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Green Mediterranean Diet May Be Even Healthier

Decrease in waist circumference greater than with traditional Mediterranean diet or healthy dietary guidance

man serving salad from a bowl

TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A green Mediterranean diet, containing even more plant matter and very little red meat or poultry, may be even better for cardiometabolic health than the traditional Mediterranean diet, according to a study published online Nov. 23 in Heart.

Gal Tsaban, M.D., from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, and colleagues randomly assigned 294 individuals with abdominal obesity/dyslipidemia (1:1:1) into three diet groups: healthy dietary guidance (HDG), Mediterranean diet, and green Mediterranean diet (green tea and a Wolffia globosa [Mankai strain; 100 g/day] plant-based protein shake), all combined with physical activity.

The researchers found that both Mediterranean diets achieved similar weight loss (green Mediterranean, −6.2 kg; Mediterranean, −5.4 kg) versus the HDG group (−1.5 kg). The green Mediterranean diet group had a greater reduction in waist circumference (−8.6 cm) than either the Mediterranean diet (−6.8 cm) or HDG (−4.3 cm) groups. These differences were significant only among men. Compared with HDG, the green Mediterranean diet group achieved a greater decrease in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), diastolic blood pressure, and insulin resistance at six months. The green Mediterranean diet group also saw the greatest decline in the LDL-C/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein.

"The green Mediterranean diet, supplemented with walnuts, green tea, and Mankai, and lower in meat/poultry, may amplify the beneficial cardiometabolic effects of Mediterranean diet," the authors write.

The study was funded in part by the California Walnut Commission.

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