When It Comes to Your Diet, Variety Is Not the Key

Americans with the healthiest diets only eat a small range of healthy foods
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2015 5:03 AM CST
Updated Nov 2, 2015 7:05 AM CST
When It Comes to Your Diet, Variety Is Not the Key
This Feb. 2, 2015, photo shows chopped kale and lentil winter salad.   (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Have a favorite food you find yourself eating day in and day out? If it's healthy, new research suggests you should stop feeling guilty about it, because eating "everything in moderation" may not be as healthy as we think. Reporting in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers say that based on a survey of the number of foods that 6,814 white, black, Hispanic, and Chinese Americans eat in a week, people who ate the greatest variety of food actually had the worst metabolic health and diets. Those achieving greater diversity "were eating less healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and more unhealthy foods, such as processed meats, desserts and soda," says the lead researcher. Not surprisingly, these were the people with thicker waistlines and higher risks of developing type 2 diabetes 10 years later.

"Americans with the healthiest diets actually eat a relatively small range of healthy foods," one author at Tufts University says in a press release. "These results suggest that in modern diets, eating 'everything in moderation' is actually worse than eating a smaller number of healthy foods." Meanwhile, recent research shows that processed, red meats likely increase the risk of certain cancers, while low-fat diets don’t necessarily result in weight loss. In other words, "The way we’re used to eating is wrong," reports Forbes. (If you really want to lose weight, research says, don't eat animals.)

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