Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS
There are myriad reasons why a multicolored diet can be beneficial to your health, not the least of which is that color can tell you a lot about a food’s nutritional value, and diversity is a simple way to get as many nutrients as possible. While the benefits appear obvious, a recent study suggests that a highly varied diet may have a particularly weighty side effect.
A study examining diet diversity, abdominal obesity, and incidence of type II diabetes came to an interesting conclusion: eating a highly diversified diet may be associated with a greater risk for obesity.1 Examining validated questionnaires of 5,160 adults, researchers looked at different aspects of diet diversity and quality, including count (number of total different foods eaten during a week), evenness (measure of the spread of diversity), and dissimilarity (diversity of the attributes of food). Thorough examination of the data found that greater food dissimilarity in particular was associated with lower intakes of whole unprocessed fruits and vegetables, higher intakes of unhealthy foods, and higher waist circumference. The findings challenge the idea that eating everything in moderation may lead to greater diet quality overall.
While food diversity may have its benefits in making it easier to meet specific micronutrient needs, the most important factor in a healthy diet is still food quality. Eating the rainbow doesn’t matter if the blues consist of candy instead of blueberries and the reds are composed of strawberry soda instead of the whole fruit. Focus on quality before variety.
doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary and further research is needed to gain greater understanding of the findings. Some articles offer multiple views on general health topics and are not the official position of doTERRA. Consult your healthcare provider before making changes to diet or exercise.