Adding a variety of foods to diet is neither good for health nor for weight reduction and a diverse diet may not be the healthiest one finds a new study.
Diet has been an important aspect for primary prevention of diseases as well as managing lifestyle non-communicable diseases. The goals of dietary guidelines have shifted dramatically from prevention of clinical nutrient deficiencies towards recommendations to limit intake of specific nutrients (e.g. saturated fats, sodium) in the context of the growing obesity epidemic and awareness of dietary contributions to increasing burden of obesity, diabetes, and CVD.
From time to time dietary recommendations have been released not only for upgrading general health but taking care of specific diseases. It is generally perceived that encouraging people to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure they meet all their dietary needs is healthy. But the Scientific evidence does not support this notion and in fact, some studies suggest that a diverse diet may increase food consumption and the prevalence of obesity.
Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto and colleagues have conducted a study to find out utility and benefits of a diverse diet which has been published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. The conclusions of the study are –
- There is no evidence that greater overall dietary diversity promotes healthy weight or optimal eating.
- There is some evidence that a wider variety of food options in a meal may delay people’s feeling of satiation (fullness), increasing the amount of food they eat.
- Limited evidence suggests that greater dietary diversity is associated with eating more calories, poor eating patterns and weight gain in adults.
“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 in his statement. “Combined, such an eating pattern may lead to increased food consumption and obesity.
“Selecting a range of healthy foods, which fits one’s budget or taste, and sticking with them, is potentially better at helping people maintain a healthy weight than choosing a greater range of foods that may include less healthy items such as donuts, chips, fries and cheeseburgers, even in moderation,” said Otto, who is also assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston.
The 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, sweets and sugary drinks. The best way is to follow The American Heart Association Dietary Recommendations and the DASH Diet which are both examples of healthy eating patterns.
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Dr. Kamal Kant Kohli
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