This approach to the Mediterranean diet might be even better for you

Studies supporting the Mediterranean diet abound. It offers many potential health benefits, such as better blood sugar control, better cardiovascular outcomes (like lower blood pressure and cholesterol), and may help maintain a healthy inflammatory response. But adding the keto angle can kick things up a notch.

In a 2021 study, researchers compared the outcome of a keto diet to a Mediterranean diet for 12 weeks. Although both plans resulted in a similar adherence rate, participants on the keto diet experienced better blood sugar control and more significant decreases in triglyceride and LDL levels. They also lost more weight, on average.

In another 2021 study published in Nutrients, the researchers set out to compare a Mediterranean diet to a low-carb diet. They divided 36 participants into two groups: one group followed a traditional Mediterranean diet, while the other followed a low-carb (but not quite keto) nutrition plan with the same amount of calories.

While both groups experienced health benefits, like better insulin sensitivity, the low-carb group lost about 60% more weight, on average.

Researchers also looked at an unlimited-calorie Mediterranean keto diet in particular, and found that it may promote weight loss, normalize blood pressure, and lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. It can also raise HDL, or “good” cholesterol.

A 2011 study showed similar results, although it’s worth noting that participants in this study also took herbal plant extracts to increase their overall nutritional intake.

Besides the physical health benefits, the Mediterranean keto diet is also a bit more flexible than a traditional keto diet. Because there’s no emphasis on strict macro counting, many people find it easier to stick to long-term than a traditional keto diet. It is also more adaptable to other dietary preferences, such as vegetarian or vegan diets.

But like any new diet, there may be an adjustment period when you’re first starting out. If you are on a very high carbohydrate diet, you may experience some carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms.

The most common signs of carb withdrawal are headaches, effects on digestive regularity, bad breath, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and dizziness. These symptoms usually go away on their own within two weeks of starting a low-carb diet, during which time you may notice less bloating symptoms and less sugar cravings.

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