Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet | Complete Guide

Salmon and vegetables

This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here. Always consult a medical professional before commencing any diet.

Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet (SKMD) – The Ketogenic Diet is well-known in the weight loss world.

To many, it is an ultra-delicious way to lose weight; bacon, cheese, and cream will beat rice cakes and carrot sticks any day!

However, it can boring, (not to mention unhealthy) sticking with the same keto foods and ingredients for the rest of your life.

The solution?

The Spanish and Mediterranean have managed to do add some awesome foods to their ketogenic diet without affecting their ketosis state negatively.

Yes! It’s easy enough and it has been done with great success!

Let’s dive in and learn more about the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.

What is the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet?

In Spain, a group of scientists did a study where they combined the Ketogenic and Mediterranean diets.

They dubbed it the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet (SKMD) and found that was an effective way to lose weight while lowering blood pressure and regulating blood sugar.

Essentially, 31 obese people (22 male and 19 female) were put on a diet with virgin olive oil as their main source of fat, green vegetables, and salad as their primary source of carbohydrates and fish as protein.

And – something that is not allowed on a Ketogenic-only Diet – they were allowed (no, encouraged) to drink red wine in moderation.

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Benefits of the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet

The Spanish ketogenic Mediterranean diet includes the normal ketogenic diet benefits and more:

  • Preserve muscle mass while losing fat
  • Control hunger
  • Make your metabolism work more efficiently
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help regulate insulin and decrease insulin resistance
  • And more

Not only is the Mediterranean diet associated with a healthy heart.

It is also linked to living longer, lower rates of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and of course, diabetes and obesity. It has also been associated with lowering the ‘bad’ cholesterol that builds up in your arteries.

Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet - Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil has great health benefits, especially for women.

On top of that, if you’re a woman following the Mediterranean Diet, the intake of extra-virgin olive oil and nuts which form part of the eating plan may lead to a reduced risk of breast cancer according to research in Universidad de Granada in Spain.

It’s easy to see why most health professionals will encourage you to follow the Mediterranean eating style.

What Makes the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet So Healthy?

Apart from the obvious fact that you will cut processed foods and sugars from your diet, the staple ingredients have proven health benefits.

Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet Key Food List

Olive Oil

A key factor in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease because of the monounsaturated fatty acids and other anti-inflammatory components.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids will also improve insulin resistance and prevent central fat redistribution. Sounds pretty good!


Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet - Fish
Fish is an important source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Following the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, you can expect to eat a lot of anchovies, shellfish, salmon, and sardines.

But that is a good thing as these fish are high in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that will help increase insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation. It also drastically lowers your chance of dying from coronary heart disease.

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The health benefits of leafy green vegetables have been long documented. The advantages of the fiber you get from biting into vegetables should be enough to convince you to eat veggies at every meal.

Red Wine

The antioxidants in red wine have a positive effect on your heart health as well as improve blood circulation. When consumed in moderation of course 🙂

Transitioning from Keto to the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet

To switch from plain keto to the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet will take some minor adjustment.

It is suggested that you divide your proteins into a ‘fish block’ and a ‘no fish block’ – with the fish block taking up the majority of the week (no less than 4 days).

Other than that, you should remember that olive oil must be your primary fat source and every meal should be balanced and contain vegetables.

If you keep tracking your food and limit your carbohydrates to below 30g (you can make it 20g if you really want to turbo-boost your ketosis), you should keep seeing results.

You can use a food tracking app such as MyFitnessPal to make sure you don’t go over your limits.

Foods To Avoid

The three biggest differences between the Ketogenic Diet and the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet might be a jolt to your system – more so psychologically than physically.

You will have to:

  1. Put down the full-fat dairy and switch to skim milk, low-fat or better yet, fat-free.
  2. Replace your much-loved butter with olive oil.
  3. Limit red meat to a few times a month. Rather substituted with fish and poultry. Sausages, high-fat meats and yes, bacon, is a no-go. This might be the hardest change to swallow for most!

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BONUS – Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet SAMPLE MENU


Low-fat Greek yogurt with nuts, fruit, and honey


Sardines or anchovies with boiled greens drizzle with olive oil and lemon

Don’t forget the wine! (Or skip the wine at lunch and add it to dinner)

Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet - Red Wine
A diet on which you can drink wine? Yes, please!


Omelet with feta accompanied by a salad with olive oil salad dressing*


Tip: *A quick and easy salad dressing you might enjoy is mixing garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and spice to your taste!


If you want to snack in between, some good choices are:

  • Tomato and olives
  • Serving of fruit
  • Greek yogurt with fruit
  • Handful of nuts
  • A handful of dried fruit

There are also lots of Spanish ketogenic Mediterranean delicious recipes and cooking books you can find online. Here is one Spanish Keto for Instant Pot.

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Practical Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet Tips

  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water, at least 3 liters.
  • Limit tea and coffee to two cups a day
  • Don’t drink any juice
  • No artificial sweeteners allowed
  • Avoid trans fats, processed meats, and sugar
  • Carbs should be limited to 30g a day and should take the form of green vegetables and salad
  • A minimum of 30ml of olive oil should be consumed a day
  • No more than 200-400 ml of red wine a day
  • You can drink a multi-vitamin-mineral supplement and calcium daily

Your Guide to Success on the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet

As you’ve gathered by now, the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet is fairly straightforward but adding extra vegetables to your plate can seem a daunting task if you’ve been following keto the (gr)easy way.

So, to ensure your triumph in the battle of the bulge here is all the nitty-gritty information summed up:

Limit Carbohydrates

Carbs should only come from leafy vegetables and fruit.

Low carbs! The golden number is a fairly personal one but according to the people in the white lab coats, you will go into ketosis if you limit your carbs to between 20-50 grams a day.

Most Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet meal plans you will find will have the daily carbs set at 30 grams a day.

You should get your carbs from vegetables and fruit but the types of veggies and fruit matter. Avoid starchy sources like sweet potatoes, as this will most probably spike your insulin and kick you out of ketosis.

Green Colour

Leafy greens are in your future if you follow this diet, and you want to eat it at every main meal. Of course, you can add vegetables of other colors, as long as they are not a starchy type of vegetable.

Eat Fat, Lose Fat

If you are on a keto diet, this will be familiar to you. The only difference is that while following the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, your main source of fat will be from olive oil, followed by fatty fish, nuts, and cheese – not bacon and butter.

Get Active

No matter what diet you follow, exercise is important. Not only is it good for your health, but it will help with any weight-loss endeavors you’re on. According to Doctor Colin Champ, more muscles mean more health, so if you find cardio to be a bore, go lift your way to a more toned and healthier body.

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A good night’s sleep is vital if you want to stay healthy.

Although your life might be busy and active, it is essential to take time out to recuperate.

For your body to build muscle, especially after intense exercise, it is important to get adequate rest and rest means quality sleep.

When you get enough sleep, your body heals your metabolism, regulates your blood sugar, and helps your immune system fight germs you come into contact with daily.

Apart from sleep, you must also recharge your mind through activities like meditating, reading or socializing with friends.


Although this is not necessary while on the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, it is worth a mention.

OMAD Keto (One Meal a Day) is gaining popularity in the fitness world – not just pro athletes are doing this but doctors are actually putting their patients on one or other fasting regime for its various health benefits.

Increasing the time between meals lowers your blood glucose and insulin – this helps with ketosis – and activates autophagy.

Autophagy is a process where your body actually gets rid of the junk and damaged cells in your body; doing so lowers your risk of getting diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Taking the above into consideration, eating keto the Mediterranean way will not just help you lose weight but will boost your health.


As with most diets, it is always advised to speak to your doctor before starting.

Low-carb and keto diets can cause kidney stones, osteoporosis, gout, and can cause a deficiency of vitamins and minerals.

There’s also the possibility of the Ketogenic Diet worsening kidney disease.

Although not all people experience these serious negative symptoms, most do suffer some mild effects when first starting.

This includes:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Irritability
  • Shakiness and weakness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feeling tired
  • Keto breath
  • Keto Flu

The Take Home

There’s a healthier (and less boring way) to get into ketosis; you don’t have to gorge yourself on bacon and high-fat foods anymore.

The Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, you will find yourself burning fat for fuel in no time while following a well-rounded nutritious eating plan.

In addition, you will be able to enjoy a glass of wine at dinner!

It’s win-win all around.

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This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here.

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