A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association has stated that people who eat a wide variety of foods to ensure they meet all their dietary needs need to stop doing it as it has the potential to backfire.
Marcia C de Oliveira Otto, lead author of the statement published in the American Heart Association Journal Circulation said “Eating a more diverse diet might be associated with eating a greater variety of both healthy and unhealthy foods,” according to the publication. “Combined, such an eating pattern may lead to increased food consumption and obesity,” she added.
It is to be noted that eating a variety of foods has so far been a public health recommendation in the United States and worldwide for decades. The authors who issued the statement had conducted a thorough scientific literature review of articles published between January 2000 and December 2017.
The review gave the following conclusions:
- 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.
The statement authors concluded that dietary recommendations should emphasize the 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, instead of telling people to eat a variety of foods and also limit the consumption of red meat, sweets and sugary drinks.
“Stick to what suits”
“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, assistant professor, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, UT Health School of Public Health in Houston.
The co-authors of the statement were Cheryl A M Anderson; Jennifer L Dearborn; Erin P Ferranti; Dariush Mozaffarian; Goutham Rao, Judith Wylie-Rosett and Alice H Lichtenstein.