The Green Mediterranean Diet reduces visceral fat twice as much as the Mediterranean Diet.
Reducing visceral fat is the real goal of weight loss.
The Green Mediterranean Diet (MED) dramatically reduces visceral adipose tissue, a type of fat around internal organs that is far more dangerous than the extra “tire” around your waist. The Green Mediterranean Diet was pitted against the Mediterranean diet and healthy eating in a large-scale interventional clinical trial – the DIRECT PLUS. Further analysis revealed that the Green Med diet reduced visceral fat by 14.1%, the Med diet by 6.0% and the healthy diet by 4.2%. The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine.
The Green-Mediterranean Diet is a modified Mediterranean diet that is further enriched in dietary polyphenols (beneficial plant compounds with antioxidant properties) and lower in red/processed meat.
Reducing visceral fat is considered the true goal of weight loss because it is a more important indicator than a person’s weight or waist circumference. Visceral fat aggregates over time between organs and produces hormones and poisons linked to heart disease, diabetes, dementia and premature death.
The research was led by Professor Iris Shai of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, Assistant Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Honorary Professor at the University of Leipzig, Germany, with her doctoral student, Dr. Hilah. Zelicha and his Italian, German and American colleagues.
The DIRECT-PLUS trial research team was the first to introduce the concept of the green-Mediterranean diet. This modified MED diet is further enriched with dietary polyphenols and contains less red/processed meat than the traditional healthy MED diet. In addition to daily consumption of nuts (28 grams), participants consumed 3–4 cups of green tea/day and 100 grams (frozen cubes) of green duckweed shake/day. The aquatic green plant duckweed is rich in bioavailable protein, iron, B12, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and a meat substitute.
The team has shown in previous studies that the MED Green Diet has a variety of beneficial effects ranging from microbiome to age-related degenerative diseases.
Two hundred and ninety-four participants took part in the 18-month trial.
“A healthy lifestyle is a solid foundation for any weight loss program. We have learned from the results of our experiment that the quality of food is no less important than the number of calories consumed and the goal today is to understand the mechanisms of various nutrients, for example, positives such as polyphenols , and the negatives such as empty carbohydrates and processed red meat, on the rate of fat cell differentiation and aggregation in the viscera,” says Professor Shai.
“A 14% reduction in visceral fat is a dramatic achievement for making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. Weight loss is only an important goal if it is accompanied by impressive results in weight loss. reduction of adipose tissue,” notes Dr. Hila Zelicha.
Reference: “The effect of the polyphenol-rich Mediterranean diet on visceral adiposity: the DIRECT PLUS randomized controlled trial” by Hila Zelicha, Nora Kloting, Alon Kaplan, Anat Yaskolka Meir, Ehud Rinott, Gal Tsaban, Yoash Chassidim, Matthias Bluher, Uta Ceglarek, Berend Isermann, Michael Stumvoll, Rita Nana Quayson, Martin von Bergen, Beatrice Engelmann, Ulrike E. Rolle-Kampczyk, Sven-Bastiaan Haange, Kieran M. Tuohy, Camilla Diotallevi, Ilan Shelef, Frank B. Hu, Mayor J. Stampfer and Iris Shai, September 30, 2022, BMC Medicine.
This work was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – Project number 209933838 – SFB 1052; the Rosetrees Trust (grant A2623); Israel Ministry of Health Grant 87472511; Grant 3-13604 from the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology; and the California Walnut Commission.
None of the funders was involved at any stage of the design, conduct or analysis of the study and they did not have access to the study results prior to publication.
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