Variety may be the spice of life, but a new review of scientific literature suggests that eating an assortment foods that differ in taste, texture and color may help promote overeating and obesity.
People and animals that are given a greater selection of foods at mealtime tend to eat more than those who have less variety, says review author Hollie A. Raynor, MSRD, a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Buffalo in New York. She speculates that variety helps keep eaters from tiring of the taste of foods, consequently encouraging them to consume more.
Raynor analyzed 58 studies on human and animal eating. Her findings suggest that living beings eat not just because they’re hungry, but that sensory aspects (taste, feel and color) of food are also important.
Certain foods, however, are reportedly more responsible than others for adding to weight problems.
“Certainly you need to have enough variety in your diet to meet your basic vitamin and mineral requirements,” says Raynor. “But the variety in meals and diets should be limited to help with energy intake, specifically [limiting] foods that are considered junk foods.”
At least one expert says the review confirms the notion that eating appetizing and high-calorie foods could contribute to weight gain.
“If I provided you with a salad that had a very delicious dressing compared to a salad that had nothing on it, what would you be able to eat more of? I think the majority of people would say, ‘The one with the salad dressing on it,'” says David W. Grotto, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
The ADA still recommends a variety of foods, but that doesn’t mean just eating foods that are high in calories, sugar and fat. For people who find it easy to lose control around snack-type edibles, Grotto recommends setting up an environment for portion control. He says eating healthy doesn’t have to mean consuming something that’s tasteless and boring.
People who are concerned about weight loss are encouraged to not only eat right, but to also exercise. “There are some critical components to a successful weight management program, and [that involves] a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle behaviors, which emphasize eating practices and daily physical activity.”
Article By: Dulce Zamora