A high-quality diet is a diet in which all food types are allowed, but an effort is made to avoid specific “low-quality” foods of all types and to eat “high-quality” foods of all types. For example, the Diet Quality Score system I present in Racing Weight categorizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and essential fats as high-quality foods and refined grains, sweets, fried foods, whole-milk dairy products, and fatty proteins as “low-quality” foods.
We have already seen that a high-quality diet is just as healthy as any more restrictive health diet. Are high-quality diets healthier than “anything goes” diets—that is, the typical American diet? You bet it they are. For example, in a 2003 study by Swedish researchers, the diets of more than 58,000 women were analyzed for the variety of healthy and unhealthy foods they contained. It was discovered that those women who ate the greatest variety of healthy foods had the lowest mortality rate over a 10-year period, while those who ate the greatest variety of unhealthy foods had the highest mortality rate.