The very first study lasting for a long duration using MRI technology to map fat deposits and how it changes showed a positive side effect of the Mediterranean diet and a moderate level of exercise.
A new diet study recently published in the journal of the American Heart Association, Circulation, revealed that throughout 18 months, a Mediterranean-low-carb beats a low-fat diet when decreasing pools of fat in the body, even though weight loss is moderate.
“Weighing patients or using blood tests to detect changes hasn’t, until now, given us accurate pictures, literally, of how different fat deposits are impacted disproportionately by diet and exercise,” said Prof. Iris Shai of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, an investigator of the trial using CENTRAL MRI.
“These findings suggest that moderate exercise combined with a Mediterranean/low carb diet may help reduce the amount of some fat deposits even if you don’t lose significant weight as part of the effort.”
CENTRAL MRI consisted of a random and controlled trial that involved 278 sedentary, somewhat overweight up to obese women and men, and was the first instance where MRI imaging technology had been used to map changes within multiple fat-storage pools in the body over 18 months of the Med and low-fat diets.
The study had been initiated by the university’s scientists and the Dimona Nuclear Research Center as well as Soroka University’s Medical Centre in Israel. Researchers from the US-based Harvard University and Germany’s Leipzig University collaborated as well.
“ We learned in this trial that moderate, but persistent, weight loss may have dramatic beneficial effects on fat deposits related to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases,” said Shai.
Shai also mentioned that any Mediterranean diet that is rich in unsaturated fats in addition to low carbs is more of an effective tactic than moderate-carbohydrate and low-fat diets when attempting to dramatically decrease fat-storage pools.
“The CENTRAL study demonstrates that improving nutritional quality and being physically active can improve cardio-metabolic risk markers through changes in visceral/ectopic fat deposits that are not reflected by changes in body weight alone,” concluded Shai