Medicine

20% of global deaths linked to poor diet

20% of global deaths linked to poor diet

Unhealthy diets are responsible for more deaths across the globe than smoking, a major new study has concluded. Cancer (913,000 deaths) and Type 2 diabetes (339,000) were the next biggest diet-related killers.

While specific dietary issues ranged across countries, diets that were low in whole grains and fruits and high in sodium accounted for more than half of diet-related deaths, the study found.

Overall, poor diet is behind 16-percent of adult DALYs around the world.

The study looked at dietary trends for people in 195 countries between 1990 and 2017.

The rest were attributed to high consumption of red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened drinks, and other unhealthy foods including those containing trans-fatty acids.

A lack of eating healthy foods like whole grains, fruit and nuts and seeds, combined with a high intake of sodium was found to be more unsafe than even trans fats, sugar-sweetened drinks and processed meats, the study published Wednesday in the Lancet said. Diet can also be a risk factor for many chronic diseases, such diabetes.

This number is equivalent to 11 million deaths per year, which is more than the number of fatalities linked to smoking and high blood pressure.

Superyacht linked to Malaysia’s state fund looting scandal sold for $126 million
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Dr Afshin, who wrote a global paper on obesity in 2017, said the latest study shows too much fat, sugar and salt causes chronic health problems irrespective of their effect on a person's weight.

We all know that what we eat can affect our health, energy levels and mood. "Our assessment suggests the leading dietary risk factors are high intake of sodium or low intake of healthy foods such as whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and vegetables". "It's important both policy makers and the food industry work together to be part of the solution to increase the consumption of not only fruits and vegetables but also whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes".

The report noted that in some poorer countries, the elements of a healthy diet are too expensive for many people to access, and urged policy changes to improve that access.

In fact, the world consumed, on average, just 12% of the recommended amount of nuts and seeds, but drank 10-times the recommended amount of sugary drinks.

The UK had 127 diet-related deaths per 100,000 people per year, and the USA had 170.

The global diet also included less than a quarter of the recommended amount of whole grains - at 29g average intake a day compared with the recommended 125g - and nearly double the recommended amount of processed meat - at around four grams average intake per day compared with the two grams recommended.

"Food is the biggest contributor, globally, to chronic disease and death", said Dr. Hyman.


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