Following the ‘green Mediterranean diet’ helps you lose FOUR TIMES as much visceral fat

A large study found that people who follow the “green Mediterranean” diet lose a dangerous amount of body fat at a rate quadruple that of other dieters. 

The visceral fat levels of people who followed the predominantly plant-based diet for 18 month saw a 14 percent reduction in comparison to those who followed a healthy standard diet.

Visceral fat wraps around vital body organs and inside the abdomen giving people a beer belly or an apple body.

This is the most hazardous type. It is believed to release hormones and chemicals into the blood, which can trigger inflammation. These are linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease and fatty liver disease. Its proximity to the organs increases the risk.

The Mediterranean diet — high in fats and proteins but low in carbohydrates — has become extremely popular in recent years with a wealth of studies touting its benefits for longevity, reducing frailty and warding off cancer.

The ‘green’ Mediterranean diet still contains plenty of beans, legumes, whole-grains, leafy greens, olive oils, nuts and fish — but swaps out red meat and poultry for three to four cups of green tea and a duckweed shake every day.

Researchers believe polyphenols — plant compounds that protect the body’s tissue against stress — help burn fat, which has been noted in several previous pieces of research.

Dr Hila Zelicha, an obesity expert at the University of Ben-Gurion who was involved in the study, said:  ‘A 14 per cent reduction in visceral fat is a dramatic achievement for making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.’

Above is a healthy, Mediterranean-style and ‘green” Mediterranean diet that was used in the study. The healthy diet (left), followed the basic guidelines while the Mediterranean diet was based on standard recommendations. It included plenty of whole-grains, legumes and leafy greens as well as fish. The “green” Mediterranean diet saw consumers substitute some meats for green tea and duckweed shakes.

People Who Follow The 'Green Mediterranean' Diet Burn A Dangerous Type Of Bodyfat Responsible For 'Beer Bellies' At A Rapid Rate (Stock Image)

People who follow a ‘green Mediterranean diet’ burn dangerous body fat that causes ‘beer bellies. (stock photo)

The Above Graph Shows The Percentage Of Visceral Fat (Shown As Vat) Lost Among Participants Depending On The Group They Were Assigned To

The graph above shows how participants lose visceral fat (Shown in VAT) depending on which group they are assigned.

The study — published today in the journal BMC Medicine — was led by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in southern Israel.

A total of 294 adults were recruited who were 50 years old on average and had a BMI of 31 — putting them in the obese category. Nearly 9 out 10 were men.

They were split into three equal groups to follow the specific diet plan for the study’s duration — from May 2017 to November 2018.

What was the “green” Mediterranean diet? 

Large-scale studies have shown that the “green” Mediterranean diet may lead to faster loss of visceral fat.

This type of fat can be dangerous as it can wrap around organs, releasing chemicals that cause inflammation.

Both diets advise women to consume between 1,200 and 1,400 calories daily, while men should limit intake to 1,600 to 1,800 calories.

Both had 40g of carbohydrates per day during the first two months. This increased to 80g daily in the second month.

Both groups were told to eat less processed meat and poultry than the Mediterranean diet. 

People are advised to eat chicken in low or moderate quantities once a week. Red meat should be consumed only in small and irregular amounts.

A 100g (g) duckweed shake was recommended to the ‘green’ group. They also were advised to drink three to four cups of green coffee every day.

Comparatively, participants on the standard Mediterranean diet were instructed to eat about one handful of walnuts per day.

There is no single right or wrong way to eat the Mediterranean Diet.

But Harvard University According to the diet plan, the following items are common: 

  • There are many plant foods available, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Olive oil is the primary source of fats
  • You can eat cheese and yogurt every day in moderate to low quantities.
  • Low to moderate quantities of fish and poultry can be eaten several times per week.
  • Red Meat that is only occasionally consumed in small quantities;
  • Fresh fruit is a great dessert option, but only one or two times per week.
  • Wine should be consumed in moderate or low quantities with certain meals. 

Two groups were instructed to follow a Mediterranean-style diet.

One person followed a plant-based, green version while the rest followed a traditional Mediterranean diet. 

Both groups were instructed to consume as little as 1,400 calories per day for women and as much for men, respectively.

Instead of drinking a cup of tea or a shake, the standard group was asked to consume a handful of walnuts per day.

Both groups were told to eat less than 40 grams of carbohydrates a day — such as whole wheat and beans — for the first two months. For the remainder of the study, this was increased to 80g per day.

Participants recruited to the healthy diet group were told to loosely follow a Mediterranean diet — consuming lots of fruit and veg — but were not given any calorie restrictions or specific meal plans.

Each group received 90-minute nutrition lessons each week during the study. Then, once per month, the next five. 

They were then administered every other month until the conclusion of the study.

They were asked to perform resistance and aerobic training for 45 to 60 minutes three to four times per week. In an effort to encourage them to use the gym, they were also provided with free memberships.

To measure visceral fat, MRIs were taken at the beginning and end of the study.

Also, measurements were taken to determine the waist circumference and body weight.

The ‘green’ diet group lost 3.9 per cent of their total body-weight and 5.7 per cent of their waist circumference on average — the most out of any group.

For comparison, people on the standard Mediterranean diet lost 2.7% versus 4.7%, respectively.

The healthy diet also saw a drop of 0.4% and 3.6%, respectively. 

Researchers found that there were no significant differences in total weight loss between the two groups.

According to Dr Zelicha it was the visceral fat differences that were noticeable. He added: “Weight loss is important only if it’s accompanied with impressive results in reducing excess adipose tissue.”

Professor Iris Shai (a Harvard University nutritionist) said that she led the research. She stated: “We learned from our experiment that the quality and quantity of food are not less important than the calories consumed. Today, the goal is to understand how different nutrients work.

“For example, positive ones like the polyphenols and negative ones like empty carbohydrates and processed meats on the rate of fat cell differentiation, their aggregation and their mobility in the viscera.

Researchers found that the green diet had a higher level of polyphenols than the other.

They speculated that this was due to the greater weight loss, based on previous research in mice.

These results indicated that polyphenols had a greater effect on obesity than previously thought. This could be because they require energy to digest and then are used by the body.

People on the green diet ate duckweed shakes because they were high in protein, iron, B12, vitamins, and polyphenols. 

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