The green Mediterranean diet (MED) significantly reduces visceral adipose tissue, a type of fat that is much more dangerous than the extra "tire" around your waist.
For the 18-month randomized controlled trial (called DIRECT PLUS), researchers assigned 284 adults with abdominal obesity, average age 51, to one of three diet groups: 1) healthy diet guidelines, 2) a Mediterranean diet or, 3) a green Mediterranean diet which is very high in protective antioxidants called polyphenols.
The results showed that both Mediterranean diet groups lost a similar amount of weight. But the green Mediterranean diet reduced visceral fat by 14%, the Mediterranean diet by 7% and the healthy diet guidelines by 4.5%.
What is visceral fat?
Reducing visceral fat is considered the true goal of weight loss as it is a more important indicator than a person's weight or the circumference of their waist.
Visceral fat, which is found around internal organs, aggregates over time and produces hormones and chemicals linked to heart disease, diabetes, dementia and premature death.
What is the green Mediterranean diet?
The DIRECT-PLUS trial research team was the first to introduce the concept of the green-Mediterranean diet. This modified Mediterranean diet is further enriched with dietary polyphenols and lower in red/processed meat than the traditional healthy Mediterranean diet.
On top of a daily intake of polyphenol-rich walnuts (28 grams), the participants consumed 3 to 4 cups of green tea/day and 100 grams (frozen cubes) of duckweed green shake each day. Duckweed is an aquatic green plant high in protein, iron, B12, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols; the daily shake substituted meat intake.
The team has shown in previous studies that the green MED diet has a variety of beneficial effects ranging from the microbiome to age-related degenerative diseases.
Source: BMC Medicine, September 30, 2022
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