What REALLY happens to your body when you eat: Different foods influence how fat is stored, reveal scans, and the ONE diet that is best for the heart and liver

- Eating a Mediterranean diet reduces fat storage around the heart and liver
- Mediterranean-diet lunches three times a week decrease waist circumference
- Weight loss is similar between people eating low-fat and Mediterranean diets
- Past research shows Mediterranean diets reverse artery narrowing from plaque
- Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev analysed 278 people


Scan images reveal for the first time how weight is stored in the body, why low-fat is not always healthier and the one diet that is best. 

 

Compared to a low-fat diet, eating Mediterranean foods with a minimal-carb intake for lunch just three times a week significantly reduces fat storage around the heart and liver, a study found.

 

After 18 months, adopting a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and nuts also significantly reduces people's waist circumference, the research adds.

 

Lead author Professor Iris Shai from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, said: '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.

 

'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.' 

 

Previous research reveals storing excess fat around the organs increases a person's risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.  

 

Mediterranean diets significantly reduce fat storage around the liver and heart


How the research was carried out 

The researchers analysed 278 sedentary adults with abdominal obesity or abnormally high levels of lipids in their blood.

 

The study's participants were given either a low-fat or Mediterranean-diet lunch at least three times a week over 18 months.

 

Both lunches contained the same number of calories. All of the participants also received a daily 28g snack of walnuts.

 

Some of the participants were given free gym membership to complete moderate physical activity.

 

Whole-body MRI scans were taken at six and 18 months.

 

Mediterranean diets reduce waist circumference and internal fat 


Results reveal exercise combined with a Mediterranean diet significantly reduces fat storage around the heart and liver more than eating low-fat food.

 

Such a diet also decreases waist circumference.

 

Weight loss is similar between people eating either diets.

 

Professor Shai said: '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.

 

'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.' 

 

These findings build on previous research that revealed low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean diets reduce people's risk of suffering heart disease, diabetes or stroke, as well as reversing artery narrowing from plaque build-up.

 

The current study's results were published in the journal Circulation.



This article was written by Alexandra Thompson - Health Reporter for Mail Online.