Mediterranean diet reduce body fat and prevent muscle loss, study reveals

A new study has found that a low-calorie, Mediterranean-style diet which is based on vegetables and fruits will reduce body fat and prevent muscle loss with age. According to VegNews, the study was conducted by a team of Spanish and American researchers and published in the journal JAMA Network Open. 

The study included 1521 men and women between the ages of 55 and 75 who were overweight or obese but without any existing cardiovascular disease.

Participants were divided into two groups to determine the effect of a low-calorie Mediterranean diet with exercise, compared to following a Mediterranean diet without any specific weight loss goals.

Mediterranean diet

The first group of participants followed a low-calorie version of the Mediterranean diet. They ate less and avoided unhealthy foods like processed meat, cream, butter, margarine, added sugar, crackers, bread, and refined grains.

They also exercised more, aiming for 45 minutes of walking or its equivalent six times per week while doing exercises that improve flexibility, strength, and balance. They also consulted with a dietitian three times each month during the first year of the program.

The study results showed a significant reduction in total body fat mass and an increase in total fat-free mass in the group that followed the low-calorie Mediterranean diet which included exercise.

In contrast, the group that received only general advice about following a Mediterranean diet saw only minor changes in body composition.

Mediterranean diet

Reducing excess visceral fat and maintaining muscle mass can have a great effect on health and contribute to reducing the risk of many health problems, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Also, having too much body fat can lead to various health problems, including an increased risk of death from all causes, type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease.

The study results provide valuable insights for middle-aged and older adults looking to improve their body composition and overall health by adopting a low-calorie Mediterranean diet and incorporating regular physical activity into their daily routine.

By following a low-calorie Mediterranean diet combined with exercise, middle-aged and older adults with chronic health conditions can significantly improve their body composition and lower the risk of many health problems, while it might be hard to get into the habit at first, the long-term benefits are well worth it.

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