While striving to eat a healthy diet, you may have fallen into the habit of eating the same foods almost every day. This can happen easily when switching from an unhealthy diet to a healthy, whole-food based one – you finally find the right combination of healthy foods that you love and fulfill your nutrition goals for the day and begin drinking the same nutritious smoothie every day, the same antioxidant-packed salad for lunch, and that lean fish and side of broccoli you enjoy eating for dinner.
While this sounds like it would be a great daily eating plan, eating the same foods every day sets you up for two surprising health problems:
1. A Limited Diet Can Cause Gut Microbiota Imbalances
Typically, healthy-eating advocates advise eating a varied diet to ensure that if your foods lack a certain essential vitamin or mineral one day, they may contain plenty of it the next. However, many healthy eaters don’t worry about that, since the foods they eat are abundant in nutrients.
Unfortunately, even healthy eaters should follow this advice, and not only to ward off nutritional deficiencies. What happens when you eat the same foods every day is that your intestinal, or “gut,” bacteria may not thrive. The bacteria in your gut vary in what they “feed” on, and when eating a limited diet, only the bacteria that thrive on the certain foods you eat will flourish. The healthy bacteria that don’t feast on the certain foods you eat reduce in numbers or even eventually die off.
A healthy, balanced gut microbiota is important to support whole-body health.
2. Not Varying the Foods You Eat Can Lead to Developing Food Intolerances and Allergies
Another problem that can occur when you eat the same foods too much is that your body can actually developing intolerances, or even allergies, to the foods you love so much. In fact, people who are prone to food allergies are often told to eat a rotation diet, which is an eating plan where foods are rotated into and out of your diet to avoid developing additional allergies.
Along with the possibility of developing an allergy to foods you eat too much, you can also develop intolerances to the foods you take off your menu. When you re-introduce a food you had eaten with no problems in the past back into your diet, you may experience immediate digestive problems, especially if the food is part of an entire food group you eliminated, such as grains or dairy.
The reason this happens is due to the gradual change in your body’s digestive enzymes, and after you leave a food group out of your diet for a while, your body may no longer produce the enzymes needed to digest that particular food group.
If you have been eating the same healthy foods every day, realize that a little variety in your diet will help you prevent these problems. When adding new foods in after eating a strict diet for longer than a week or two, it is important to slowly introduce one at a time. Each new food you add may cause digestive discomfort, but this discomfort should diminish once your rebuilds the enzymes needed to digest it.