A Diverse Diet May Not Be the Healthiest One

Having a diverse diet may actually be harmful

Scientists are convinced that all those who hold too wide variety in their diet should understand that these eating habits can cause serious health problems. However, dietary diversity has not been defined or measured well enough to guarantee that it is a healthy goal.

"Eating a more diverse diet might be associated with eating a greater variety of both healthy and unhealthy foods", explained lead author Marcia C.de Oliveira Otto.

The recommendation conflicts with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends that people "focus on variety" when it comes to their diet and "choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts" across a range of vegetables, fruits, grain-based foods like bread and pasta, dairy, and proteins including red meat, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts.

The authors, who thoroughly studied numerous articles published over almost two decades, said they actually found there may be a link between food diversity and lower diet quality, as well as excess food intake, Medical Daily reported.

Instead of telling people to eat a variety of foods, the statement authors conclude that dietary recommendations should emphasize adequate consumption of plant foods, such as fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains, low-fat dairy products, non-tropical vegetable oils, nuts, poultry and fish, and limit consumption of red meat, candies and sugary drinks.

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Otto is an assistant professor of epidemiology, human genetics and environmental sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston.

It concludes that dietary recommendations should encourage people to eat adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, low-fat dairy products, non-tropical vegetable oils, nuts, poultry and fish, and to limit red meat, candies and sugary drinks.

This article has been republished from materials provided by the American Heart Association.

- There is no evidence that greater overall dietary diversity promotes healthy weight or optimal eating.

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