Is a diverse diet healthy for you? - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Healthy cut fruit and vegetables on display in store window of a grocery store in the East Village New York N.Y

According to the American Heart Association's latest scientific statement, a diverse diet, otherwise called a "varied diet", could just lead to eating more calories, which in turn increases risks of obesity.

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 suggestion that people try to eat a variety of foods has been a basic public health recommendation for decades.

Marcia C.de Oliveira Otto, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health, explained why variety can also be your waistline's enemy rather than friend in the paper published today in the AHA's scientific journal Circulation. The majority of these studies showed that people ate significantly more when served a wider variety of foods, as opposed to a single item.

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At issue is what constitutes as "dietary diversity". "It is not clearly and consistently defined across the board, and there is no useful measure of it".

"The phenomenon of sensory satiation is very important - when something new is presented to us, we tend to eat more and more", Rao said, according to ABC News.

The experts also found some evidence which indicates that greater dietary diversity is linked to unhealthy eating patterns, including higher calorie consumption, and weight gain in adults.

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. "Recent evidence suggests this approach may not help improve people's eating habits, nor prevent obesity in places where processed, unhealthy food options are very common, wide-ranging and relatively low-priced".

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