Eating a diverse diet is not an effective strategy to promote healthy eating patterns and healthy body weight, according to a recent science advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA). The advisory reviews the evidence from observational studies on dietary diversity and its relationship with food-based diet quality, body weight, and adiposity measures. It also reviews evidence from intervention studies evaluating the influence of dietary variety on dietary factors relevant to obesity while providing recommendations for future researched needed to inform dietary guidelines. Among the highlights and conclusions:
- Observational studies do not support benefits of greater diversity for healthy weight or optimal eating pattern.
- Some studies suggest that a diverse diet may increase food consumption and the prevalence of obesity.
- Based on the current state of science on dietary diversity, it’s appropriate to promote a healthy eating pattern that emphasizes adequate intake of plant foods, protein sources, low-fat dairy products, vegetable oils and nuts, while limiting consumption of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats.
de Oliveira MC, Anderson CAM, Dearborn JL, et al. Dietary diversity: Implications for obesity prevention in adult populations. A science advisory from the American Heart Association. [Published online ahead of print August 9, 2018]. Circulation. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000595.