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Mediterranean Keto Diet

My journey to the Mediterranean keto diet

I know I’ve been posting a few old favourites on my social media channels lately (chaffles or cheese waffles, for one!) but there’s a good reason for that. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know my eating habits have been changing a lot over the last couple of years, but I always get back to keto and low carb.

Last year I tried a lot of PSMF (protein-sparing modified fasting) following a strict keto way of eating. But it wasn’t for me though as it just doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle in Spain. With that method, for instance, I cut back on dairy and cheese. I love cheese and I generally ate a lot of it. I thought cutting back would be beneficial for me.

PSMF

For me, when I did PSMF days, I lost weight, but when I went back to my usual low carb eating it went right back on. You really need to commit to the protocol to get the results you want and because I didn’t have that much weight to lose, I decided not to be so strict with my foods. But, I didn’t want to keep going round in circles so I decided to get back to basics and start focussing on the foods that are part of my usual life now.

I needed a healthy balance and something I personally could sustain long term. I didn’t want to go full ketogenic again, because some of the foods I enjoy aren’t considered “keto”. But I also want to lose a bit more body fat. So, the cheese waffles are back in my life nearly every day! Sometimes twice a day! PSMF can be an excellent tool and can give great results, it just wasn’t for me. A Mediterranean Keto Diet seemed like the obvious choice.

Mediterranean Diet & Keto

I’ve been doing more research on the typical “Mediterranean diet”. Aside from being really healthy, a Mediterranean diet is simply a way of life and eating the foods that are seasonal and abundant along the Mediterranean coast.

The Mediterranean diet includes lots of healthy olive oil, meat like pork and poultry, plus beef on occasion too. Fish & seafood, beans & lentils, nuts & seeds, sheep & goat cheese, plus numerous other cheeses are a large part too. But also, importantly, a wide variety of vegetables and fruits are a staple part. Bread is generally included with every meal and small pastries are usually eaten regularly too.

Adopting a low carb version of Mediterranean foods has been pretty simple. A lot of the widely available vegetables here in Spain are naturally lower in carbs anyway. While I’m on a weight loss regime, I will keep my fruit intake lower, veg will be low carb only. I also omit higher-carb foods like lentils or chickpeas unless I am doing a higher-carb day (carb cycling).

I wanted to incorporate low carb foods and a ketogenic way of eating, without being too strict. I wanted some flexibility to eat out and have occasional treats for special occasions without being made to feel like I was breaking some cardinal rule.

I wanted to use the foods I now eat regularly, whether at home or out in restaurants. Plus I wanted to make sure I could do this while still losing weight to get to my ultimate goal. We do eat out a fair bit, whether just for some tapas, or a full meal. So finding the balance of foods that I can freely enjoy and still lose weight has been a challenge but I think I’ve cracked it. A Mediterranean keto diet makes perfect sense for me now.

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As well as looking at new dishes and types of meals that are typical here in Spain, I also looked back at my meal tracking from 5 years ago. My Fitness Pal is great for that. I could look up my logs from years ago and compare them to what I am eating now.

When I initially lost nearly 5 stone, I was eating only keto foods and followed the “high fat, moderate protein, low carb” approach that we all know and love. But for lots of long-term keto enthusiasts, like me, that approach feels a bit outdated. More clinical studies have been done so new research results are available. A lot of what we think we know about ketogenic diets, ketones and ketosis, has changed a lot.

Ketones

Ketones, for example, aren’t something I bother about. I used to think my body made energy from ketones, but the role they play is far more complex. We now have a better understanding of what ketones actually do, and how our bodies produce them. I’ve often said, that those ketone readings don’t matter and that being “deeper’ in ketosis doesn’t mean you’ll lose more weight. So there’s no need to be chasing ketones and worrying about whether you’ll be knocked out of ketosis.

New macros for a Mediterranean Keto diet

These days I’m more focused on eating lots of protein. I don’t worry about exceeding my protein macro (I do still track my foods regularly to make sure my calories are in check). But my macros are very different, from the macros I had 5 years ago.

My protein goal is now 40 – 45% of my calorie intake. Some people go up to 50%. That sounds a lot but I am eating meat, poultry, fish and lots of eggs. Those make up the biggest part of my meals, and I would rather eat a bigger steak or extra chicken than fill up on other foods.

That takes my fat macro down to 50% – 55%. Fats come from mostly olive oil, butter, cheese, eggs, and fats naturally present in meat.

Carbs are still around 5%. Usually, I’m around 20g net carbs, some days it may be close to zero, and some days it may go up to 50g. Even with my fat and protein being so close, my appetite is fine and I don’t feel hunger pangs. And I’m losing body fat again.

Macros to aim for with Mediterranean Keto should be around this: 40%-60% of calorie intake from fat sources, 30-50% from protein, and 5%-10% from low carb veg and fruit.

All in all, it is going well and I’m looking forward to sharing more about this new healthy balance of Mediterranean keto here with you. You can read all about a Mediterranean Keto Diet in my New E-Book – get your copy here!

Key points: Mediterranean Keto & Low Carb Diet

Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits

The Mediterranean diet has been extensively studied for its health benefits. Research suggests that adhering to this diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Source: Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean diet: a healthy cardiovascular diet for weight loss

Protein Sparing Modified Fasting (PSMF)

PSMF is a weight loss method designed to maximise fat loss while preserving lean body mass. It involves consuming a slightly higher amount of protein with minimal fat and carbohydrates. Research shows that PSMF can lead to rapid weight loss, but its sustainability and long-term effectiveness may vary. More info: https://ketogenicwoman.com/what-is-psmf-diet/

Ketosis and Weight Loss

Ketosis facilitates weight loss by promoting fat metabolism, but the emphasis on ketone levels as a marker of success has shifted in recent years. Studies suggest that achieving deeper levels of ketosis may not necessarily correlate with greater weight loss results. Instead, a well-formulated ketogenic or low carb diet based on a Mediterranean approach that restricts carbs while providing adequate protein and healthy fats is optimal for success. Read more about: What do ketones do?

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Importance of Protein in Weight Loss

Increasing protein intake helps promote feelings of fullness and satiety, which may help reduce overall calorie intake and support weight loss. Research indicates that a higher protein intake can increase your metabolic rate and preserve lean muscle mass during periods of calorie restriction. Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Tracking Macronutrients

Monitoring your macro intake, including protein, fat, and carbs, can be a valuable tool for weight management. Various online tools and mobile apps are available to help you track dietary intake and maintain awareness of your nutritional goals. Source: The Effect of Adherence to Dietary Tracking on Weight Loss: Using HLM to Model Weight Loss over Time

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