A varied diet makes you fat, say scientists

Having a diverse diet may actually be harmful

Having a diverse diet may actually be harmful

"We looked at all the evidence that was out there and saw a link between dietary diversity and a greater intake of both healthy and unhealthy foods", according to Otto, an assistant professor of at the University of Texas's Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences.

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.

For decades, people have been told to eat a variety of different foods to ensure their bodies receive all the minerals and nutrients it requires, but the American Heart Association paper suggests otherwise. But the new AHA advisory highlights the lack of standardization or consensus about what exactly dietary diversity or variety means and how it is best measured. The issue: People may not interpret "variety" the way nutritionists intend. There is some evidence that a greater variety of food options in a single meal may delay people's feeling of fullness and actually increase how much they eat.

Doctors with the America Heart Association say there's no proof that a diverse diet is healthy.

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The new advisory points out that there are many ways to define a varied diet, and some of them aren't so healthy.

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. "Understanding the influence of diet diversity on eating patterns is increasingly important in middle- and high-income countries where excessive calorie consumption and obesity are common and populations need support in making healthy choices".

A good diet ultimately comes down to quality, with an emphasis on plant foods, protein sources, vegetable oils and nuts, and with limits on candies, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats, researchers noted.

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