Diets Should Stress Healthy Foods, Not Diversity
Written by Chris G. Dalrymple D.C., F.I.C.C.   
Sunday, August 19, 2018 09:28 PM

A diverse diet may not be best for weight loss, according to a science advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA).  

Opposing the long-standing belief that a diverse diet is necessary for proper nutrition, the AHA highlighted observational research that instead suggests that a diverse diet may lead to a greater intake of highly processed foods, refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages, leading to weight gain and obesity.

In the same vein, aiming for a diverse diet — rather than a healthy, high-quality diet — may also lead to less consumption of minimally processed foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and fish.

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.  Instead, the AHA recommended people aim for adequate intake of healthier foods, focusing on a high-quality diet of plants, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, vegetable oils, and nuts to lower disease risk, reflected by the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan.

“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."