Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

A place to get your questions answered from McDougall staff dietitian, Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.

Moderators: JeffN, Heather McDougall, carolve

Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

Postby Clairembart » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:35 am

Hi Jeff,

Is there any evidence showing that eating a large variety of foods is any better than eating a small variety of foods?

I have always been told to eat many varieties of each food groups to get all the needed nutrients. However when I have had the opportunity to visit native traditional societies, it is noticeable that they eat from the same small group of food products 99% of the time.

As the joke goes: they eat rice and beans for breakfast, beans and rice for lunch and they mix their leftovers for dinner. It could be corn and black beans, or rice and lentils, etc. The idea is that the same foods are eaten on a daily basis. Usually a grain and a legume with a small portion of vegetables and other food products.

It has been argued that they eat this way because that is all they have. Or all they can afford. Or that they don’t know any better. Others have argued that one’s digestive system gets perfectly used to a smaller number of foods and it performs much better with the adequate combination of bacterial flora and the right amount of enzymes and bile for their limited diet. Hence they argue in favor of a simplified diet and that there are no advantage to eating several kinds of grains or legumes.

Looking at the Okinawa traditional diet, they were eating a limited amount of food products and that did not stop them from becoming one of the most famous group of centenarians.

For myself, I do enjoy eating very similar meals day after day. I don’t get bored and/or feel that anything is missing. My “belief” is that it is important to eat a variety of “food groups” but that it is not necessary at all to eat a variety of products within each food group. One representative of each group is just fine. One grain, one legume, one green leafy vegetable, one root vegetable, one fruit, etc. But really my question is: even though it may be fine to eat a limited diet, is there actually any advantage to it?

Your thoughts? I understand this may be more of an anthropological question than a nutritional question but I am curious- are you aware of any research about this topic?

Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:59 pm
Location: Quebec Canada

Re: Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

Postby JeffN » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:05 am


Many cultures around the world have survived, (and even thrived) on very limited food supplies with very limited varieties of the foods. Not only the Okinawans and Chinese centenarians on mostly sweet potatoes but also the Tarahumara's & the Pima's in the Sierra Madre's Mountains of Mexico on corn and beans, the Papau of New Guinea, the Irish on potatoes, etc, And of course, the simple variety available to them changed somewhat over the course of the year.

The "proven" advantages of this is that reducing food variety, reduces food intake. So, it is a great strategy for someone wanting to reduce their caloric intake.

In fact, the food industry takes advantage of this in reverse. Its a phenomenon known as the "salad bar" effect. They know that the more varieties of their product they make available to you, the more you will buy and the more you will consume (~25%). ... ct/#.W22A-

Personally, I think there is a lot to be said for simplicity.

I wrote this about 10 years ago on this very topic

Simplicity: The Key to Health!
Chef Jeff's Weekly Health Tips
December 7, 1998

"Variety" may be the "spice of life" but "simplicity" is truly the "key to health"

Over the last 16 years of following the principles of "healthful living", I often hear the following comment...

"Jeff, this is SIMPLE for you to do and follow because you have been doing it for so LONG".

To which I respond...

"You have it backwards, the reason I have been able to do this for so LONG is because I have always kept it so SIMPLE."

Well, turns out that maybe I am correct as my personal philosophy and thoughts were just recently supported by an interesting study that was done. These results may also be able to help many of you by pointing out the "key" component to following a program of healthful living successfully.

This study was designed to test the theory that very simple, uncomplicated diets would result in higher levels of compliance/adherence and weight loss in an outpatient setting then diets with more variety and complexity. The study was a realistic test of what can be achieved by dietary treatment alone for obese patients because the patients were typical of the general population who are trying to lose weight. They traveled to the clinic at their own expense, neither paid nor received money, and bought the food they ate at normal retail outlets. No drug or surgical treatment was offered and no exercise or behavioral therapy programs were provided.

The patients were randomized to one of three diets, each of which was designed to produce an initial energy deficit sufficient to produce weight loss. The three diets were of increasing variety and consisted of......

1) a very simple diet (VSD) which included just one food;

2) the same very simple diet (VSD+V) with added variety of fruits and vegetables; and

3) a typical conventional diet (TCD).

The patients completing the trial in the simple diet group achieved the highest overall mean weight loss (~25 lbs in 16 weeks). Compliance/adherence was similar for the two simple diets but much lower for the typical conventional diet. It was easier for the subjects to stick to the simple diets.

The authors expected that patients on the simple diet with added variety would have a greater weight loss than those on the the simplest diet as it was still simple but much less boring and patients were more likely to comply with it. However, the greatest weight loss was in the patients on the simplest diet alone.

While neither the authors of the study nor I am recommending anyone to live on a diet of just one food, the study does make a very interesting and key point. And that is, that the simpler the diet, the greater the compliance and the greater the results. The two simplest diets produced the greatest compliance and the greatest results. The typical complex diet had the lowest compliance and produced the least amount of weight loss.

The more we try to complicate our diets and/or lifestyle, the harder they become to follow. The key to any diet or lifestyle program is simplicity. Very few of us have the time and/or energy to spend extra hours in the kitchen or in the food stores. Nor do we have the time to learn 100's of new recipes and food products.

So, don't try to complicate your program of healthful living.

Find out what works for you and stick to it. Create simple meals based around vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.

For Breakfast..
Whole grain cereal
Fresh Fruit

For Lunch &/or Dinner
Steamed Vegetables
Complex Carbohydrate (Rice, Potato, Yam, Legumes, etc)
Legumes (beans)


Keep your overall program and menu simple. Look for variety within each of the food groups by using different varieties of vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains over the course of a day or a week.

As a mentor of mine once said, "this programs (healthful living) is not supposed to become your life, it is supposed to give you your life back".

So, Keep It Simple!!

Because simplicity REALLY is....

"The Key To Health"

Have another great week, and remember...

Your Health Is Your Greatest Wealth!

In Health,

BMJ. 1998 November 28; 317(7171): 1487–1489.
User avatar
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Postby Karen in FL » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:46 am

I think this (Simplicity: The Key to Health) is one of the most helpful posts I've read in a long time! I keep trying to complicate matters - while for the best results I need to KISS.

User avatar
Karen in FL
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:41 pm

Dr. Lisle discussed a test

Postby SactoBob » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:09 am

Never underestimate our laziness and how important it is to keep things simple. The hardest thing about the McDougall program is the transition. It takes effort, plus you have the withdrawal from the pleasure trap. But once you get a routine, it is not that hard at all to my surprise.

I notice even here that not many people are committed to strict adherence to this program, and I believe that a large part of that is the failure to get a routine going. Take breakfast. By eating the same thing every day, it is easy to shop, easy to prepare, and easy to know I am eating a good meal.

Postby cecac » Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:36 pm

Thank you for this thread. I'm new and needed it today.

I can handle simplicity.

Great thread Jeff.

Postby f1jim » Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:05 pm

You can add:
Jim Brown McDougall 54lbs lost

User avatar
Posts: 11246
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:45 pm
Location: Pacifica, CA

Re: Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

Postby JeffN » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:53 am

Keep On Keeping It Simple! - Tools to help you keep it simple

A Simple Nutritious & Affordable Plan (SNAP)

Healthy Packaged Foods

Quick Recipes (With Pictures)

Simple, Easy & Starch Based ... 22&t=15014

In Health

News Article

Sticking to Diets Is About More Than Willpower -- Complexity Matters ... 085516.htm

ScienceDaily (Jan. 15, 2010) — Many people think the success of dieting, seemingly a national obsession following the excesses and resolutions of the holiday season, depends mostly on how hard one tries -- on willpower and dedication. While this does matter, new research has found that a much more subtle aspect of the diets themselves can also have a big influence on the pounds shed -- namely, the perceived complexity of a diet plan's rules and requirements.

Cognitive scientists from Indiana University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin compared the dieting behavior of women following two radically different diet plans and found that the more complicated people thought their diet plan was, the sooner they were likely to drop it.

"For people on a more complex diet that involves keeping track of quantities and items eaten, their subjective impression of the difficulty of the diet can lead them to give up on it," reported Peter Todd, professor in IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Jutta Mata, now a professor of psychology at Stanford University, said this effect holds even after controlling for the influence of important social-cognitive factors including self-efficacy, the belief that one is capable of achieving a goal like sticking to a diet regimen to control one's weight.

"Even if you believe you can succeed, thinking that the diet is cognitively complex can undermine your efforts," she said.

Dieting is not all in one's head -- environment matters, too, the professors say. The physical environment has to be set up properly, such as putting snack foods out of sight to avoid mindless eating. But the cognitive environment, they say, must also be appropriately constructed, by choosing diet rules that that one finds easy to remember and follow.

For people interested in following a diet plan, Mata suggests they take a look at several diet plans with an eye toward how many rules the plans have and how many things need to be how many things need to be kept in mind.

"If they decide to go with a more complex diet, which could be more attractive for instance if it allows more flexibility, they should evaluate how difficult they find doing the calculations and monitoring their consumption," she said. "If they find it very difficult, the likelihood that they will prematurely give up the diet is higher and they should try to find a different plan."

About the study: The study examined both the objective and subjective complexity of two diet plans. Brigitte, the cognitively simpler of the two, is a popular German recipe diet that provides shopping lists for the dieters, thus requiring participants to simply follow the provided meal plan. Weight Watchers assigns point values to every food and instructs participants to eat only a certain number of points per day. The 390 women involved were recruited from German-language Internet chat rooms dealing with weight management and were already in the midst of using one of the two diet plans. They answered questionnaires at the beginning, mid-point and end of an eight-week period.

While losing weight initially isn't rocket science, keeping it off remains a challenge to dieters. It generally is believed that the longer people can adhere to their diet plan, the more successful they will be long-term with their weight loss maintenance. And the more like rocket science one's diet plan feels, Todd and Mata report, the less likely that long-term adherence and maintenance is to succeed.

The Study

Mata, J., et al. When weight management lasts: Lower perceived rule complexity increases adherence. Appetite (2009), doi:10.1016/j.appet.2009.09.004

Maintaining behavior change is one of the major challenges in weight management and long-term weight loss. We investigated the impact of the cognitive complexity of eating rules on adherence to weight management programs. We studied whether popular weight management programs can fail if participants find the rules too complicated from a cognitive perspective, meaning that individuals are not able to recall or process all required information for deciding what to eat. The impact on program adherence of participants’ perceptions of eating rule complexity and other behavioral factors known to influence adherence (including previous weight management, self-efficacy, and planning) was assessed via a longitudinal online questionnaire given to 390 participants on two different popular weight management regimens. As we show, the regimens, Weight Watchers and a popular German recipe diet (Brigitte), strongly differ in objective rule complexity and thus their cognitive demands on the dieter. Perceived rule complexity was the strongest factor associated with increased risk of quitting the cognitively demanding weight management program (Weight Watchers); it was not related to adherence length for the low cognitive demand program (Brigitte). Higher self-efficacy generally helped in maintaining a program. The results emphasize the importance of considering rule complexity to promote long-term weight management.

And, an earlier one by the same author.

Mata, J., et al. Keep it on: How complex diet rules prevent weight loss. Appetite (2008), doi:10.1016/j.appet.2007.09.046

We investigated the impact that the cognitive complexity of diet rules has on adherence to weight loss diets. The underlying assumption guiding this research was that popular weight loss diets can fail at the individual level if they are too complicated from a cognitive point of view, meaning that dieters are not able to recall or apply all required information. The impact of excessive cognitive demands on diet compliance and dieters’ perception of diet rule complexity were investigated (1) from an environmental perspective, by analysing diet environments (i.e., diet rules in diet books), and (2) from the perspective of the dieter in an online-questionnaire. First results suggest that diets with more complex diet rules correlate with lower adherence rates from clinical trials examining popular weight loss diets. In our longitudinal study with more than 1200 participants who are trying to lose weight, we show that perceived difficulty reported at the first measurement point predicts quitting of the diet prematurely (i.e., before goal weight or time planned to be on diet are reached) at later points in time.

And more...

Dietary variety, energy regulation, and obesity.
Raynor, H. A., & Epstein, L. H. (2001). Dietary variety, energy regulation, and obesity. Psychological Bulletin, 127(3), 325–341.

Increased variety in the food supply may contribute to the development and maintenance of obesity. Thirty-nine studies examining dietary variety, energy intake, and body composition are reviewed. Animal and human studies show that food consumption increases when there is more variety in a meal or diet and that greater dietary variety is associated with increased body weight and fat. A hypothesized mechanism for these findings is sensory-specific satiety, a phenomenon demonstrating greater reductions in hedonic ratings or intake of foods consumed compared with foods not consumed. Nineteen studies documenting change in preference, intake, and hedonic ratings of food after a food has been eaten to satiation in animals and humans are reviewed, and the theory of sensory-specific satiety is examined. The review concludes with the relevance of oral habituation theory as a unifying construct for the effects of variety of sensory-specific satiety, clinical implications of dietary variety and sensory-specific satiety on energy regulation, and suggestions for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
User avatar
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Re: Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

Postby JeffN » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:14 am

It seems we resist the simple basic & are drawn to focusing in the minutia.

For example, someone comes to me and ask me some question about some specific minutia and I say, don't worry, relax, it is not a big deal, focus on the basics and getting them right and on the bigger picture, and remember, we are in this for the long run. Then, they go ask Dr X the same question and Dr X says, oh yes, this specific minutia is very important and if you don't do it you wont be getting the maximum benefit of everything and then Dr X goes into some pseudo scientific reasoning on why this specific minutia is important. Then the person walks away thinking and saying to themselves, WOW, Dr X REALLY gets its and REALLY understands the science, etc etc and that guy Jeff, just does not get it or understand the science. Then the process of getting all the different specific minutia "perfect" becomes their life and, as you often see, drives them crazy and in the process of getting every fine detail perfect often end up missing the basics and they either end up giving up completely or are turned into "nutrition elitists" over all the minutia.

This is why I always say, if you want to really understand this, find those who have been successfully doing this for 2 decades or more, and see how they do it.

On that note...

Clues to Maintaining Calorie Restriction? Psychosocial Profiles of Successful Long-term Restrictors.

Belsky AC1, Epel ES2, Tomiyama AJ3.
Appetite. 2014 Apr 16. pii: S0195-6663(14)00171-8.
doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.04.006. [Epub ahead of print]

To combat the obesity epidemic, intervention and clinical efforts often recommend low-calorie dieting. Calorie restriction (CR) as a weight intervention, however, is often unsuccessful, as most people cannot sustain the behavior. Yet one small group has maintained extreme CR over years-members of the CR Society and followers of The CR Way. This study examined stable psychosocial characteristics of these individuals to identify traits that may promote success at long-term CR. In 65 participants, we measured diet, eating behaviors, and personality traits comparing calorie restrictors to two age-, gender-, ethnicity-, and education-matched comparison groups (normal weight and overweight/obese). We first tested whether the CR group restricted calories without indications of eating disorder pathology, and second, what crystallized psychosocial characteristics set them apart from their non-restricting comparisons. Results indicated the CR group averaged 10 years of CR but scored lower than comparison groups on measures of disordered eating (p < .001) and psychopathology (p < .001). Particularly against overweight/obese participants, CR participants scored lower on neuroticism (p < .04) and hostility (p < .01), and were stronger in future time orientation (p <.05).

As I said above...

"Don't worry, relax, it is not a big deal, focus on the basics and getting them right and remember, we are in this for the long run."

In Health
User avatar
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Re: Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

Postby JeffN » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:16 am

JeffN wrote:First, you have to get this right. So, I want a minimum of 6 months to 1 year of adherence "after" you have achieved your goals. So, not only to hit your target lipid numbers and/or weight numbers but also to maintain them for another 6 months to 1 year. Otherwise, we have people out there teaching something they have not really understood and/or been able to incorporate into their own life (which is a big part of success) and often changing their mind every few weeks or months on how best to do this (ie, one week they are eating more nuts, and the next week no nuts, etc etc). Then, and only then, should you begin to share and teach this message and only with the compassion as I discuss here.. ... 22&t=42240

This is why I always say, if you want to really understand this, find those who have been successfully doing this for 2 decades or more, and see how they do it.

On that note...

An excellent article appeared in the Statesman Journal today on the whole food, plant-based diet. It was written by a Kaiser Permanente internist of 16 years. ... e/7848001/

"Adding to the resistance to a plant-based diet are the misconceptions and confusion sown by the circulation of popular but contradictory nutritional advice with little to no medical basis. Instead, I would suggest the documentary "Forks Over Knives," available as a DVD purchase or through Netflix or Amazon as streaming video. For general, overall health considerations, "The China Study" by T. Collin Campbell, PhD, is superb, and those with specific conditions might want to read "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" by Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., MD, or "Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes" by Neal Barnard, MD.

In Health
User avatar
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Re: Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

Postby JeffN » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:20 pm

I received the following message from a forum member today and thought it would be of great value for others too in regard to compliance so I asked if I could share it in the forum, to which they agreed.

I hope you find it of value too.

In health

Jeff Novick,

My husband and I went to the McDougall live in course one year ago. Since that time, we have really tried to follow this way of eating. We have continued eating this way, while travelling in a small camper (Road Trek) and while travelling on a boat. We continued eating this way while on a trip to Spain (a very meat based country) and in England. We continued eating this way while having to stay with family members who do not follow this way of eating (and in some cases are quite opposed to it) My husband has continued to follow a starch based diet while attending business functions where no one else eats this way. The most difficult thing for us has been to avoid oil and salt when eating in restaurants. We do the best we can, but we often find that the food contains at least some salt and oil.

I have seen many of your posts about how difficult it is for people to be compliant. Many people claim to have some kind of awakening, after attending a lecture or seeing a documentary and then a few months later are back to their old habits and I wanted to tell you some of things that have helped us to stick to this way of eating. Becoming convinced of the science behind the diet was only the beginning as you have often noted. Sticking with the diet is the most difficult thing.

First of all, I want to thank you for your help in our being able to stick with this way of eating. At one time I was as confused as most people seem to be. It seemed a waste of time to even try and eat healthy as the constant “news” articles all seemed to contradict each other any way. Now, I ignore all of the news articles, and figure that I only need to pay attention if you, or John McDougall or Colin Campbell or Caldwell Esselsytn say that the article is worth considering. It is an enormous help to feel that I have found mentors that are reviewing the research and trying to give people the best and most useful information.

We use your method of label reading all the time. It is particularly helpful when travelling and when trying to make quick healthy meals that I know what short cuts (frozen vegetables, no salt canned tomatoes, quick brown rice, etc) that I can take and still be eating healthfully. One of the things that you said at the course stands out particularly for me. It was during a question and answer session after one of your talks. And a number of people, including us, were saying “yes, but …” and you finally said something to the effect that there would be times it would not be easy but that if one wanted to do this, with planning, it was always possible. If we weren’t interested in planning, then it wasn’t going to work!

I follow your posts and Dr. McDougall’s on the McDougall facebook group. Awhile back, you posted something about compliance. A woman who was at one of the McDougall live-in courses and who had been compliant for 30 years was asked for her tips. Keeping it simple and not caring what others thought. These two tips have been incredibly helpful for me. At the beginning of following this way of eating, I was complicating things. If I had kept on making the diet complicated, I would have likely given up by this point. I would have just found it much too difficult. Now, I remember that John McDougall said you can be very healthy just eating potatoes for a long time—-and just add a bit of greens and that’s even better.

Also, it is very helpful to understand that you have to give up caring what other people think. A lot of people do not want to change their way of eating and there is no point in arguing or trying to convince them, but I do not have to join them in what they are eating either. I now think that eating unhealthy food because someone else wants me to eat it would be about the same as smoking cigarettes because someone wants me to keep them company and feel better about their smoking habit. At first, I wanted arguments to make sure everyone knew that what I was doing was right. Finally, I have learned that this is useless. We don’t bother to explain any longer. When a close relative (like my sister-in-law) insists on arguing that meat is good if you get the range fed, super expensive and only have a little bit. We simply say, we’re not good at moderation so it is easier for us not to have any..thanks. When someone tells us that we should have something and we only need to watch portion size, we say we aren’t good at determining portion size and prefer to have only things that we don’t need to worry about portion size.

If someone seems to be genuinely interested because they have noticed that my husband and I are both looking a lot better…..I refer them to yourself and to the other mentors that I have mentioned above. I have a number of the dvd’s that support this way of eating and I offer those too.

A couple of people have been interested and are successful. We have seen others who are interested but they give up quickly. Again the ones who are successful, look for ways to keep things simple and refuse to allow others to push them to eat things not on the plan. They also plan to be successful. Our friends that have tried and given up are the ones that decided it was too difficult, (because they insisted on making it complicated) and the ones that worry a lot about what their friends and relatives think of what they eat, and found it embarrassing not to “fit in” with everyone else.

Again, thank you for your help. We have certainly benefited from your advice, and are very appreciative. I wanted to let you know that your help and comments are a big part of what has helped us to stay compliant to this way of eating.
User avatar
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Re: Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

Postby JeffN » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:34 am

In The News! - The Myth of Moderation

News Article
'Everything in Moderation' May Lead to Poor Metabolic Health
Oct. 30, 2015

“Americans with the healthies 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.”

Everything in Moderation - Dietary Diversity and Quality, Central Obesity and Risk of Diabetes
PLoS ONE 10(10): e0141341. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141341(2015) ... ne.0141341

Diet guidelines recommend increasing dietary diversity. Yet, metrics for dietary diversity have neither been well-defined nor evaluated for impact on metabolic health. Also, whether diversity has effects independent of diet quality is unknown. We characterized and evaluated associations of diet diversity and quality with abdominal obesity and type II diabetes (T2D) in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. At baseline (2000–02), diet was assessed among 5,160 Whites, Hispanic, Blacks, and Chinese age 45–84 y and free of T2D, using a validated questionnaire. Three different aspects of diet diversity were characterized including count (number of different food items eaten more than once/week, a broad measure of diversity), evenness (Berry index, a measure of the spread of the diversity), and dissimilarity (Jaccard distance, a measure of the diversity of the attributes of the foods consumed). Diet quality was characterized using aHEI, DASH, and a priori pattern. Count and evenness were weakly positively correlated with diet quality (r with AHEI: 0.20, 0.04), while dissimilarity was moderately inversely correlated (r = -0.34). In multivariate models, neither count nor evenness was associated with change in waist circumference (WC) or incident T2D. Greater food dissimilarity was associated with higher gain in WC (p-trend<0.01), with 120% higher gain in participants in the highest quintile of dissimilarity scores. Diet diversity was not associated with incident T2D. Also, none of the diversity metrics were associated with change in WC or incident T2D when restricted to only healthier or less healthy foods. Higher diet quality was associated with lower risk of T2D. Our findings provide little evidence for benefits of diet diversity for either abdominal obesity or diabetes. Greater dissimilarity among foods was actually associated with gain in WC. These results do not support the notion that “eating everything in moderation” leads to greater diet quality or better metabolic health.
User avatar
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Re: Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

Postby JeffN » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:14 am

They get the concept correct but miss on a few details of which foods to include in the limited variety

Dietary Diversity: Implications for Obesity Prevention in Adult Populations: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association
Originally published: 9 Aug 2018
Circulation. 2018;0:CIR.0000000000000595 ... 0000000595


“Eat a variety of foods,” or dietary diversity, is a widely accepted recommendation to promote a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet and to reduce the risk of major chronic diseases. However, recent evidence from observational studies suggests that greater dietary diversity is associated with suboptimal eating patterns, that is, higher intakes of processed foods, refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages and lower intakes of minimally processed foods, such as fish, fruits, and vegetables, and may be associated with weight gain and obesity in adult populations. This American Heart Association science advisory summarizes definitions for dietary diversity and reviews current evidence on its relationship with obesity outcomes, eating behavior, and food-based diet quality measures. Current data do not support greater dietary diversity as an effective strategy to promote healthy eating patterns and healthy body weight. Given the current state of the science on dietary diversity and the insufficient data to inform recommendations on specific aspects of dietary diversity that may be beneficial or detrimental to healthy weight, it is appropriate to promote a healthy eating pattern that emphasizes adequate intake of plant foods, protein sources, low-fat dairy products, vegetable oils, and nuts and limits consumption of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats.
User avatar
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Re: Better to eat many different foods or a limited variety?

Postby JeffN » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:22 am

Turns out the same simplicity that applies to nutrition/diet also applies to exercise. Following a complicated variable weight-training routine didn’t make any significant difference compared to a simple unvarying one. Pick a simple compound exercise for each body section and repeat 2-3x a week. I give an example here. Just do it :)


Myofibrillar protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy individualised responses to systematically changing resistance training variables in trained young men
03 JUL 2019 ... 00350.2019


The manipulation of resistance training (RT) variables is used among athletes, recreational exercisers and compromised populations (e.g., elderly) attempting to potentiate muscle hypertrophy. However, it is unknown whether an individual's inherent predisposition dictates the RT-induced muscle hypertrophic response. Twenty resistance-trained young (26(3)y) men performed 8wk unilateral RT (2∙wk-1) with one leg randomly assigned to a standard progressive RT (CON), and the contralateral leg to a variable RT (VAR, modulating exercise load, volume, contraction type and interset rest interval). The VAR leg completed all 4 RT variations every 2wk. Bilateral vastus lateralis cross-sectional area (CSA) was measured pre- and post-RT, and acute integrated myofibrillar protein synthesis (MyoPS) rates were assessed at rest and over 48h following the final RT session. Muscle CSA increase was similar between CON and VAR (P>0.05), despite higher total training volume (TTV) in VAR (P<0.05). The 0-48h integrated MyoPS increase post-exercise was slightly greater for VAR than CON (P<0.05). All participants were considered 'responders' to RT, although none benefited to a greater extent from a specific protocol. Between-subjects variability (MyoPS, 3.30%; CSA, 37.8%) was 40-fold greater than the intra-subject (between legs) variability (MyoPS, 0.08%; CSA, 0.9%). The higher TTV and greater MyoPS response in VAR did not translate to a greater muscle hypertrophic response. Manipulating common RT variables elicited similar muscle hypertrophy than a standard progressive-RT program in trained young men. Intrinsic individual factors are key determinants of the MyoPS and change in muscle CSA compared with extrinsic manipulation of common RT variables.
User avatar
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Return to Jeff Novick, RD

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


Sign up to receive our regular articles, recipes, and news about upcoming events.