A diverse diet may lead to obesity, new study finds

By @sachintrivedig on
Vegetables
Vegetables made from felt are seen at the art installation of British artist Lucy Sparrow, 32, in Los Angeles, California. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

Dieticians have advised people to have diverse foods as a way of healthy living. However, there is little consensus on what this diversity should be exactly. The result is a blind strategy of diversity that one study finds can lead to obesity.

According to a scientific statement by the American Heart Association, encouraging people to eat a wide variety of foods may backfire, ScienceDaily reports. Instead of helping people lose weight or lead a healthy lifestyle, the idea of eating a wide variety of foods could lead to the habit of overeating.

"Eating a more diverse diet might be associated with eating a greater variety of both healthy and unhealthy foods," said Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto, Ph.D., lead author of the statement published in the American Heart Association journal “Circulation.” “Combined, such an eating pattern may lead to increased food consumption and obesity.”

The authors who made this statement are basing their argument on a study they conducted by reviewing scientific literature from January 2000 to December 2017.

The result of this study reveals that there is no evidence to suggest that having a diverse diet promotes healthy weight or good eating habits. There is, however, some evidence that suggest that eating a wide variety of foods leads to people not feeling full, and this leads them to increase the amount of food they consume. There is also some evidence that suggest that dietary diversity leads to “poor eating patterns and weight gain in adults.”

Otto said that people should choose from a range of healthy foods that fit one’s budget, rather than go for a wide variety of foods that may include unhealthy choices like cheeseburgers, fries, chips and donuts.

The authors of the statement advised people that instead of diversifying their diet, they should focus on making sure they are eating enough plant foods like vegetables and fruits, whole grains, non-tropical vegetable oils, nuts, poultry, low-fat dairy, and fish. They also recommend people to reduce the consumption of sweets, sugary drinks and red meat.