Is a diverse diet better for you? One research review says not necessarily

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A recent review of research on dietary diversity shows the recommendation to eat a large variety of foods may be way off track.

A recent review of research on dietary diversity shows the recommendation to eat a large variety of foods may be way off track.

"People eating a greater variety of foods had, in general, consumed more calories. And, in some studies, it was also linked to greater obesity," said Dr. Marcia Otto, Epidemiologist.

The American Heart Association says there's no consistent evidence that more diversity promotes healthy weight or optimal eating.

"When one is exposed to a large variety of different flavors, the appetite tends to remain up for a longer period of time, leading to greater food intake," Dr. Otto said.

Doctor Marcia Otto says there's evidence the increase in options may delay the feeling of fullness, contributing to over eating and weight gain.

Instead, heart experts say you should focus on getting a few of the right foods.

Think fish, poultry, nuts and vegetables.

Beans, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

There are however some situations where a greater variety can be a good thing.

"...for elderly populations, for example, where under-consumption of food is a potential concern. Then, increasing variety may at the same time increase intake of foods, and that may be beneficial," Dr. Otto said.

But no matter what the age, nutritionists say it's important to be sure whatever you choose to put on your plate... is good for you.

"I keep one chocolate bar dark chocolate that I love and that's my snack for the day. I know that if I had a number of different snack options I would be eating a lot more snacks," Dr. Otto said.
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healthdietinghealthy living