Moderate Exercise combined with a ‘Mediterranean Diet’ incorporating Extra Virgin Olive Oil is found to be better at reducing Fat Deposits…
New research confirms that healthy weight involves more than just body mass: It also includes how the fat is distributed within the body.
All weight-loss eating plans don’t offer the same benefits in reducing harmful fat deposits in the abdomen called visceral fat. A recent study compared the effects on the distribution of body fat of the Mediterranean/Low Carb (Med/LC) diet and a low-fat diet with and without exercise. It found the former diet in combination with moderate workouts proved superior.
Lead author Iris Shai of the Central MRI Randomised Controlled Trial (published in November 2017) explained: “Weighing patients or using blood tests to detect changes, hasn’t, until now, given us accurate pictures, literally, of how different fat deposits are impacted disproportionately by diet and exercise”.
In the 18-month clinical trial, Shai and her team assessed how lifestyle strategies affected fat deposits in a group of sedentary adults who were moderately overweight to obese. Each participant was randomly assigned either a Med/LC diet augmented with 28 grams of walnuts per day or an iso-caloric low-fat diet. The individuals were also randomly asked to engage or not to engage in a moderate exercise program. Data was collected from an extensive quantity of whole-body MRI scans.
The results showed that even with only moderate weight loss, the Med/LC diet proved significantly more effective than a low-fat diet in reducing fat storage in especially unhealthful areas. Combining the exercise program with the diet decreased fat deposits 29 percent around the liver, 22 percent in the abdomen, and 11 per cent around the heart.
“We learned in this trial that moderate, but persistent, weight loss may have dramatic beneficial effects on fat deposits related to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases”, explained Shai. “A Mediterranean diet, rich in unsaturated fats and low in carbohydrates, was a more effective strategy than an iso-caloric low-fat diet to dramatically reverse morbid fat storage sites”.
“Abdominal fat accumulation poses a danger to health because it drives chronic inflammation in the body, which has proven to be associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, dementia and depression. This type of fat is toxic and can interfere with normal hormonal functions such as appetite, weight, mood and brain function”, she said.
Shai concluded that the health benefits resulting from an exercise program together with an improvement in nutrition quality aren’t reflected by a reduction in body weight alone. The study was published in the journal Circulation.