A new study shows that following the “green” Mediterranean diet helps burn fat three times faster than the typical healthy diet.
Research published in the journal BMC Medicine found that eating a plant-based Mediterranean diet allows the body to burn dangerous body fat three times as much as an overall “healthy” diet.
Those who consumed the diet for 18 months saw their visceral fat levels decreased by 14%, compared to a control group who ate a standard healthy diet and saw their fat levels decrease by only 4.5%. And a traditional Med diet performed half as well as its meat-free counterpart.
Visceral fat is the type that surrounds vital organs in the abdomen and is more likely to increase your risk for serious medical problems such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and type 2 diabetes than other fats. This type of fat is what typically gives someone a beer belly, but it’s also found in lean people.
Research suggests that losing visceral fat should be the goal in weight loss and should be an indicator of health rather than a person’s overall weight or waist circumference.
A Mediterranean diet, high in fat and protein but low in carbohydrates, is touted as a generally healthy diet and is becoming increasingly popular for its heart health benefits.
Plant-based foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and legumes are the mainstay of the diet, with olive oil being the main source of added fat, but the green Mediterranean diet puts an extra emphasis on greens.
The 18-month study, led by researchers at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, enrolled 294 participants, who averaged 51 years of age and were considered clinically obese. The researchers randomly divided the participants into three groups by guiding them towards a “healthy” diet, a Mediterranean diet, or a green Mediterranean diet.
People on the green Mediterranean diet were instructed to forgo red meat and poultry and drink three to four cups of green tea and a duckweed (Wolffia globosa) beverage, which is high in protein, iron, B12, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols. to change meat intake.
Both groups following the Mediterranean diet had a calorie restriction of 1,400 per day for women and 1,800 per day for men, and increased to 80 grams after consuming less than 40 grams of carbohydrates per day for the first two months.
Those who followed a general “healthy” diet were not given strict calorie counting.
All participants were asked to do 45-60 minutes of aerobic and resistance training 3-4 times a week for 90 minutes every week for the first month and once a month for the next five months.
In the end, the study found that the Mediterranean and green Mediterranean diets led participants to see similar weight loss and waist circumference, while the green Mediterranean diet doubled their visceral fat loss. And visceral fat loss tripled compared to the “healthy” diet.
It also concluded that higher dietary consumption of green tea, walnuts, and duckweed, coupled with reduced red meat intake, was significantly associated with greater visceral fat loss.