This diet and exercise regimen helps reduce dangerous belly fat and more, study says CNN


According to a new study, older adults who followed a lower-calorie Mediterranean diet and exercised a minimum of six days a week gained muscle and lost a significant amount of body fat by the end of a year and maintained their weight. Maintain that amount of fat for three years. .

This study demonstrates that a calorie-controlled Mediterranean diet plus exercise does more than simply help with weight loss; It leads to a redistribution of body composition from fat to muscle, said Dr. David Katz, an expert in preventive and lifestyle medicine who was not involved in the study.

In addition to reducing overall body fat, study participants also reduced dangerous visceral belly fat, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

While the new study’s findings are not surprising, they expand The benefits of diet and exercise range from simple weight loss to the mobilization of harmful visceral fat. to evidence-based lifestyle medicine.

Visceral fat cannot be seen. It is located behind the abdominal muscles, the surrounding organs are located deep in the abdomen. According to the Cleveland Clinic, if visceral fat makes up about 10% of your total body fat mass, that is normal and healthy. However, too much visceral fat can cause inflammation, contributing to chronic disease.

“This study confirms that we can profoundly change our metabolic state,” said leading nutrition researcher Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. TH Chan and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said.

Willett, who was not involved in the study, said we now need to provide a supportive environment and resources to help people make this change as this will benefit both the individual and the individual. society in general.

The study is part of an eight-year randomized clinical trial in Spain, with 23 research centers testing whether diet and exercise can reduce cardiovascular risk in men. and what it’s like for women between the ages of 55 and 75. All 6,874 trial participants were overweight. or are obese and have metabolic syndrome with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, altered cholesterol, and excess fat around the waist.

The new study, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Network Open, examined one- and three-year outcomes in a small group of 1,521 people scanned to determine levels of visceral belly fat.

Half the group were asked to follow a Mediterranean diet with a 30% reduction in calories and limited intake of added sugar, cookies, bread and refined grains, butter, cream, processed meats and drinks. have sugar. In addition, the intervention group received help from trained nutritionists three times a month for the first year, along with training on self-monitoring and goal setting.

That group was also asked to increase their aerobic exercise over time to walking 45 minutes or more per day along with exercises to improve strength, flexibility and balance, all of which were very helpful. important for aging well.

When you cut calories, you lose both lean and fat mass. When you supplement exercise, it helps preserve lean muscle mass, especially if you supplement with Resistance training exercises to build muscle. In general, the ideal is to lose fat and maintain muscle.

The remaining participants were given general advice in group sessions twice a year and served as a control group for the study.

Gunter Kuhnle, a professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Reading in the UK, says it would be more informative if the control group received the same highly targeted support (even if it was only giving general advice). did not participate in the study.

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

At the end of a year, people in the intervention group who followed a lower-calorie Mediterranean diet and exercised had lost a modest amount of body fat over the first year, but significantly more than the control group. proof. However, the intervention group regained some fat in the second and third years when dietary advice and support was removed. Less body fat loss in the control group remained stable over three years.

However, according to the study, only participants in the intervention group lost grams of visceral fat mass, while visceral fat mass did not change in the control group.

Both groups gained some lean muscle mass, but the intervention group had a more favorable body composition in that they lost more fat than muscle, the authors said.

What was most profound for me was the three-year follow-up,” said Dr. Christopher Gardner, a professor of medical research at the Stanford Prevention Research Center in California.Director of the Nutrition Research Research Group. He was not involved in the study.

We rarely have studies cited that are longer than a year,” Gardner said in an email. The magnitude of the difference at 3 years is modest, and the trend from 1 year to 3 years suggests that at 6 years the impact may have decreased to non-significant levels. However, he added, the statistically significant difference over three years is impressive!

Studies have found that the award-winning Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression and breast cancer. The diet, which is more of an eating style than a restrictive diet, is also linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart and a longer life.

The diet involves simple, plant-based cooking, with the majority of each meal focusing on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, with some nuts and seeds into extra virgin olive oil. Fats other than olive oil, such as butter, are rarely consumed, and sugar and refined foods are reserved for special occasions.

Red meat is used sparingly, usually just to flavor a dish. Eating healthy, fatty fish, high in omega-3 fatty acids, is encouraged, while eggs, milk and poultry are eaten in much smaller portions than in traditional Western diets.

Social interaction during meals and exercise is a fundamental foundation of the Mediterranean eating style. Lifestyle changes that are part of the diet include eating with friends and family, socializing at meals, eating favorite foods mindfully, and moving and exercising mindfully. Mindfulness.

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