By now, you’ve likely heard of the keto diet. It’s the diet where you cut out carbs in favor of high-fat options. It’s been a topic of many conversations for years because it has been proven to work for many people, but it has also received a lot of criticism because of the high fat component.
After being told for decades that saturated fats are bad for us, many people are skeptical of a diet that relies on eating large amounts of red meat and dairy, especially as it cuts out carbohydrate-heavy vegetables.
This is where the Mediterranean keto diet comes in. It’s a combination of the classic Mediterranean diet, which is heavy on olive oil, vegetables, and fish, and the keto diet.
In this guide, we’ll answer these questions:
- What is the Mediterranean diet?
- What is the keto diet?
- What is the Mediterranean keto diet?
- What are the benefits of this combination diet?
What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
The classic Mediterranean diet typically consists of foods largely eaten in the 16 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. These places obviously have different specialty dishes and cuisines, but there are some foods that these areas are known for having in common.
If you look at the differences between the Mediterranean diet vs keto, you’ll notice that the primary source of fat for the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. Most dishes are cooked using olive oil, and it is also poured onto cooked food to add flavor. In contrast, the keto diet regularly uses butter in dishes.
The Mediterranean diet consists of a lot of:
For protein, the Mediterranean diet forgoes fatty red meats in favor of:
However, protein isn’t the main focus of the meal. Vegetables, grains, and fruit are served in larger portions than meat, fish, eggs, or dairy.
When switching from keto to Mediterranean diet, you’ll notice that they both avoid sugar and processed foods in most cases. Fresh food is key if you want to enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle. In the Mediterranean diet, fruit is often eaten as a yummy dessert instead of sugar-rich treats, whereas the keto diet doesn’t advocate fruit because it is high in natural sugars.
Mediterranean food focuses on cooking with fresh ingredients and olive oil. You won’t find many condiments like ketchup or mayonnaise. Instead, the meals rely on naturally flavorful foods that are tasty without the addition of preservative-rich ingredients.
Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
There are many health benefits to this diet. It will leave you feeling better almost immediately due to all the fresh, wholesome foods you’ll be eating.
If you’re wondering about the Mediterranean diet vs keto for weight loss, keto will likely result in more substantial weight loss. You lose weight because you avoid sugar and processed foods. You eat a lot healthier and avoid fast food with the Mediterranean diet, so it is likely that you will lose weight if you were eating unhealthy meals before; however, losing weight isn’t the main objective of this diet. It doesn’t cause rapid weight loss like the keto diet can.
Even if the weight loss isn’t as noticeable, the benefits of this diet include a lower risk of heart disease in people who have a predisposition towards it, thanks to nuts and olive oil. One study revealed a positive trend in lowering the risk of Type-2 diabetes. In addition, women between 40 and 77 are less likely to suffer from a stroke, a benefit that is exclusive to the Mediterranean diet vs keto diet. There was also a lowered risk of breast cancer in women. Finally, studies showed a decrease in depression in people who lived on this diet.
What Is the Keto Diet?
If you’re looking at keto vs Mediterranean diet, the first thing you should know is that the keto diet relies on your body going into ketosis. The diet consists of increasing high-fat foods and cutting out carbohydrate-rich foods. This gives you energy and causes weight loss. Bread, potatoes, sugar, and cereals are all heavy in carbohydrates and are avoided completely in this diet.
You’ll find that using this diet often means that you have to cook your own food as you will have to completely avoid carbohydrate-rich foods and focus entirely on high-fat dairy and meat dishes. However, there are so many recipes available online and in books that you won’t suffer for choice when cooking.
Also, because this diet is so popular (one benefit of the keto diet vs Mediterranean diet), you can always order from the best meal delivery services as they will often have a keto option. For example, Green Chef and Freshly often have keto options on their menu. And if you want a recipe and all the ingredients delivered to your home, you could try Blue Apron.
It’s important to note that this diet is more reliant on fat than protein. If you eat too much protein, it could turn into glucose, slowing down the process of your body going into ketosis. Many people think they can cut out carbohydrates and avoid the high-fat aspect of the diet, but ketosis relies entirely on burning fat to create energy. High fat is integral to this diet.
When comparing the keto diet versus Mediterranean diet, you will notice that the keto diet has many substitutions for carbohydrates. For example, zucchini noodles will often replace pasta, cauliflower will replace rice and mashed potatoes, and sugar is replaced with sweeteners like xylitol and stevia. You won’t often find this to be the case in the Mediterranean diet as it doesn’t exclude carbohydrates.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
There are many benefits to keto. For starters, your body going into ketosis should give you more energy. And, of course, there are the weight loss benefits. This is the biggest difference between keto and Mediterranean diet. Keto is believed to cause sustainable weight loss, which means that you can keep the weight off by continuing the diet. And because the diet has a variety of foods that you can eat, it’s easy to stay on, unlike a fad diet.
Other health benefits include:
- Lower triglycerides
- Higher HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Can lower blood pressure
- Lower blood sugar and insulin levels
What Is the Mediterranean Keto Diet?
The Mediterranean and keto mixed diet is a combination of both diets that many find more sustainable than the highly restrictive keto diet. It also includes weight loss benefits that the normal version of the Mediterranean diet doesn’t achieve due to carbohydrates being on the menu quite frequently.
Basically, this diet takes keto-friendly foods that are generally found in a Mediterranean diet and creates meals using mostly these foods. For the most part, this diet doesn’t allow for as much red meat and butter as the keto diet does. Instead, people consume olive oil and fatty fish on a more frequent basis.
A Mediterranean keto diet meal plan includes a lot of fish and olive oil, so make sure that you enjoy those two foods. If you don’t like fish or olive oil, you’re more likely to find success with a keto diet. Seafood, including fatty fish, will be your main source of fat and protein on this diet, so be sure you enjoy eating it.
The carbohydrates that you eat are mainly green salads and vegetables. These are healthy carbs that won’t cause high weight gain and can be enjoyed alongside your main protein and fats. These healthy veggies and greens are generally allowed in most diets, whether you’re on a Mediterranean diet vs keto vs paleo diet. And if you’re a wine drinker, don’t worry; you can still enjoy one or two glasses of your favorite red wine per day. However, you shouldn’t over-indulge with alcohol on any diet.
Benefits of the Keto Mediterranean Diet
- You’ll find that weight loss is easy after a while, and it is sustainable because you aren’t watching portion sizes or calorie intake. This means you can lose weight and keep it off in a healthy way.
- Loads of Omega-3 due to eating fish most of the time. Omega-3 is great for cognitive function and keeping your mind alert.
- You’ll find that all the vitamins and minerals you need are in your daily keto Mediterranean diet, so you won’t need to take supplements to keep you healthy.
- Your good cholesterol levels (HDL) will increase, and you may find that your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) may drop.
- Your triglycerides should drop over a period of time.
- It may lower your risk for certain cancers and increase your life span.
- Risks of heart attacks and strokes are lower over time.
- This diet has also been shown to help with Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes.
The Mediterranean keto diet is a healthy and sustainable way to lose weight and enjoy delicious food at the same time. It can improve the way you feel by putting your body in ketosis and giving you energy. The meal plans on this diet are great and allow you to feel full and healthy at the same time. You won’t even want to binge on unhealthy snacks after a while!
Can I eat Mediterranean food on keto?
Yes, you can! You simply have to avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates and use olive oil in place of butter. Fish and veggies are great Mediterranean foods that work well with the keto diet.
Can I lose weight on Mediterranean diet?
You can lose weight on the Mediterranean diet, but the weight loss is not as substantial as it is with the keto diet. The Mediterranean diet cuts out a lot of processed foods and sugars, so it’s a diet that will keep your body healthy. But if you want to drop weight in larger amounts, you might want to consider the keto diet.
Can I drink coffee on the Mediterranean diet?
Yes, you can drink coffee. You shouldn’t have sugar or processed additives in your coffee. Of course, you shouldn’t over-indulge in caffeine as that can be harmful to your general health.
Can I eat hummus on keto?
Yes, hummus is low-carb and high in protein and fats. It’s actually the perfect dip for someone living on the keto diet. And, of course, it’s also a staple of the Mediterranean diet.
Is Greek yogurt Keto?
Yes, it is. Full-fat yogurt works well on the keto diet. The keto diet relies on a large amount of fat intake to put your body into ketosis.
Is Mediterranean diet low-carb?
No. The traditional Mediterranean diet has lots of carbohydrates, including potatoes, whole-grain bread, and high carbohydrate vegetables. The Mediterranean keto diet, on the other hand, limits your carbohydrates while still allowing you to enjoy delicious Mediterranean cuisine.