One thing you’ll find people love about the Mediterranean diet is the allowance of moderate amounts of red wine. “Moderate” means 5 ounces (oz) or less each day for women (one glass) and no more than 10 oz daily for men (two glasses). (1) Above all else, these meals are eaten in the company of friends and family; strong social ties are a cornerstone of healthful lives — and a healthful diet. Here, food is celebrated.
Results of meta-analysis of 12 large studies conducted between 1966 and 2008, covering more than 1.5 million subjects, were published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2009. The authors concluded that the Mediterranean diet is associated with significant health benefits, including lower mortality overall, and reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
Now, about that whole low-fat and low-sugar thing. It can be tricky come dessert time, but Gorin has a hack for surviving that as well: "One way to feel like you’re getting the dessert that you crave while still following the diet is to eat a fruit-based 'nice cream,' like my chocolate-banana recipe. By combining frozen bananas and unsweetened cocoa powder, you'll wind up with a treat that resembles the texture of ice cream yet contains no added sugar and also counts toward your daily fruit servings."
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.
The Mediterranean diet isn’t a regimented plan, like South Beach, the Blood Type Diet or any others; it’s more a way of eating. After World War II, researchers began studying the eating patterns of 13,000 middle-aged men in the US, Japan, Italy, Greece (including Crete), the Netherlands, Finland and Yugoslavia. They noticed that those in countries whose diets had been restricted by the deprivations of the war had lower rates of heart disease compared to American men. Moreover, residents of Crete enjoyed the best cardiovascular health, leading scientists to conclude that their diet — fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and fish — played a major role.
You have about 160,000 Kcals of fat available to burn – producing your own glucose in the process when needed (for anaerobic bursts). In contrast you only store around 400 to 500 Kcals of glucose/glycogen ready for use so if you are not adapted to burning fat then you are physically dependent and addicted to eating carbs. When you hear of a runner “hitting the wall” it’s only because of their unnatural carb addiction – an efficient fat burning athlete can run all day and will never have this problem. The human body is specifically designed to run long distance and can outrun almost every other animal on this planet – we can even run though intense heat because we sweat.
Finally, people eat about nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day on a Mediterranean diet. (1) Produce packs an array of disease-fighting antioxidants, and people who fill their diet with these foods have lower risk of disease. Yet as the National Institutes of Health points out, it’s not known if it’s the antioxidants or other compounds (or general healthy eating patterns) that are responsible for these advantages. (5)
Speaking of things you find in the sea, oysters have also been shown to contribute to weight loss thanks to their impressive zinc content. One study found that obese people who consumed 30 milligrams of zinc per day—the equivalent of just six raw oysters—had lower BMIs, weighed less, and showed improvements in blood cholesterol levels. If oysters aren’t your thing, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and mushrooms are also excellent sources of zinc.
A study in the journal Metabolism found that eating half a grapefruit before meals may help reduce visceral fat and lower cholesterol levels. Participants in the 6-week study who ate a Rio Red grapefruit fifteen minutes before each meal saw their waists shrink by up to an inch, and LDL levels drop by 18 points. Though researchers don’t exactly know what makes grapefruit so good at burning fat, they attribute the effects to a combination of phytochemicals and vitamin C found in the tart treat.
Thank you for this info. I will be copying the link to send to some folks ready to jump on this new trend. In fact I had a resident (I am a CDM) come in to our re-hab facility in pretty bad shape. He was unable to speak with me so I spoke with his wife. The man had come in after having a TIA. He was a diabetic, as well. The wife told me that she had her husband 9and herself) on a keto diet. When she saw the size my eyes got for some reason she got angry and very defensive and screamed “Forget everything you have been taught. It is all crap”. I understand when folks are worried abut their loved ones they can get pretty emotional. I asked my standard question about chew/swallowing, UBW and food allergies and quickly left. I spoke with the RD (a CDE) about what had happened. She tried to speak with the resident and his wife and got the same treatment. The RD said to me “He will have another stroke in a week”. He had one in 3 days. Unfortunately with this stroke, he got anew diagnosis of severe dysphagia. SLP tried and tried but he would aspirate on everything. He had to be pegged. He was brought back to the facility. The wife was taught how to feed him through the tube. He left the facility and passed quietly about 3 weeks later. I reached out to the wife on his second stay and we became fairly close. She said she thought she was doing the best thing for him because he was over weight. I get it. She only wanted a healthy husband. She apologized for being so quick when we met. I thanked her for actually educating me on this diet. I was not aware there was such a thing.

Cortisone as an oral drug is another common culprit (e.g. Prednisolone). Cortisone often causes weight gain in the long run, especially at higher doses (e.g. more than 5 mg Prednisolone per day). Unfortunately, cortisone is often an essential medication for those who are prescribed it, but the dose should be adjusted frequently so you don’t take more than you need. Asthma inhalers and other local cortisone treatments, like creams or nose sprays, hardly affect weight.
I do have a couple of questions. I’m not vegan, but is there room for tempeh (as an alternative)? I love yogurt but I also love cottage cheese – would that be allowed and what about green tea or organic matcha? Oh, one more question, after doing weight watchers, I became obsessed with weighing my food and watching my portion sizes. When I was an unhealthy eater that was my downfall. I’ve mainly been trying to eat clean for the last year, but I still weigh/measure my food. What is the rule for portion sizes in the mediterranean lifestyle? Sorry for all the questions, but thank you for your time!! I look forward to trying all your recipes.

Selecting the right food will be easier as you become accustomed to the Keto approach. Instead of lean meats, you’ll focus on skin-on poultry, fattier parts like chicken thighs, rib-eye steaks, grass-fed ground beef, fattier fish like salmon, beef brisket or pork shoulder, and bacon. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers, make healthy vegetable choices (but you’ll avoid starchy root foods like carrots, potatoes, turnips and parsnips). You can work in less-familiar veggies such as kohlrabi or daikon.
Both groups experienced no notable adverse effects in their health. In the 29 subjects who successfully completed the calorie-restricted diet, researchers observed an average 16% reduction in fasting glucose, 2.7 reduction in BMI, and loss of 6.9 kg of bodyweight. [9] However, in the 21 subjects that successfully completed the very-low carbohydrate ketogenic diet, subjects experienced an average 19.9% reduction in fasting glucose, 3.9 decrease in BMI, and loss of 11.1 kg of bodyweight. [9]
On the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are restricted and so cannot provide for all the metabolic needs of the body. Instead, fatty acids are used as the major source of fuel. These are used through fatty-acid oxidation in the cell's mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell). Humans can convert some amino acids into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, but cannot do this by using fatty acids.[56] Since amino acids are needed to make proteins, which are essential for growth and repair of body tissues, these cannot be used only to produce glucose. This could pose a problem for the brain, since it is normally fuelled solely by glucose, and most fatty acids do not cross the blood–brain barrier. However, the liver can use long-chain fatty acids to synthesise the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. These ketone bodies enter the brain and partially substitute for blood glucose as a source of energy.[55]
I have T2D and IBS and my blood sugar readings were degrading. I was going to have to take a second daily dose of Metformin and the first one already played havoc with the IBS. I started a low-carb diet because my T1D husband had been inspired by a podcast by Sam Harris with scientist Gary Taubes, author Why We Get Fat, Good Calories, Bad Calories and the Case Against Sugar, and started dumping the majority of his carbs a month previous. He had cut his insulin use literally in half and lost 15 pounds. He was feeling better and visibly had more energy. I was resistant to the diet and even the idea of it. I have been on Atkins and Sugar Busters and while I did fine on Sugar Busters back in the day, Atkins was too fat-based and that was the opposite of how I had been raised to think about dieting. I knew that the Diabetic diet given to me by the Diabetic Educator had never been enough and I get carby binge cravings even though it offers plenty of carbs and calories. I also knew that it’s a cycle for me-eat more carbs, want more carbs, and never really feel satisfied. On top of that, when my stomach hurts I seek carbs, and it hurts quite often. I did Weight Watchers and the Diabetic diets because they let me “cheat” and have my carbs while dieting. To be fair, just the act of tracking my food improved my outcome on either. But I got mad at WW when they upped the points for carbs on their system and made it so I couldn’t eat cake for lunch if I wanted to. Not that I made a practice of it, but it was principle of the thing. Long story short, I was pretty doubtful that I would be very successful on Atkins or Keto. To humor my husband I began a low-carb diet that started out as Atkins 20 or Keto and has morphed to more of an Atkins 30-40 for my personal comfort while using Keto, Atkins, and Paleo recipes and ultimately cutting all gluten. That means 30-40 net carbs per day, rather than per meal and a lot of natural non-processed foods. The first week was quite terrible. But even through the Keto Flu I recognized that my IBS symptoms felt better. I started to suspect that if I felt that bad just from quitting carbs that maybe there was more to the idea of sugar addiction than I wanted to believe. I’m six weeks in now and I’m losing a steady pound a week plus my sugars have dropped radically. A pound a week might not sound like much but it’s more than I’ve lost in 10 years. I have PCOS and insulin resistance so I’ve had a fasting blood sugar that ranged from 109-113 since my early twenties. It was flying high around 160-170 before the diet, now I’m reading between 119-139. Even more than that, my IBS symptoms stabilized. I’ve been tracking all my food using the free Atkins meal tracker so I started trying to narrow the foods that caused flare ups. I’m lactose intolerant but I knew that and used lactose free products or Lactaid for the cream based dishes. I had my gall bladder removed and so have always put down my symptoms to an inability to process dairy and fats. Big surprise to find that a higher fat, higher dairy diet was making my symptoms disappear. Gluten is the only common factor so far. Celiac? Just a food sensitivity? I don’t know, but that will be the next investigation. It is an investigation that I would never have thought to start on the Diabetic diet. Like the author, I’m very fond of cake and carbs. Luckily there are low-carb, no-gluten recipes for muffins and cakes. They aren’t exactly the same and some are definitely better than others, but they are out there. Plus, there is nothing wrong with having true birthday cake once a year if that is really what you need and if you don’t have a reason to avoid it, like binge symptoms or IBS flare ups. My husband let himself have a piece of cheesecake the other day and felt physically awful for two day after, plus he had to use a lot of insulin to counter the spike. It’s a pretty good deterrent. Just a side note but I had other symptoms of inflammation as well. My ankles were swelling to golf ball size and painful, it was difficult for me to stand and walk comfortably when this happened. While they haven’t stopped completely, the discomfort has gone way down as has the swelling and frequency. What’s my point? I’m not a salesman for a particular diet. Everyone is different and some people might respond very well to Keto and/or Atkins while others may not need anything that extreme. I’m not knocking the Diabetic diet. My dad lost 150 pounds 38 years ago on a very low calorie/low carb Diabetic diet that gradually increased and he has kept the weight off all this time and kept his blood sugar steady with medication, but has not had to go to insulin even at age 84. Also, he was a smoker, a diabetic, had hemochromatosis and was over 300 pounds with an apple body shape. He has had some fall out from this-he didn’t stop the smoking until a heart attack 20 years ago and that didn’t help. But he has made it to 84 and when he walked into his doctor’s office 40 years ago I’m guessing the doctor wouldn’t have put any money on that survival rate. Unfortunately, it looks like I need the lower carb version and will continue to need it to manage my symptoms. I didn’t want it, that’s for sure. But Diabetics are locked in a death struggle with Diabetes and it won’t give up just because we are tired or want our sugar. So for me, it has to be Very Low Carb for Life. Others may find they need this too and discouraging them from trying it is not doing them any favors. Hopefully I will continue to find this sustainable. I just need to keep reminding myself that I am more fond of my feet and my vision than my birthday cake.

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.
Having tempting, unhealthy foods in your home is one of the biggest reasons for failure when starting any diet. To maximize your chances of success with the keto diet, you need to remove as many triggers as you can. This crucial step will help prevent moments of weakness from ruining all your hard work.If you aren’t living alone, make sure to discuss with your family or housemates before throwing anything out. If some items are simply not yours to throw out, try to compromise and agree on a special location so you can keep them out of sight.

The first meta-analysis worth noting collected the data from 10 randomized trials comprising 1376 participants in total. [14] After analyzing the research, a key relationship emerged between dietary carbs and blood sugar levels. In short, the researchers described their finding thus: “the greater the carbohydrate restriction, the greater glucose lowering…” [14]


Reduced hunger. Many people experience a marked reduction in hunger on a keto diet. This may be caused by an increased ability of the body to be fueled by its fat stores. Many people feel great when they eat just once or twice a day, and may automatically end up doing a form of intermittent fasting. This saves time and money, while also speeding up weight loss.
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