New research*, supported by the California Walnut Commission, shows that a green Mediterranean diet can reduce non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by half, by reducing intrahepatic fat.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the term for a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. It is usually seen in people who are overweight or obese. Itis estimated up to 1 in every 3 people in the UK has early stages of NAFLD**.

The results, from a long-term clinical intervention trial led by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers, were published in Gut – a leading international journal focused on gastroenterology and hepatology.

In an 18-month randomised clinical trial, 294 participants with abdominal obesity were randomly divided into three groups and followed a healthy dietary regimen, Mediterranean diet, or a green Mediterranean diet – which includes 28g of walnuts per day, less processed and red meat and green plant-based proteins/polyphenols. All groups also followed a physical exercise regime.

The results showed that every diet led to liver fat reduction. However, the green MED diet resulted in the greatest reduction of hepatic fat (-39%), as compared to the traditional Mediterranean diet (-20%) and the healthy dietary guidelines (-12%). The results were significant after adjusting for weight loss.

Overall, the green MED diet produced dramatic reductions in fatty liver. NAFLD prevalence dropped from 62% at baseline to 31.5% in the green Mediterranean group, down to 47.9% in the Mediterranean group, and 54.8% in the healthy dietary regimen group.

This follows research*** conducted by Dr. Gal Tsaban and Prof. Iris Shai of Ben-Gurion University and published in the online journal Heart in November 2020, which suggested that a green Mediterranean diet may be better for cardiovascular health and weight loss than the traditional Mediterranean diet.

Over 30 years of research suggests that California Walnuts may offer benefits for weight loss, gut health, heart health and more.


* The effect of green Mediterranean diet on intrahepatic fat; The DIRECT PLUS randomized controlled trial