How to Follow a Hybrid Keto Mediterranean Diet

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Spinach bowl and squid served on a ceramic bowl - Mediterranean meal dish

Recently, the Mediterranean diet has been stealing the spotlight with its unconventional diet methods. We say “unconventional” because, unlike most modern-day diets, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t impose too many restrictions. 

On the contrary, it encourages you to modify your current eating habits by incorporating more plant-based, unprocessed foods. 

But what happens when you combine it with the keto diet? 

If you are wondering “what is Mediterranean keto,” you will first have to understand what a Mediterranean diet is. 

What Is the Mediterranean Diet? 

The Mediterranean diet was popularized by American physiologist Ancel Keys and his wife. A lot of our conventional knowledge about nutrition, particularly the adversities of serum cholesterol, emerged from Keys’ magnum opus entitled “Seven Countries Study.” 

Published in 1978, the Seven Countries Study revealed that people inhabiting the Mediterranean region lived longer and healthier lives. They had fewer instances of cardiovascular diseases and a higher number of centenarians. 

The big question, of course, was “how?” 

Keys boiled it down to the Mediterranean lifestyle habits, particularly their dietary habits. With their strong liking towards unprocessed fruits and vegetables, unsaturated oils, and whole grains, it seemed that the Mediterraneans had cracked the code to healthy eating. 

Hence emerged the Mediterranean diet: an Americanized version of the general dietary principles of different countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. 

The Mediterranean Diet Today 

As of 2021, the US News of World Report ranked the Mediterranean diet as the number one diet for overall health and wellbeing. Not only that, but the Mediterranean diet is exceptionally easy to follow, boasting a dropout rate of only 4.9%.  

That’s because the Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle than a typical restrictive meal plan. It’s one of the least drastic diets that yields amazing results. 

The first thing to keep in mind about the Mediterranean diet is that “The Mediterranean” is a broad term encompassing different regions surrounding the Mediterranean sea. Hence, there isn’t a single, overarching meal plan but rather a set of guidelines. 

These principles and guidelines include: 

  • Not restricting your food intake
  • Eating as much unprocessed and fresh foods as possible
  • Avoiding processed sugar and carbohydrates
  • Limiting saturated fats, especially from animals. 
  • Refraining from indulging in processed foods such as chips and chocolates
  • Exercising in moderation to promote cardiovascular health

Did you notice? None of these guidelines encourage any form of severe restrictions. Rather, they promote the addition of nutrition-rich foods from healthy sources. At the end of the day, you have the liberty to choose how much you want to eat and don’t have to limit your carbs and protein intake.  

Differences Between Keto and the Mediterranean Diet 

At this point, you might already be questioning the viability of a Keto-Mediterranean hybrid diet. We don’t blame you; keto discourages the consumption of high carbs, whereas the Mediterranean diet endorses the use of whole grains and sugary fruits. 

Therefore, a Keto-Mediterranean hybrid diet definitely sounds like a paradox. 

In fact, there are many differences between the two diets.

Keto vs Mediterranean Diet 

  • Carb Intake. According to the dietary guideline for Americans, the average American adult should eat about 225 to 325 grams of carbs daily. In stark contrast, the keto diet limits the daily carb intake to 50 grams in order to induce ketosis. On the other hand, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t impose any restrictions; it merely suggests that you get your carbs from fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. 
  • Restrictions. For the most part, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t have any drastic restrictions—it simply teaches you how to enhance your eating habits. In contrast, the keto diet does enforce restrictions on macronutrients such as carbs and proteins.  
  • Goals. People mainly follow the Keto diet for its weight loss prospects, although it can potentially reduce health complications. The Mediterranean diet doesn’t prioritize weight loss. 
  • Fat Intake. When you’re on the keto diet, you need to consume high levels of fat since they’re your main source of energy. Surprisingly, the keto diet lets you source your fats from anywhere—butter, lard, plant oils, cheese, and nuts. On the other hand, the Mediterranean diet encourages you to stick with the daily recommended fat intake as long as they’re plant-based, unsaturated fats

Is Mediterranean Keto Friendly? 

With all these clashing differences, how can you effectively practice a Keto-Mediterranean hybrid diet? In order to understand the “how,” you need to understand “the why”; why should you combine these seemingly polar diets? 

Despite all its proven benefits, the keto diet does present a risk of insulin resistance and cardiovascular problems. But by “cherry-picking” from the Mediterranean diet guidelines, you can modify the keto diet by keeping the saturated, animal-based fats to a minimum. 

Of course, the Mediterranean diet still emphasizes healthy fat intake, which means that you can still induce ketosis. The only difference is that you’re doing it through healthier fat sources. 

If you were wondering, “what is Mediterranean Keto Diet,” you now know; it is a diet that gives you the best of both worlds—weight loss and disease control—while minimizing the potential risks of the Keto diet. 

Studies About the Mediterranean Diet

A 2018 review revealed that adopting the Mediterranean diet can improve your overall health status. Supplementary studies delve into some specific health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. 

Cardiovascular Disease

The Mediterranean diet has been positively linked with lower instances of cardiovascular diseases. Basically, the diet’s emphasis on olive oil nurtures healthy cholesterol levels in the blood.  


A 2018 review revealed that strong adherence to the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of dying from cancer. Moreover, the study concluded that the main components of the Mediterranean diet are related to a reduced risk of breast, esophageal, and colorectal cancer. 

Furthermore, following the Mediterranean-style diet as a lifestyle ensures that you abstain from smoking and excessive drinking, thereby reducing your risk of mouth, liver, and lung cancer. 


For people at high cardiovascular risk, the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of developing type II diabetes. 

A 2010 meta-analysis compared the effects of different low-fat diets and the Mediterranean diet on people without diabetes. The study revealed that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of developing type II diabetes by 52%. 

Weight Loss

2008 study revealed that the Mediterranean diet is also effective for long-term and healthy weight loss. 

Similarly, a 2015 review of the Mediterranean diet for weight loss concluded that the Mediterranean diet is just as effective as comparator diets.

Keto Mediterranean Diet Food List 

The traditional Mediterranean-style diet can be tricky to follow. However, the Mediterranean diet food pyramid makes things a bit easier. 

Here is a list of all keto Mediterranean diet-approved foods, in order of what you should consume the most. 

  1. Plant-based oils such as canola, soy, sunflower, peanut, and, most importantly, olive oil
  2. Low-carb vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, and leafy greens. 
  3. Low-carb fruits such as watermelon, honeydew, strawberries, peaches, and avocados. 
  4. Nuts and Legumes for healthy fats
  5. Fish, Poultry, and Eggs for protein
  6. Whole Grain Foods such as quinoa, brown rice, whole grain pasta
  7. Moderate amounts of alcohol, especially red wine. 

Top 10 Keto Mediterranean Diet Cookbooks

Since the Keto Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle change, it would help if you had some sort of manual to follow it through. When it comes to diets, a cookbook is the best manual, guide, and information source all combined into one. 

Here are the top 9 keto Mediterranean diet cookbooks with some of the most diverse selection of recipes: 

  1. Essential Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 100 Low-Carb, Heart-Healthy Recipes for Lasting Weight Loss
  2. The 4 in 1 Weight Loss Cookbook with Healthy and Delicious Recipes for Every Day incl. Meal Planner and 30 Days Diet Plan
  3. Keto Summer Cookbook: 75 Low Carb Recipes Inspired by the Flavors of the Mediterranean
  4. Clean Eating Kitchen: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Cookbook: Quick and Easy High-Protein, Low-Sugar, Healthy-Fat Recipes for Lifelong Health
  5. Keto Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: Easy, Flavorful Low Carb Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Healthy Eating Every Day and Rapid Weight Loss
  6. Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: Low Carb Mediterranean Recipes to Lose Weight Fast and Feel Years Younger
  7. Ketotarian: The (Mostly) Plant-Based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, and Calm Inflammation: A Cookbook
  8. Keto Mediterranean Diet Cookbook 2019: How I Lost 125 Pounds
  9. Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: The One Pot Low-Carb High-Fat Cookbook For Weight Loss With a 14 Day Slow Cooking Keto Mediterranean Meal Plan

Keto Mediterranean Recipes

From breakfast recipes to snacks and dips, here are our top picks for the best Mediterranean diet recipes. These recipes are super filling, easy to follow and provide detailed nutritional information. 

KetoFoodist Content provides this content to help keto diet practitioners and is intended for educational purposes only. It is recommended that you consult with a medical professional prior to starting any diet or following product suggestions.