Peter started out his professional life as a restaurant critic but ended up moving to the kitchen, realizing that his passion didn’t only lie in tasting the food, but MAKING it. Follow his delicious recipes, as well as useful articles about the many benefits healthy and delicious food will bring to your life.+ info
A study recently carried out by Iris Shai and other researchers compared three different diets, including a new “green” Mediterranean diet. This variation of the traditional Mediterranean one turned out to be much more efficient when comparing weight loss and cholesterol levels.
If you’re not familiar with the study, here’s a quick recap of how it went: a group of 294 randomly chosen, sedentary, and mostly male participants was divided into three subgroups. The first one received guidance to improve physical activity and to follow a healthy diet. The second subgroup had to follow the traditional Mediterranean diet as well as do some exercise. The third one needed to boost their physical activity and eat according to a “green” Mediterranean diet.
To clarify, the traditional Mediterranean diet includes many vegetables, restricts the consumption of simple carbohydrates, and advises on eating fish and poultry instead of red meat. This animal source for protein was partly replaced with plant-based foods rich in protein, such as walnuts and a form of duckweed (Wolffia globosa cubes), for the “green” Mediterranean diet.
The results were amazing: the total weight loss by the “green” Mediterranean diet was higher than the one by the subgroups with other diets, with a total of 6.2 kilograms versus 5.4kg (traditional Mediterranean) and 1.4kg (simple, healthy diet). The reduction of LDL cholesterol (AKA the “bad” cholesterol) levels was 4 times higher than the one by the traditional Mediterranean diet, and the LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio increased as well.
When asked why this happened, experts explained the role of polyphenols as anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants. They can be found in plant matter and have been proven to have a positive impact on the maintenance of healthy gut bacteria. A “green” Mediterranean diet includes more plant-based foods, which means the polyphenols consumption is higher.
Another reason for the success of this new diet is its focus on plant-based protein. Not only does it avoid red meat completely, but it also replaces animal protein sources with seeds, legumes, and nuts. This approach, almost vegetarian, provides the body with antioxidants, healthy fats, dietary fiber, and several minerals and vitamins, many of which aren’t present in animal-based foods.
These new additions and restrictions give the traditional Mediterranean diet a brand new -and apparently healthier- approach, don’t you think?