Why “everything in moderation” is terrible diet advice

Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto, Ph.D.

Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto, Ph.D. – first author

It’s official. The “everything in moderation” diet motto is bad advice. There’s never been any compelling evidence to support it – and it makes very little sense (is drinking Coca-Cola “in moderation” better than not at all?).

Now a just-published study shows that people in the US who eat a more “diverse” diet actually gain MORE weight, with a 120% greater increase in waist circumference than the people who eat a more monotonous diet.

Even if this study is observational – and therefore proves very little by itself – it’s yet another reason to ignore the non-existent “moderation” logic. The always smart-sounding Dr. Mozaffarian (author of this legendary study) makes it clear:

“Americans with the healthiest diets actually eat a relatively small range of healthy foods,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston. “These results suggest that in modern diets, eating ‘everything in moderation’ is actually worse than eating a smaller number of healthy foods.”

Don’t eat everything in moderation. Eat as much healthy food as you can, whenever you are hungry. Eat as little unhealthy garbage as you can. If possible none at all.


I’ve added a note about this on the main How to Lose Weight page.

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