Author(s): McCrory MA, Fuss PJ, McCallum JE, Yao M, Vinken AG,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Short-term experimental studies suggest that dietary variety may influence body fatness but no long-term human studies have been reported. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether dietary variety within food groups influences energy intake and body fatness. DESIGN: Seventy-one healthy men and women (aged 20-80 y), who provided accurate reports of dietary intake and completed a body-composition assessment, were studied. RESULTS: Dietary variety was positively associated with energy intake within each of 10 food groups (r = 0.27-0.56, P < 0.05). In multiple regression analysis with age and sex controlled for, dietary variety of sweets, snacks, condiments, entrées, and carbohydrates (as a group) was positively associated with body fatness (partial r = 0.38, P = 0.001) whereas variety from vegetables was negatively associated (partial r = -0.31, P = 0.01) (R2 = 0.46, P < 0.0001). In separate models, both a variety ratio (variety of vegetables/variety of sweets, snacks, condiments, entrées, and carbohydrates) and percentage dietary fat were significant predictors of body fatness (controlled for age and sex, partial r = -0.39 and 0.31, respectively, P < 0.01). However, dietary fat was no longer significantly associated with body fatness when the variety ratio and dietary fat were included in the same model. CONCLUSIONS: Our data, coupled with those of previous short-term studies, suggest that a high variety of sweets, snacks, condiments, entrées, and carbohydrates coupled with a low variety of vegetables promotes long-term increases in energy intake and body fatness. These findings may help explain the rising prevalence of obesity.
This article was published in Am J Clin Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine