Health Care

Study reveals poor diet kills more people than tobacco

Study reveals poor diet kills more people than tobacco”

The study, released on Thursday, indicates that poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor, including smoking.

"This study shows that poor diet is the leading risk factor for deaths in the majority of the countries of the world", said study author Ashkan Afshin of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

The causes of these deaths were cardiovascular disease (10 million deaths), cancer (913,000 deaths) and type 2 diabetes (almost 339,000 deaths).

Annual deaths related to diet have increased from 8 million in 1990, but the researchers said this was largely due to larger and older populations. In 2017, that came to 11 million deaths that could have been avoided, the researchers said.

The study reports that in 2017, 11 million deaths were attributable to dietary risk factors.

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

The researchers said that the countries that did well generally have diets close to the Mediterranean diet, which has higher amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils. The UK ranked 23rd (127 deaths per 100,000), and the U.S. ranked 43rd (171 deaths per 100,000) after Rwanda and Nigeria (41st and 42nd).

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.

Diets lacking in healthy food are responsible for more deaths across the globe than smoking, a major new study has concluded. It is the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study.

And rather than trying to persuade people to cut down on sugar, salt and fat, which has been "the main focus of of diet policy debate in the past two decades", it would be better to promote healthy options, the authors say.

Meanwhile, the world consumed only 16% of the recommended amount of milk and 23% of the recommended amount of whole grains, compared to 90% more than the recommended amount of processed meat, and 86% more sodium.

So what counts as a good diet?

"... The large study size means these findings are relevant to everyone, no matter where they live, said Andrew Reynolds, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Otago in New Zealand, who was not involved in the study". Improving diets won't be easy: A range of initiatives may be needed, including nutrition education and increased access to healthy foods, as well as rethinking agricultural production. "For instance, fruits and vegetables should make up 80 percent of your diet".

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