If you're doing everything else right but missing these elements, you'll stall your progress. Getting subpar sleep, not moving enough, and environmental toxins are among the factors that can stall weight loss even when you're vigilantly following a keto diet. What you eat matters, but how you live also dramatically affects weight loss. For many patients, dialing up sleep, reducing environmental and psychological stressors, and incorporating high-intensity burst training can be big needle movers to overcome plateaus.
Research has consistently shown that the Mediterranean diet is effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and overall mortality. [3, 4]  A study of nearly 26,000 women found that those who followed this type of diet had 25% less risk of developing cardiovascular disease over the course of 12 years. [5] The study examined a range of underlying mechanisms that might account for this reduction, and found that changes in inflammation, blood sugar, and body mass index were the biggest drivers.
But your heart health might depend on what you actually eat. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that low-carb diets based mostly on plant sources of fat and protein (like avocados or nuts) can lower heart disease risk by 30 percent. But those benefits didn’t hold for people who ate mostly animal-based proteins and fats. (Think: bacon, butter, and steak.)
Your brain is largely made up of fatty acids, so you need a steady supply from your diet to feel your best, think clearly, perform well at work and stay sharp well into older age. Medium-chain fats are believed to be one of the most easily digested, utilized and protective fatty acids that exists. According to leading Neurologist Dr. Perlmutter, you can boost the availability of ketones for your brain by simply adding coconut oil or MCT oil to your daily regimen. But to make this effective, carb restriction is a must! “MCT oil not only feeds your brain cells, but also improves your gut health—which is largely connected to cognitive functioning thanks to the “gut-brain connection.”
Consume more beef and high-fat dairy. These keto foods contain high amounts of a fatty acid called Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). CLA has been found to improve fat loss by a variety of different mechanisms. To get as much CLA as possible, source your dairy and beef from 100% grass-fed cows. CLA content is 300-500% higher in beef and dairy from grass-fed cows, compared to grain-fed cows.
There has also been increased interest in the diet’s effects on aging and cognitive function. [9-11] Cell damage through stress and inflammation that can lead to age-related diseases has been linked to a specific part of DNA called telomeres. These structures naturally shorten with age, and their length size can predict life expectancy and the risk of developing age-related diseases. Telomeres with long lengths are considered protective against chronic diseases and earlier death, whereas short lengths increase risk. Antioxidants can help combat cell stress and preserve telomere length, such as by eating foods that contain antioxidants nutrients like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. These foods are found in healthy eating patterns like the Mediterranean diet. [12] This was demonstrated in a large cohort of 4676 healthy middle-aged women from the Nurses’ Health Study where participants who more closely followed the Mediterranean diet were found to have longer telomere length. [12]
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The Mediterranean diet has long been one of the healthiest diets known to man. The history and tradition of the Mediterranean diet come from the historic eating and social patterns of the regions around southern Italy, Greece, Turkey and Spain. Therefore the Mediterranean diet is really not even a “diet” in the way we usually think of them, more like a life-long way of eating and living. For thousands of years people living along the Mediterranean coast have indulged in a high-fiber diet of fruits and vegetables, also including quality fats and proteins in moderation, and sometimes a glass of locally made wine to complete a meal, too.
Over the last few months, we have interviewed five people who have used the keto diet to each lose over 100 pounds. They shared with us the different kinds of life changing habits they developed along their keto journeys - the habits that kept the weight off. How do they deal with cravings? What was the hardest part? When did they decide to make a change? What do they eat every day? Listen to the interviews over at the Keto For Normies Podcast or stay and read them here! 
Current weight — In order to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit which means you need to burn more calories than you consume. That being said, your current weight is the number one determining factor for how fast you’ll be able to lose weight. This is because the heavier you are, the higher your metabolic rate is (your ability to burn calories in a given day). So, individuals with more weight to lose typically lose weight faster and more easily in the initial stages than those who don’t weigh as much.

In the Mediterranean, many people start their day with a quarter cup of olive oil. The oleic acid in olive oil has a satiating effect. As mentioned above, it also slows the absorption of other nutrients, so you’ll feel full longer and won’t need to reach for that mid-morning sugary snack. While the calories in olive oil may be high, the overall consumption of calories throughout the day will drop when you’re just not that hungry.

These two meta-analyses (and the other research you’ll find in this article on keto & weight loss) provide us with a look at the real world significance of low-fat and low-carb diets. When you put people on a low-carb ketogenic type diet, they tend to lose more weight than people who are on a low-fat diet. The ketogenic diet also provides us with clear rules to follow, which makes it is easier for us to keep ourselves from overeating.
Good fats in olive oil, nuts, and fish are beneficial for our health, and science is continually proving this to be the case. Recent studies have shown that consuming a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil leads to lower rates of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. And now there is evidence that the healthy fats in olive oil is linked to weight loss.
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.
A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials following overweight and obese participants for 1-2 years on either low-fat diets or very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets found that the ketogenic diet produced a small but significantly greater reduction in weight, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and a greater increase in HDL and LDL cholesterol compared with the low-fat diet at one year. [10] The authors acknowledged the small weight loss difference between the two diets of about 2 pounds, and that compliance to the ketogenic diet declined over time, which may have explained the more significant difference at one year but not at two years (the authors did not provide additional data on this).
MCTs have antiviral and antibacterial properties and there is some evidence that they may help balance gut bacteria and combat pathogenic bacteria. They also offer the digestive system a break because they are so easily utilized by the body. When used with a healthy diet and other ways to support gut bacteria, MCTs may help improve gut health over time. (Though regular coconut oil may be more effective for this, see below).
“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.”
Research has consistently shown that the Mediterranean diet is effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and overall mortality. [3, 4]  A study of nearly 26,000 women found that those who followed this type of diet had 25% less risk of developing cardiovascular disease over the course of 12 years. [5] The study examined a range of underlying mechanisms that might account for this reduction, and found that changes in inflammation, blood sugar, and body mass index were the biggest drivers.
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
"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."  

Ten years ago an ambitious and unique research trial was started in Spain in 7,500 mildly overweight men and women in their 60s at risk of heart disease and diabetes. They were randomly allocated to two diets for five years: one a low-fat diet recommended by doctors in most western countries and the other a high fat Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra olive oil or nuts.
Keep in mind, however, that consuming too much protein at any given meal can decrease your levels of ketosis. To mitigate this effect, you can divide your protein intake into equal amounts throughout your meals. If you workout, then consider consuming more protein after and/or before your workouts because this protein is less likely to spike insulin levels and reduce ketone levels.
This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

One of the diets that implement these principles is the low-carb ketogenic diet. It primarily consists of highly-satiating foods like meat and low-carb vegetables while cutting out all carb-ridden, highly-palatable foods. By eating in this way, most people experience tremendous amounts of fat loss — not because it lowers insulin levels, but because keto dieters tend to eat significantly fewer calories than high-carb dieters without realizing it.


In 1993 Oldways created the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid – in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health and the WHO – as a healthier alternative to the USDA’s original food pyramid. Today, the Mediterranean Diet is more popular than ever, with new research every month documenting its benefits, and chefs and home cooks alike embracing Mediterranean ingredients and flavors. Starting at the base of the pyramid, you’ll find:
Complex high fat foods such as extra virgin olive oil, when eaten with a wide variety of other healthy polyphenol-dense foods, provide the basis for a rich and diverse community of gut microbes. This diversity is increasingly being shown to be important for our health. The original PREDIMED study didn’t measure gut microbes directly (although subsequent research is doing so) but the striking benefits of the Mediterranean diet and particularly extra virgin olive oil are that they are superb gut microbe fertilisers and improve gut health.
Many versions of ketogenic diets exist, but all ban carb-rich foods. Some of these foods may be obvious: starches from both refined and whole grains like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, and cookies; potatoes, corn, and other starchy vegetables; and fruit juices. Some that may not be so obvious are beans, legumes, and most fruits. Most ketogenic plans allow foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, lard, and butter, as well as sources of unsaturated fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, plant oils, and oily fish. Depending on your source of information, ketogenic food lists may vary and even conflict.

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the few oils that can be eaten without chemical processing. (Nearly every other vegetable oil has been detoxified and refined with steam and solvents). Fresh pressed olive oil can be eaten immediately and retains the natural flavors, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthy products of the ripe olive fruit.
Now you’ve made the decision to follow the diet, it’s time to choose the type. There are four options. The standard ketogenic diet is the ones that we’ve already looked into, where your diet consists of 70% fat, 25% protein and the rest carbs. You can also follow a high protein option, which cuts your fat intake to 60% and your protein intake up to 35%.
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.
How do MCTs help with weight loss? Experimental studies demonstrate that dietary MCTs suppress fat deposition through enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation in both animals and humans. (4) In other words, it’s believed that they help the body produce ketones, which gives you the same benefits as the ketogenic diet without needing to cut carbs to drastically low levels.

Lauric acid is naturally antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral. It is excellent for the skin and it has even been studied for its potential ability to help with severe acne for this reason! Coconut oil is the richest natural source, followed by human breastmilk, which contains up to 20% of its saturated fat content as lauric acid. (Side note to nursing moms: there are studies that show that consuming coconut oil helps improve the lauric acid content of milk.)
In fact, in a recent study, Dr. Borge Nordestgaard at the University of Copenhagen demonstrated just how dangerous cholesterol remnants like chylomicrons can be. He and colleagues followed nearly 12,000 people in Denmark who had established coronary heart disease, diagnosed between 1976 and 2010. The scientists found that each 1 mmol (38.7mg/dl) increase in nonfasting remnant cholesterol caused a nearly 3-fold greater risk of a coronary heart disease event. (10)
She went on to research whether a plant-based olive oil diet would improve risk factors for chronic disease, including breast and prostate cancers, relative to a lower fat diet. In one major study of 44 women with breast cancer, participants were assigned either a conventional diet where less than 30 percent of calories came from fat or a plant-based olive oil diet. The women followed the diets for eight weeks of weight loss and then could choose which they wanted to continue on for six months of follow-up. Somewhat surprisingly to Flynn, a strong majority of the women chose her diet, saying that the meals tasted better, were easy to prepare, inexpensive, and could be used both for everyday eating and when entertaining. Moreover, those who have tried to adopt the plant-based olive diet in both research and outpatient settings have mentioned feeling better after just one day following it, which is a powerful motivator for lasting behavior change.
Tallon, these suggestions are meant to be taken one at a time. If you’ve hit a plateau or are struggling with weight loss, you can try to cut back on your protein. If that doesn’t provide results than maybe that wasn’t the culprit..now try cutting back on dairy, see what happens with that. It’s all about finding what works for you. If you cut out everything at once, you’ll never know which one was causing the issue. Hope that makes sense.
You also need to consume coconut and other healthy fats in order absorb fat-soluble nutrients found in various foods. These include nutrients like beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A found in plants like berries, squash and leafy greens), vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and lutein. When you consume a healthy diet filled with lots of different whole, plant foods but don’t get enough healthy fat sources at the same time, your body is basically not capable of utilizing these nutrients as well.

There’s been no shortage of coconut oil uses and treatments proven by recent research — it provides not only MCTs (especially abundant levels of lauric acid), but also antibacterial properties, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and more. The difference between MCT oil and coconut oil is that MCT oil is much more concentrated and contains mostly capric acid and caprylic acid. While coconut oil certainly has MCTs in it, concentrated MCT oil is almost entirely MCTs.
“The beneficial components of the Mediterranean diet,” concluded Robert Vogel, MD, and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “appear to be antioxidant-rich foods, including vegetables, fruits, and their derivatives such as vinegar, and omega–3–rich fish…” These foods, he continued, “appear to provide some protection against the direct impairment in endothelial function produced by high-fat foods, including olive oil.”
When asked about the impact of importation of adulterated olive oils on her work, Flynn said that it was a “huge concern.” She realized that the ubiquity of poor-quality olive oils likely explains why she did not always get consistent results with her patients. She feels that “a people’s revolution” is needed to have an impact on the corruption issues in the olive oil world and aims to improve others’ knowledge and awareness of the adulteration problem by spreading the word.

A diet high in fresh plant foods and healthy fats seems to be the winning combination for longevity. Monounsaturated fat, the type found in olive oil and some nuts, is the main fat source in the Mediterranean diet. Over and over, studies show that monounsaturated fat is associated with lower levels of heart disease, cancer, depression, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory diseases and more. These are currently the leading causes of death in developed nations — especially heart disease.
For example, the large Greek EPIC study investigated which components of the Mediterranean diet were most beneficial and found that monounsaturated fats like olive oil were not stars. (11) Following 23,349 people for 8.5 years, the scientists demonstrated that only 11% of the benefit from a Mediterranean diet came from a high ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fats, and all of the monounsaturated fats were not olive oil.  The biggest health benefits came from high vegetable intake, low meat intake, and moderate alcohol consumption.

“The beneficial components of the Mediterranean diet,” concluded Robert Vogel, MD, and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “appear to be antioxidant-rich foods, including vegetables, fruits, and their derivatives such as vinegar, and omega–3–rich fish…” These foods, he continued, “appear to provide some protection against the direct impairment in endothelial function produced by high-fat foods, including olive oil.”
In 2010, researchers published findings showing MCTs help lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome,18 which includes a cluster of symptoms such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. Unlike carbohydrates, ketones don't stimulate a surge in insulin. Another benefit is that they don't need insulin to help them cross cell membranes, including neuronal membranes. Instead, they use protein transporters, which allow them to enter cells that have become insulin resistant.
The traditional diets of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea differ slightly so there are different versions of the Mediterranean diet. However, in 1993 the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, and the European Office of the World Health Organization introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as a guide to help familiarize people with the most common foods of the region. More of an eating pattern than a strictly regimented diet plan, the pyramid emphasized certain foods based on the dietary traditions of Crete, Greece, and southern Italy during the mid-20th century. [1,2] At that time, these countries displayed low rates of chronic disease and higher than average adult life expectancy despite having limited access to healthcare. It was believed that the diet—mainly fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, fish, olive oil, small amounts of dairy, and red wine—contributed to their health benefits. The pyramid also highlighted daily exercise and the beneficial social aspects of eating meals together.

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.
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