Adherence to plant-based diet tied to lower visceral adipose tissue
Adherence to a diet consisting of fruits and vegetables results in a lower visceral adipose tissue, suggests a recent study.
The authors evaluated diet in a population-based sample of 578 individuals from Northern Germany (median age, 62 years; 57 percent male) using a validated food frequency questionnaire and derived an overall, a healthy, and an unhealthy plant-based diet index. Participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging to assess volumes of visceral and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue and liver signal intensity (LSI), a measure of liver fat content. Fatty liver disease (FLD) was defined as log LSI ≥3.0.
Linear and logistic regression analyses were carried out to examine the cross-sectional associations of the plant-based diet indices with visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat volumes, LSI, and FLD. The most comprehensive model adjusted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), education, alcohol, smoking, energy intake, physical activity, diabetes, and hyperlipidaemia.
Multivariable-adjusted models without BMI showed that both higher overall and healthy plant-based diet indices were significantly associated with lower visceral and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue volumes, and with a reduced risk of FLD.
When adjusted for BMI, only the association of the healthy plant-based diet with visceral adipose tissue remained statistically significant (per 10-point higher healthy plant-based diet index, percentage change in visceral adipose tissue, –4.9 percent, 95 percent confidence interval, –8.6 to –2.0 percent).
On the other hand, no plant-based diet index correlated with LSI. The unhealthy plant-based diet index was also not associated with any of the abdominal or liver fat parameters.