Study: Mediterranean diet could help burn belly fat, muscle loss caused by aging

It seems like nearly every other year there's a new diet or new food trend aimed at getting people in shape. 

While the debate over which one works the best continues to rage on, a new study Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea-Plus (PREDIMED-Plus) revealed that the Mediterranean diet, alongside regular physical activity can blast that unwanted belly fat. 

 The study, published in JAMA Network Open on Oct. 18, was designed to determine if the Mediterranean diet is useful in combating cardiovascular disease however, a subgroup within the study was evaluated to measure the impact on body composition after a three-year period. 

The results showed that when patients combined physical activity with the diet, it appeared to reduce aging-related weight gain and muscle loss. 

A total of 1,521 middle-aged and older participants, who were either overweight or had obesity and metabolic syndrome, were separated into two groups.

The first group followed a Mediterranean diet, reducing their calorie intake by 30% and increasing their physical activity.

The second group followed a Mediterranean diet without calorie restrictions or changes in physical activity.

The participants in the first group experienced "clinically meaningful" changes in body composition throughout the three-year experiment, according to the researchers.

This included a 5% or greater improvement in fat mass, visceral (belly) fat mass and loss of lean muscle mass after only one year of following the diet.

FOX News contributed to this story. It was reported from Los Angeles.