Variety vs Simplicity: The Key to Success Pt 1 [PDF] [Print] [E-mail]
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.
Tuesday, 30 June 2009 00:00
“Variety” may be the “spice of life” but “simplicity” is truly the “key to health”
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 negative aspect of this is that “if” the soil happens to be deficient in a mineral, then there is a greater chance for deficiency of that mineral. There are two well known examples of this happening including the problem with iodine in the Great Lakes “Goiter Belt” of America, and selenium in an area of China.
However, even if you or I were to select a diet with very little variety, the likelihood of this happening to anyone today is much less because even if we choose few foods, these few foods would be coming from all over the country and/or world. We do not get our produce just from the local area.
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%).
Personally, I think there is a lot to be said for simplicity.