BACKGROUND: Experimental studies show diets with greater variety in energy-dense foods increase consumption and body weight. Reducing variety in energy-dense food groups may decrease energy and dietary fat intake, promoting weight loss. OBJECTIVE: This study examined changes in food group variety during obesity treatment and the relation between changes in food group variety, dietary intake, and weight. DESIGN: Overweight men and women (n = 202) were randomly assigned to one of two standard behavioral treatments with varying exercise prescriptions (exercise level of 4186 kJ/week (1000 kcal/week) or 10465 kJ/week (2500 kcal/week)), but received the same diet. Complete measures were obtained from 122 participants, of which 70 (58%) were female, with a mean body mass index of 31.3 kg/m2 (s.d. = 2.5). MEASUREMENTS: Food group variety and diet composition were assessed at 0, 6, and 18 months from food-frequency questionnaires. Food group variety was calculated as percent of foods consumed on a weekly basis within a food group, irrespective of servings consumed. RESULTS: Participants reported increased variety (P ≤ 0.001) in low-fat breads (LFB) and vegetables, and decreased variety (P ≤ 0.001) in high-fat foods (HFF), and fats, oils, and sweets (FOS) over the course of the 18-month study. From O to 6 months, decreased HFF and FOS variety was associated with reduced energy and percent dietary fat intake, and decreased HFF variety was related to weight loss. From 6 to 18 months, decreased HFF variety and increased LFB variety was associated with reduced percent dietary fat consumed and weight loss. CONCLUSION: Changing variety in specific food groups may help in adopting and sustaining a diet low in energy and fat, producing better weight loss and weight loss maintenance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
HAR was primarily responsible for drafting the manuscript and was the primary data analyst. RWJ, DFT, and RRW provided detailed input at each stage, including conceptualization, data presentation, data analyses, and style. None of the authors had a financial or personal conflict of interest related to the funding or outcomes of this research. This research was supported by grants HL41330 and HL41332 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This research was supported by grants HL41330 and HL41332 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
- Dietary variety
- Food groups
- Weight loss