The common advice that could be sabotaging your waistline

For decades now, we have heard the same advice from nutritionists, doctors and other health professionals. Government policies are based upon

For decades now, we have heard the same advice from nutritionists, doctors and other health professionals. Government policies are based upon it, food pyramids have been designed with this in mind, and most of us have muttered it as we reach for a sneaky treat.

That advice is, of course: “eat everything in moderation”.

It sound like sensible advice, but it could in fact be the reason some people battle with their weight.

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston set out to see if a more diverse diet meant a person had a slimmer waistline.

After measuring the diet diversity of 6000 people, they found that people who truly stuck to the “everything” part of the moderation theory were generally heavier.

“An unexpected finding was that participants with greater diversity in their diets, as measured by dissimilarity, actually had worse diet quality. They were eating less healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and more unhealthy foods, such as processed meats, desserts and soda,” said Marcia de Oliveira Otto, lead author and assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health. “This may help explain the relationship between greater food dissimilarity and increased waist circumference.”

These people experienced greater weight gain after five years and a 120 per cent increase in waist circumstance compared to patients with less diverse diets.

People who ate more quality, healthy foods, but less variety overall were found to have a 25 per cent lower risk of developing diabetes after 10 years.

So as it turns out, eating “everything in moderation” may sound like sensible dietary advice, but it could actually increase your waistline if that variety means more unhealthy foods are sneaking into your diet.

Would you say your diet is a healthy one? What could you improve on?



  1. It is so easy to self sabotage. Especially when you’ve achieved a bit of weight loss. Sneaking in the odd little bit of this or that or returning to old habits,can so easily erode everything you’ve worked for. I was going so well, but slipped up bit and was horrified to have put on 2 kg on a particular party weekend! So I’m back on the straight and narrow again,and hoping to stay that way for at least the next 5kg!

  2. The doctor told me that pain killing medications slows your metabolism down and you put on weight. There are probably other reasons to like a slower life style as we age

    • I guess this will give some people another excuse for gaining weight. Two years ago, I got the wake up call when I finally realised I was my own worst enemy. My weight was having I huge impact on my health. I was being prescribed high doses of painkillers to ease osteoarthritis in my knees. In spite of the painkillers I am now 40 kilos lighter!

    • I guess we can blame our genes too! For example..” It runs in the family, my whole family is overweight”. It should be replaced by “my whole family eats unhealthily” I’ve used that excuse too! I know every excuse in the book!

  3. Just eat protein and low carbs…cut out the sugar…check the sugar content in everything you buy if it’s processed…other wise try to eat fresh. It does work no matter how old you are..

  4. I spoke to a dietician. The advice given opened my eyes. I thought I ate pretty healthily. Portion control is huge as is sugar and saturated fats among some other things. The incentive of a heart condition also helped.

  5. For fats and protein I use common sense; basically the “deck of cards” method for meats and fish. For carbohydrates I am lucky. I have a tool which lets me discover the definition of “moderation” for carbohydrates: my blood glucose test meter 🙂

    • That like was for your being sensible, not that you have to test your blood sugar levels. Not diabetic myself but a family member is.

    • Thanks Patricia, although as a diabetic being sensible and testing are the same thing. I hope your family member agrees 🙂

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