With any healthy diet in moderation, weight loss is an achievable goal, as long as you reduce caloric intake, eat a balanced selection of nutritious foods, and get ample exercise. The Mediterranean diet is comprised of a diverse set of delicious ingredients, making it an easy diet to stick to. As it's full of fiber and good fats, the Mediterranean diet supports satiety, which can help you reduce caloric intake, supporting weight loss and management.
Still, the headlines keep coming. Men’s Health declared, “Ketogenic Diet Side Effects: How the Trendy Low-Carb Diet Can Give You Acne.” The health and fitness website Livestrong.com warned about “The Ketogenic Diet and Insomnia.” Other articles raised fears of bloat and constipation or cautioned that the regimen requires inhuman willpower from its followers.
As with any diet, physical activity is essential in establishing your a healthy lifestyle. Even light exercise, such as walking or yoga, is enough to get your heart rate up and benefit your overall well-being. We recommend finding a routine you're likely to stick to, like a nightly stroll with your family after dinner or a spin class with your best friend.
The struggle as a prescriber is that you have to follow the “standard of care,” lest you open yourself up to a lawsuit. So I talk to my patents about what “the” recommendations are, and then I talk to them bout what the evidence says and what my experience says. Plain and simple, patient’s trust the government’s recommendations and can’t wrap their head around the idea of not eating carbs because they have learned their entire lives that the body “needs” carbs to survive.
The following weekend I was looking for a book on this diet at Barnes & Noble in Colonie Center. A title caught my eye, “The Mediterranean Diet Plan,” written by Susan Zogheib. After reading the book’s introduction I quickly skimmed through the background of the diet and stopped at the diet plans. I smiled. I thought to myself, “I could totally do this!” I skipped ahead to the recipes. At that moment I knew I had found my diet plan! The book has four, four-week diet plans complete with recipes for every meal that are structured on the level of comfort you have with making the switch. One month of meals AND recipes, I couldn’t wait!
When it comes to managing diabetes, it is reasonable that reducing carbohydrate intake can help to lower and stabilize blood glucose levels. The positive effects of the ketogenic diet on diabetes control have been demonstrated in animal models, as well as in humans. We recently reported on several studies that demonstrated substantial metabolic benefits.
The ketogenic diet is a medical nutrition therapy that involves participants from various disciplines. Team members include a registered paediatric dietitian who coordinates the diet programme; a paediatric neurologist who is experienced in offering the ketogenic diet; and a registered nurse who is familiar with childhood epilepsy. Additional help may come from a medical social worker who works with the family and a pharmacist who can advise on the carbohydrate content of medicines. Lastly, the parents and other caregivers must be educated in many aspects of the diet for it to be safely implemented.
Participants were recruited from the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) outpatient clinics. Inclusion criteria were age 35–75 years; body mass index (BMI) >25 kg/m2; and fasting serum glucose >125 mg/dL or hemoglobin A1c >6.5% without medications, or treatment with oral hypoglycemic agents (OHA) and/or insulin. Exclusion criteria were evidence of renal insufficiency, liver disease, or unstable cardiovascular disease by history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. All participants provided written informed consent approved by the institutional review board. No monetary incentives were provided.
The Mediterranean diet wasn’t built as a weight loss plan — in fact, because it wasn’t developed at all, but is a style of eating of a region of people that evolved naturally over centuries, there’s no official way to follow it. But it’s popular because it’s a well-rounded approach to eating that isn’t restrictive. Two of the five Blue Zones — areas where people live longer and have lower rates of disease — are located in Mediterranean cities (Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy). (2) These places are known for having some of the lowest rates of heart disease and cancer worldwide. (3)
As far as weight loss is concerned, I have heard great things from many who have switched to eating the Mediterranean way. Some were able to see results in just a few weeks…feeling better and losing a moderate amount of weight. From my personal experience, the only time I wasn’t eating the Mediterranean way was during my early years in college. I attended college in Michigan, and naturally, I ate whatever was available in the school cafeteria. Freshmen year, I gained nearly 30 lb. But lost it all without much effort in 2 months, when I returned home that summer and started to eat Mediterranean again. It’s important to say that the Mediterranean lifestyle is really a way of living, and one we commit to longer term, not necessarily a quick diet for the sake of losing weight. I always mention too that I have no medical or professional background to lend in the area of weight loss. If that is priority, a registered dietitian or someone with that kind of experience would be of help.
Full disclosure: I have followed a low-carb diet for nearly a decade and find no problem adhering to it. I’ve lost weight and all my cardiovascular biomarkers have improved. Moreover, I’ve studied the science and history behind low-carbohydrate diets, so beyond my personal experience, I bring an evidence-based perspective. (Previously, for 25+ years, I adhered faithfully to a “mostly plants” regimen of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, including my own homemade 7-grain bread, while exercising religiously. Yet during that time my blood lipids were unhealthy, and I never could shake an extra 10-20 pounds.)
Klein S, Sheard NF, Pi-Sunyer S, Daly A, Wylie-Rosett J, Kulkarni K, Clark NG. Weight management through lifestyle modification for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: rationale and strategies. A statement of the American Diabetes Association, the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:257–263. [PubMed]
More good news: Snacks are totally allowed (and I'm not just talking about carrot sticks). There are plenty of packaged options out there designed for keto fans. FATBAR is one of them. These snack bars have 200 calories, 16 grams of fat, and four grams of net carbs. They're also plant-based and are made with almond or cashew butter, cocoa butter, coconut, pea protein, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds.
A: The most common ways to track your carbs is through MyFitnessPal and their mobile app. You cannot track net carbs on the app, although you can track your total carb intake and your total fiber intake. To get your net carbs, just subtract your total fiber intake from your total carb intake. I have written an article on How to Track Carbs on MyFitnessPal.
Thank you for your comment and your kind words Beverly! The diet you follow is quite restrictive and restricts most foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet. I have not seen any evidence of such a diet being anti-inflammatory. A traditional Mediterranean diet is considered an anti-inflammatory diet. The arthritis foundation also recommends a Mediterranean diet (https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory-diet.php). You can also check this article from Harvard for additional insight: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
It’s only dangerous to not get enough carbs at each meal if one is taking too much meds or insulin for the amount of carbs they are eating! Restricting carbohydrates doesn’t lead to hypoglycemia unawareness, but having lots of lows and lots of highs will (and decreasing insulin and carbs leads to way fewer highs and fewer lows, or at least it can). On the other hand, being in ketosis does make low blood sugars less negative as an experience. I still feel my lows just fine, but they are less of an emergency because my brain still works (feeding on ketones) and by body doesn’t freak out and release tons of adrenaline that then makes me want to eat a house. Mind you, I still wake up and know immediately if I’m low, I know from experience and how it feels in my head and body but without the crazy shakes. This is not unawareness but it is less reactive.
This is a helpful article. But there are some inaccurate things too. I have type two diabetes and use a keto genie diet to lose weight (45# so far). I was able to get my cholesterol down, Triggs down, and my A1C to 6! I went off and followed a Mediterranean diet for a year. I gained back 15# and my diabetes got worse. So I am back on keto. I am using a closer to Mediterranean keto both then and now.
Ben Tzeel is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), holding a Masters in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ben has lived with Type 1 Diabetes since 1999 and has never allowed it to hold him back from achieving his goals. He is a published fitness model and author who writes about exercise, nutrition, and diabetes.
Readers will enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, lean meats/fish/poultry, nuts/beans/seeds, heart healthy fats, and limited amounts of whole grains. Banished are the empty calories from refined grains and added-sugars. The result: improved metabolism, lower body fat, improved strength and cardiovascular fitness--with the diet plan proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure without medication, and without counting calories!
7. I should mention ALL my health markers have DRASTICALLY improved including cholesterol and inflammation markers? My fatty liver is resolving and my cardio markers are perfect! The study where you cited there were not significant changed in diabetes markers in two months, well it takes longer! Check it out at 6 and 8 months. Most people will show a VERY different story than what you are reporting!
Not to be outdone, oolong tea—a Chinese beverage—can help those who drink it shed up to a pound per week. According to a study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost six pounds over the course of six weeks. What’s more? The tea’s antioxidants are thought to remove harmful free radicals and improve bone health.
Hi Stacey, I can’t give medical advice and definitely recommend following your doctor’s recommendations. You can ask him/her if low carb would be better suited for you. Also, you may want to double check with him/her if the kidney concern was related to high protein, because that is a common misconception about keto – it is not a high protein diet/lifestyle.
It’s easy to stick with. A diet only works if it’s doable. That means everyone in your family can eat it and you can eat in this style no matter where you go (to a restaurant for dinner, to a family event). With its flavors and variety of foods that don’t cut out any food group, this is one such eating plan. "It is an appealing diet that one can stay with for a lifetime,” Dr. Cohen says.
Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use or store sugar as fuel. Ketogenic diets make you burn through this fuel quickly, so you don’t need to store it. This means your body needs -- and makes -- less insulin. Those lower levels may help protect you against some kinds of cancer or even slow the growth of cancer cells. More research is needed on this, though.
There are so many tricks, shortcuts, and gimmicks out there on achieving optimal ketosis – I’d suggest you don’t bother with any of that. Optimal ketosis can be accomplished through dietary nutrition alone (aka just eating food). You shouldn’t need a magic pill to do it. Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat (to make sure your carb and protein intake are correct).
The only limitations: processed foods, and excess intake of fats, sugars, and sodium. And, yes, nixing processed foods pretty much takes care of the fat, sugar, and sodium problem, Srinath says. Research published in BMJ Journal shows that ultra-processed foods make up 58 percent of all of the calories and 90 percent of the added sugars that the average American consumes in a given day. And 75 percent of the average American’s sodium consumption (which is about 1.5 times the RDA of sodium per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) comes from processed foods, per Harvard University.
Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much. Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others. Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.
Fuels and feeds your brain: Ketones provide an immediate hit of energy for your brain, and up to 70% of your brain’s energy needs when you limit carbs. Fat also feeds your brain and keeps it strong. Your brain is at least 60% fat, so it needs loads of good fats to keep it running. Essential fatty acids such as omega-3s help grow and develop the brain, while saturated fat keeps myelin — the layer of insulation around the brain — strong so your neurons can communicate with each other.