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.
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“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?