Produce Rainbow

Everything in Moderation?

S1 FigDietary advice commonly calls for eating a variety of everything in moderation. But like a lot of dietary aphorisms, it seems that dietary variety might be a little overrated. A new study in PLOS ONE finds that greater dietary variety is actually associated with a higher waist circumference. The authors concluded that it is dietary quality, not diversity that matters for obesity and metabolic health. They conclude:

Our findings provide little evidence for benefits of dietary diversity for either waist circumference or T2D [type 2 diabetes]. Greater dissimilarity among foods was actually positively associated with increase in waist circumference. Our results challenge the notion that “eating everything in moderation” leads to greater diet quality or better metabolic health.

So maybe your children who settle into healthy patterns of sticking with a few good foods that they like are going to be just fine. Maybe the advice to eat a variety of foods from the pyramid was better for food marketers than our metabolic health.

It pays to question the conventional wisdom from time to time.

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” — Oscar Wilde

Click here for the study and here to read more from Science 2.0.

Produce Rainbow, photograph © Ben Seese / flickr

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November 14, 2015

5 Responses to “Everything in Moderation?”

  1. November 14, 2015 at 9:16 am, Allen Browne said:

    Very interesting!

  2. November 16, 2015 at 1:03 pm, Emily Dhurandhar said:

    Very interesting. Actually, this is congruent with another fairly consistent finding from other studies- that we eat more calories when more options are available. We call it the “buffet effect”- it seems we may be almost programmed to want to try everything!

    • November 16, 2015 at 6:26 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks, Emily, for sharing your knowledge and perspective.

  3. November 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm, Susan Burke March said:

    The quote from Oscar Wilde is perfect! So, what does “moderation” mean? Different things to different people – I remember when a friend said that to me…”everything in moderation, right?”
    Well, what is moderation to you?
    “You know, moderation – once a day, but no more”.

    • November 20, 2015 at 3:38 am, Ted said:

      Ha! Thanks, Susan.