How to lose belly fat: Try a Mediterranean diet combined with exercise

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  • As we age, we tend to gain belly fat and lose muscle mass.
  • One study found that a lower-calorie Mediterranean diet combined with light exercise may prevent this.
  • Participants who made these lifestyle changes also lost harmful visceral fat.

As we age, our bodies undergo changes. We have tendencies decreased muscle mass and increased belly fatcan be a warning sign of health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

However, follow a lower calorie diet Mediterranean diet and light exercise may prevent or delay these age-related changes, according to one study. learn was published Wednesday in JAMA Network Open.

The study found that participants, aged 55 to 75 and overweight or obese, lost more body fat and less muscle over a three-year period if they ate a Mediterranean diet. Hai eats fewer calories and does gentle exercise up to six days a year. weeks compared to those who did not. Their body composition Research shows they change the most in the first year, but they maintain most of those changes through the three-year mark.

Along with achieving a better fat-to-muscle ratio, they also lost weight Visceral fat, located beneath the stomach muscles and surrounding the abdominal organs, can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Participants lost a modest amount of fat, but the authors called it “clinically significant.”

Participants who received regular guidance from nutritionists lost more fat

The study is based on data from an eight-year Spanish study involving 6,874 overweight or obese people with metabolic syndrome, a general term for patients with high blood pressure. , high blood sugar, low DHL or “good” cholesterol, and excess fat around the body. belt. Its purpose was to test whether eating a Mediterranean diet is possible prevent cardiovascular disease.

Researchers measured the body composition of 1,521 people in the study at three different periods. Participants were randomized to either the intervention group or the control group.

The intervention group ate a 30% calorie-reduced Mediterranean diet, received guidance and support from nutritionists three times a month, and were encouraged to limit their consumption of processed meat, butter, and margarine. ice cream, sugary drinks, added sugar, cookies and bread. They were also asked to walk 45 minutes a day and exercise to improve strength, flexibility and balance.

The control group also followed the Mediterranean diet but were not asked to reduce calories or exercise more. They are given general dietary advice twice a year.

Both groups lost some fat, but only those in the intervention group lost visceral fat, the study found. They also lost more weight while retaining or gaining more muscle than the control group, the study found.

Dr. David Katz, an expert in preventative and lifestyle medicine, said: “This study demonstrates that a calorie-controlled Mediterranean diet plus exercise not only helps with weight loss but also leads to to the redistribution of body composition from fat to muscle.” participating in the study said CNN.

More research is needed before we can know whether these changes are long-term

The authors say more research is needed to understand whether the changes they observed had long-term effects on participants’ health, and whether they apply to younger or healthier demographics. more or not.

Dr. Christopher Gardner, professor of medical research at the Stanford Prevention Research Center in California who directs the Nutrition Research Research Group and was not involved in the study, told CNN that the three-year follow-up period was “the most profound” for him.

“The magnitude of the difference over three years is modest, and the trend from one year to three years suggests that after six years the impact may decline to negligible levels,” he said. statistical significance over three years”. impressive!”

Gunter Kuhnle, a professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Reading, UK, who was not involved in the study, told the newspaper: “More information would have been available if the control group had received support.” similarly highly targeted support (even if it contains only general advice).”

“Motivation and adherence are critical in studies investigating behavior change and the study design clearly favors the intervention,” Kuhnle said.

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