1. A high-polyphenol Mediterranean diet was associated with an increased reduction in visceral adiposity compared to a standard healthy diet or Mediterranean diet alone.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

Visceral adipose tissue is known to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and mortality. It has been thought that a Mediterranean diet which is high in polyphenol content can help reduce visceral adipose tissue. In this randomized controlled trial, 294 participants were randomized to either the healthy dietary guidelines group (HDG), the Mediterranean diet group (MED), or the greens-enhanced Mediterranean diet group (green-MED) to assess the effect of a Mediterranean diet further enriched with polyphenols on visceral adiposity. All participants engaged in similar levels of physical activity. The results of this study suggest that the green-MED group had a greater reduction in visceral adipose tissue compared to the other two groups (HDG -4.2%, MED -6.0%, green-MED -14.4%). These differences in visceral adipose tissue loss remained significant after adjusting for age and sex. In conclusion, a green-MED diet which is enriched with polyphenols may be important for visceral adipose tissue reduction. However, this study poses several limitations. Physical activity was recommended to all participants by providing a free gym membership and educational sessions promoting the importance of moderate-intensity physical activity. However, if all participants did not engage in similar levels of consistent exercise throughout the study period, these results may be biased as physical activity is known to promote visceral adiposity reduction. Additionally, participant adherence to each diet was determined through self-reporting which may not necessarily be accurate. Despite this, the conclusions of this study support the role of a polyphenol-rich Mediterranean diet on visceral adiposity which may have significant implications for reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.

Click to read the study in BMC Medicine

Image: PD

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