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Why the viral ’30 plant diet’ is not as healthy as you think – New York Post

3 minutes, 13 seconds Read

For some, it’s bad enough to choke down a daily dose of vegetables, but what if you ate 30 types in a week?

Well, that’s exactly the diet trend that’s sweeping the internet, as health conscious users attempt to scarf down a variety of plants in a single week.

The 30 plant diet — created by Tim Spector, a professor in genetic epidemiology at King’s College London — was modeled after results from a 2018 study that found those who had 30 or more kinds of plants a week were more likely to have “good” bacteria in their gut.

Spector, who led the leg of the research focused in the UK, believes that a healthy gut boosts immunity and promotes better overall health.

“It’s that diversity of gut microbes that gives you a diversity of chemicals and, we believe, a healthier immune system and a better metabolism,” Spector told The Guardian.

“Once people start seeing that there is this link between the food we eat, our microbes and our immune systems, I think that changes the way we think about food. It’s not just fuel. It really is changing the way our body works.”

Spector believes that eating 30 vegetables improves overall health. Rawpixel.com – stock.adobe.com

The so-called “challenge,” in which TikTokers are partaking, isn’t exclusive to just vegetables or fruits. Legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and certain herbs and spices count, too, as does coffee and even chocolate. They come from plants, after all.

While it likely won’t do you harm to attempt to consume 30 different kinds of plants every week, there’s also no “reliable evidence” for it either, Reading University professor Gunter Kuhnle told the Daily Mail.

According to Kuhnle, there is not enough available data on the exact combination and doses of plant “bioactives” — the components believed to have certain health-improving properties — for effectiveness.

“The recommendation is already to eat a wide range of different fruits and vegetables, so the ’30 different per week’ in some ways just tries to add a number to it (and is largely in line with the 5-a-day recommendation),” he explained.

“I don’t think it would do any harm – but I doubt it will be more beneficial than fewer different plant foods a day.”

“Once people start seeing that there is this link between the food we eat, our microbes and our immune systems, I think that changes the way we think about food. It’s not just fuel. It really is changing the way our body works,” said Spector. Drobot Dean – stock.adobe.com

Americans already do not meet the minimum recommendation of 5 servings of fruit and vegetable per day — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1 in 10 meet the requirements — so attempting to prepare 30 different types may be overwhelming.

“Making the task more difficult (30 different per week instead of simply five a day) can set up people for failure and they might give up altogether,” Kuhnle said.

And not to mention, there’s the issue of affordability and accessibility.

“If people focus on different types of fresh fruit and vegetables this could be quite expensive and difficult to build into your diet and make it very difficult to eat an overall balanced diet,” Aston University dietitian Dr. Duane Mellor told the Daily Mail.

“While vegetables are a key part of a balanced diet for most people, they are not the be-all and end-all,” said Pearson. amixstudio – stock.adobe.com

Focusing too much on solely plants could result in “nutrient deficiencies,” added Kim Pearson, a nutritionist based in London. An ideal diet would consist of a diverse spread of protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

“Vegetables alone won’t provide all essential nutrients in optimal amounts,” she told the Daily Mail.

“While vegetables are a key part of a balanced diet for most people, they are not the be-all and end-all.”

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