Green Mediterranean Diet: What It Is, Benefits, Facts

Just when you thought you had mastered the Mediterranean diet (olive oil, nuts, fish…), scientists flipped the script. New research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that people following the so-called Green Mediterranean Diet had a two-fold increase in fasting levels of ghrelin – the hormone that controls hunger and influences weight loss, says lead author Gal Tsaban, MD

So what is the difference between the two?

“The Green Mediterranean Diet included replacing meat-based protein with mankai, a vegetable protein that is also high in fiber and increases the dose of dietary polyphenols,” compounds in green tea known to be high in antioxidants that play a role in in increasing insulin sensitivity, says Dr. Tsaban.

Beyond that, the two diets are very similar, with an emphasis on fresh produce, healthy fats, and complex carbs.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Green Diet

While the exact mechanisms by which ghrelin influences insulin production and fat loss are still under investigation, it is clear that most people looking to shed a few pounds will do better on the Green Med diet compared to to the original, says Dr. Tsaban.

How to Switch to the Green Mediterranean Diet

Replace lean beef with a plant-based alternative (eg, Impossible or Beyond Meat) and coffee with green tea. And know that if you follow the green or traditional Med diet, you are still ahead of those who follow neither in terms of health.

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Richard V. Johnson