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"Green Med Diet" May be Healthier

Tracy Davenport Tracy Davenport
Food & Beverages
7th December 2020
"Green Med Diet" May be Healthier
Early findings show potential for even greater health benefits (Getty Images).

The Claim

The “Green Med Diet” may be better for health.

Emerging story

Some on social media are touting that one change to an already healthy diet may be even more beneficial. According to Twitter users, a Mediterranean diet with even more plants added may be even better. 

Misbar’s Analysis

According to Mayoclinic.org, the Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean diet is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be a healthy plan for eating and has even been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks. Heart disease is the main cause of death in developed countries. Misbar has discovered that recent research has demonstrated that a small modification to the already healthy diet may be even better for health. 

Research published in the Journal Heart examined whether a Mediterranean diet containing even more plant matter and very little red meat or poultry, was even better for cardiovascular and metabolic health than the traditional version. They put participants into three groups: one group was provided education only; one group followed a calorie-restricted (1500-1800 kcal/day for men and 1200-1400 kcal/ day for women) traditional Mediterranean diet; and one group was put on the “green Med” diet that included 28 g/day walnuts, avoidance of red/processed meat, and higher quantities of plant matter. It also included 3-4 cups/day of green tea and 100 g frozen cubes of Wolffia globosa, a high protein form of the aquatic plant duckweed, taken as a green plant-based protein shake as a partial substitute for animal protein.

Out of the three groups, the “green med” group fared the best. Those on both types of Mediterranean diet lost more weight: green Med 6.2 kg; Mediterranean 5.4 kg; healthy diet 1.5 kg. Waist circumference shrank by an average of 8.6 cm among those on the green Med diet compared with 6.8 cm for those on the Mediterranean diet and 4.3 cm for those on the healthy diet. The green Med diet group achieved larger falls in 'bad' cholesterol.

Similarly, other cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors improved more among those on the green Med diet, including falls in diastolic blood pressure, insulin resistance, and an important marker of inflammation, C-reactive protein, which has a key role in artery hardening. The ratio of 'good' to 'bad' cholesterol also increased.

Year after year, the Mediterranean diet comes out on top in the U.S. News and World Report annual ranking of best diets and is recommended by the American Heart Association. While more research needs to be done on the “greener” version of the classic, early findings show potential for even greater health benefits. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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