AHA: Focus on healthy foods, not diversity

Healthy food for heart. Fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, berries and nuts. Healthy food, diet and healthy heart concept

Could a diverse diet make it easier to lose weight and eat healthy? According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans a diverse diet is an important part of a healthy diet, based on very little hard science. The American Heart Association (AHA) now disagrees with these governmental dietary guidelines.

The AHA instead suggest that advising people to eat a diverse diet can instead lead to greater intake of processed and sugary foods, potentially resulting in weight gain and obesity. Oliveira Otto from the AHA explains this further:

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.

The take-home message here is that it’s better to eat a less varied diet, if it’s based on healthy foods. A varied diet that includes less healthy and processed foods is worse. So the focus should be on healthy foods, not diversity.

Unfortunately, the AHA is still on the low-fat bandwagon, but it is a step in the right direction to tone down the rhetoric about the need for dietary diversity.

NYT: AHA: Diets Should Stress Healthy Foods, Not Diversity

Earlier

Dr. Ludwig in the NYT: The toll of America’s obesity

Reflections on humans held captive in a carbohydrate culture

Low carb

One comment

  1. Delta
    I'm struggling with the false dichotomy presented here. The options are not diverse but includes bad stuff, and not diverse. There are loads of people who eat very diverse diets without any junk at all, and loads of people who eat very singular diets consisting of almost entirely junk.

    I am inclined to believe that diversity of diet is best when it consists of whole healthy foods, but if you do not have access to a diversity of whole healthy foods, then yes, eat a more limited diet to avoid adding junk *just* to add diversity.

    There are details which matter, I think trying to make it too simplistic defeats the purpose.

Leave a reply

Reply to comment #0 by

Older posts