Dietary Diversity Debunked: Researchers Say Varied Diet May Lead to Obesity

The very concept of following a healthy diet implies eating various vegetables, fruit, lean meat, fish and other foods that are laden with nutrients and benefit the body. However, if diversity becomes the key feature of your diet with no focus on the quality of food, it may be a drawback: according to scientists, eating a varied diet may be associated with weight gain.

Image Credit: nationalgeographic.com

The current guidelines issued by the CDC say that eating a healthy diet does not necessarily imply ditching everything you have always loved, including foods with additives and high in fat. The key is to consume them in moderation. The message there is that you can eat almost any food you like if waistline offenders are eaten seldom and in smaller amounts.

While the advice seems reasonable–if people are prohibited to eat comfort foods at all, it can cause depression – it is clear that such an approach makes your diet invariably diverse. Today it’s a salad with veggies and salmon, tomorrow it’s donuts and French fries. You definitely can lose weight by eating unhealthy foods less often and reinventing your good old pasta to make it less fatty, and this kind of nutrition is still superior to indulging in fat-sugar-and-salt foods daily. But the diversity of such a diet can be a risk factor, say researchers.

Dubious diversity

Perhaps, one of the reasons why the news is controversial is that there is no single definition of a diverse diet. A diverse diet implies eating many different foods, with no regard to their quality. Healthy diets are usually diverse, but diverse diets are not necessarily healthy. A new study supports this statement.

It has recently been reported by the American Heart Association that having many different foods on your menu may result in having extra pounds and unhealthy eating habits. Having reviewed the articles published in 2000-2017 revolving around the issue of dieting, the scientists came to the conclusion that diverse diets may be associated with consumption of more calories and obesity resulting from it.

According to them, a person who prefers to ring the changes with the menu often, when the amounts of salads and soda bounce around, is more likely to gain weight due to a delayed satiation feeling. Since it takes more time (and food) for such a person to achieve the feeling of fullness, more calories are eaten. Besides, diet diversity may breed unhealthy eating patterns.

OK, so what are we to do?

Actually, it all boils down to the question of what is implied by diversity. If it means eating a wide range of vegetables, fruit, lean meats and fish, such a diet is worthy of the ‘healthy’ title. It is recommended that the guidelines by the AHA or the DASH diet are used, as they offer healthier options and focus more on the variety of plant foods, fish and poultry rather than on diversity proper.

Even if the intake of burgers and sweets is moderate, it is not enough to call a diet healthy, and as new evidence shows, it can even lead to weight gain. Instead, consider the variety of dishes healthy diets offer: there are so many veggies and herbs that the number of dishes you can create is really impressive. For many foods that are so tempting yet rich in fat and sugar, there are substitutes which may be just as delicious.

Even if your budget is tight enough not to enable you to eat avocados daily or indulge in salmon steaks every couple of days, you can find the dishes that do not cost a bomb while providing nutrients and benefiting your health.

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