogenesis (aka ‘fat burning’)[*] and help your body adapt to using ketones for fuel. A recent scientific review showed that MCTs can effectively decrease body weight, total body fat, hip circumference, waist circumference, total subcutaneous fat and visceral fat[*]. Check out this articlefor more information on how to supplement with MCTs.
On Cyclical keto, I noticed these weird bouts of depression every time I carbed up on the weekends. I saw this study and they were linking inflammation to depression and it makes sense because every time I knock myself out of ketosis, I deal with this weird depression, then a few days back into keto, my head feels more clear. Strict keto is where I feel the best. This is where I’m getting the best results. I keep my fat percentage higher, around 80 percent."
Keep moving — In addition to ketosis, the best thing you can do for your weight-loss journey and your overall health is to get moving! It’s extremely easy to wake up, go to work, sit at a desk all day, come home, and then sit on the couch for the rest of the evening. But when you do this, you aren’t burning calories like you should if you want to lose weight. For best results, take up a combination of resistance training and cardio. Building muscle will give your metabolism a boost since muscle in your body burns more calories than fat, and cardio will further help you burn calories. And even if you don’t want to go to the gym or get outside for a run, try to get in a 30-minute walk 3-4 times per week. A 30-minute walk at a brisk pace can help you burn about 150 calories. Plus, working out will boost your mood and help you stay motivated on your health journey.
More Sustained Energy: 90-120 minutes after you eat carbohydrates, your body doesn’t have readily available energy produced from the mitochondria in your cells, so you start “crashing” or lowering your energy. When you are in ketosis, your body can run off your body fat, which is an essentially limitless source of fuel. This prevents any type of crash.
Most fundamentally, olive oil, like all oils and fats, are a concentrated source of calories. With over 4,000 calories per pound, olive oil is far more calorie dense than even pure refined sugar, which has 1,725 calories per pound. Because of its extremely high calorie density, adding olive oil to any food or meal will dramatically increase its calorie density.
Interestingly, a few years ago the American Heart Association lowered the recommended intake of saturated fat to no more than 7% of total calories eaten each day. Olive oil is 14% saturated fat. (The average American consumes a diet with about 14% saturated fat.) So if you’re using a lot of olive oil on your food, it’d be hard to have a diet that’s less than 14% saturated fat, which means your arteries are being subjected to double the saturated-fat-limit that the AHA recommends.
A 2013 study conducted by the German Research Center for Food Chemistry indicates that even just smelling EVOO may lead to greater feelings of fullness: when the scent was added to foods via an aromatic extract, it lowered the number of calories consumed by study participants, and improved blood sugar response. Additionally, compared to other oils and fats, when EVOO was added to yogurt, the group that had eaten the yogurt enriched with olive oil showed the largest increases in blood levels of serotonin, a hormone associated with satiety.
There’s room for interpretation in the Mediterranean diet, whether you prefer to eat lower carb, lower protein or somewhere in between. The diet focuses on consumption of healthy fats while keeping carbohydrates relatively low and improving a person’s intake of high-quality protein foods. If you refer protein over legumes and grains, you have the option to lose weight in a healthy, no-deprivation-kind-of-way with a high amount of seafood and quality dairy products (that simultaneously provide other benefits like omega-3s and often probiotics).
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
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.”