A modified Mediterranean diet, called the Green Mediterranean Diet, may provide the most benefit to those looking to lose visceral fat.

A recent study looked at the health effects of a new version of the Mediterranean diet, called the Green Mediterranean Diet. The Green Mediterranean Diet is more effective than the Original Diet in reducing the amount of visceral fat around internal organs. Visceral fat has been linked to early mortality and a range of other serious medical problems. A key part of the new diet is the inclusion of nuts, which are high in polyphenols.

A new large-scale clinical intervention trial has found that a modified Mediterranean diet, called the Green Mediterranean Diet, is more effective at reducing visceral fat that can surround and damage organs than either the standard Mediterranean diet or a generally healthy diet. . All three diets resulted in a reduction in visceral fat, but the green Mediterranean diet doubled the benefits of the “traditional” Mediterranean diet. The study is published in BMC Medicine.

The Green Mediterranean Diet

The green Mediterranean diet differs from the original Mediterranean diet in the importance it places on polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds that have been linked to protection against type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease. They also appear to support brain health and digestion. Polyphenols are found in dark chocolate, berries, red wine, and tea, as well as some tree nuts, such as walnuts.

Under the Green Mediterranean Diet, as envisioned in this study, a person consumes 28 grams of nuts each day, or about seven nuts, 3 to 4 cups of green tea, and 100 milligrams of the aquatic plant Wolffia globosa (Mankai) (also called duckweed) in a smoothie or shake. All these plants are rich in polyphenols.

Otherwise, the diet is the same as the original Mediterranean diet, but without the consumption of red and processed meats.

For the 18-month randomized controlled trial, the researchers divided the 294 participants into three groups:

one group followed a standard Mediterranean diet (MED)
one group followed a green Mediterranean diet (green-MED)
a final group strictly followed healthy eating guidelines (HDG).

All groups were offered lifestyle education sessions and physical activity recommendations, as well as a free gym membership. The researchers provided the nuts, tea and Mankai, as well as green smoothie recipes.

A promising dietary intervention

The study generated many hypotheses that can now be tested regarding the mechanism by which polyphenols affect VAT mass. “VAT” stands for “visceral adipose tissue,” which is another term for visceral fat. “Adipose” describes body tissue that stores fat. At the end of the trial, visceral fat reductions were assessed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). All three groups lost a similar amount of overall body weight. Participants on the Green Mediterranean Diet reduced their visceral fat by more than 14%. Those in the Mediterranean diet lost 6%, and the healthy diet group lost 4.2%.

visceral fat

While a person’s overall weight and appearance are often the metrics people judge diets on, visceral fat is a much more serious concern. In terms of the health risks associated with excess fat, visceral adipose tissue is far more dangerous than the extra “tire” around your waist. VAT has been linked to several health conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity, dyslipidemia, and diabetes. It also increases the risk of mortality, hence the importance of monitoring it. »

Visceral fat is located deep in the body and is found around internal organs, unlike the superficial layer of fat that we can see. Most currently available interventions do not specifically target deep adipose tissue. Yet the benefits of fat loss, in general, are still valuable. Since it is impossible to see it, it is not easy to determine if one has VAT. Waist circumference is a fairly good indicator of the presence of VAT, MRI and computed tomography (CT) are the best detection methods.

Lose visceral fat

At the time of writing, the Green Mediterranean Diet is the diet that most significantly reduces visceral fat, according to recent research. Most diets lead to a reduction in fatty tissue around the organs. Even in this study, the healthy control diet resulted in visceral fat loss, but not as much as the green Mediterranean diet. Since effective diets usually achieve at least some reduction in VAT, the best diet and exercise program is one that the person can stick to for months and years to come.

Aerobic exercise such as running or cycling has been shown to be a powerful strategy for reducing visceral adipose tissue.

In previous research, such exercises along with the consumption of nuts amplified the effect of the standard Mediterranean diet in reducing VAT. Eating more plant-based fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds, and avoiding simple carbs and trans fatty acids can help lower VAT.

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