New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS): The green Mediterranean diet (MED) significantly cuts visceral adipose tissue, a type of fat around internal organs that is much more dangerous than the extra "tire" around your waist, a new study has revealed.
The green Mediterranean diet was pitted against the Mediterranean diet and a healthy diet in a large-scale clinical interventional trial.
Subsequent analysis, published in BMC Medicine, found that the green Med diet reduced visceral fat by 14 per cent, the Med diet by 7 per cent and the healthy diet by 4.5 per cent.
"We learned 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, positive ones such as the polyphenols, and negative ones such as empty carbohydrates and processed red meat, on the pace of fat cell differentiation and their aggregation in the viscera," explained professor Iris Shai of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
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 aggregates over time between organs and produces hormones and poisons linked to heart disease, diabetes, dementia and premature death.
The green Mediterranean diet is further enriched with dietary polyphenols and lower in red/processed meat than the traditional healthy MED diet.
On top of a daily intake of walnuts (28 grams), the participants consumed 3-4 cups of green tea/day and 100 grams (frozen cubes) of duckweed green shake/day.
The aquatic green plant duckweed is high in bioavailable protein, iron, B12, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols and substituted meat intake.
"A 14 per cent reduction in visceral fat is a dramatic achievement for making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. Weight loss is an important goal only if it is accompanied by impressive results in reducing adipose tissue," said Dr Hila Zelicha.
The team has shown in previous studies that the green MED diet has a variety of salutary effects ranging from the microbiome to age-related degenerative diseases.