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Mediterranean diet supports healthy body composition during perimenopause

16 May 2020

Following a Mediterranean diet (MD), which is characterized by increased intake of whole-grain cereals, nuts, fruits, pulses, whole dairy products and olive oil, and lower consumption of sweetened beverages, along with tobacco avoidance, may contribute to a healthier body composition during menopause, a study has found.

The analysis included 176 perimenopausal women from the FLAMENCO project, all of whom completed a food frequency questionnaire. Researchers assessed adherence to MD and measured body composition using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Consumption of whole-grain cereals was associated with lower waist circumference (WC), fat mass (FM) percentage, android FM, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and higher gynecoid to total fat mass ratio (G/T) (p<0.05). Intakes of nuts and fruits were linked to lower body mass index (BMI) and FM percentage (p<0.05). Eating fruits also contributed to lower total and android FM, android to gynecoid fat mass ratio (A/G) and VAT, and higher G/T (p<0.05).

Meanwhile, intake of pulses was tied to lower weight, BMI and android FM; intake of whole dairy products conferred reductions in weight, BMI, WC, total and android FM, and VAT; and intake of olive oil was associated with lower WC and FM percentage (p<0.05).

Consumption of sweetened beverages was linked to higher weight, BMI, WC, FM percentage, android FM, VAT and total FM (p<0.05).

Generally, women who smoked had a lower MD adherence compared with those who did not use tobacco (p<0.05). A greater MD adherence was associated with higher G/T (p<0.01) and lower A/G (p<0.05).

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