Poor Diet Causes Hundred of Deaths in India: Lancet Study

One in five deaths worldwide linked to poor diet study

Around the world, poor diets are linked to more deaths than smoking or drug use; that's the conclusion of a study just published in The Lancet medical journal.

"The study gives affirmation of what several people have thought for many years - that compared to any other risk factor, poor diet is responsible for more deaths in the world".

The vast majority of diet-related deaths were due to heart disease, followed by cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

In 2017, there was a 10-fold difference between the country with the highest rate of diet-related deaths Uzbekistan and the lowest Israel - 892 per 100,000 people and 89.

"It is especially concerning to see that so many deaths in the United Kingdom could be avoided by tackling obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity".

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

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The study tracked trends in consumption of 15 dietary factors from 1990 to 2017 in a total of 195 countries.

The others were attributed to high consumption of red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and trans fatty acids found in packaged foods such as cakes, cookies and spreads.

Eating unhealthily claims more lives than smoking because of its links to heart disease, cancer and diabetes, say researchers. The statistic is equivalent to an alarming 11 million deaths.

"Diet is an equal-opportunity killer".

'We are what we eat and risks affect people across a range of demographics - including age, gender and economic status'. High sodium was the leading risk factor in many Asian countries, while a diet low in fruits was the biggest problem in sub-Saharan Africa and low intake of nuts and seeds ranked first in Mexico.

She said the UK's challenge to the food industry to reduce sugar from everyday foods was "a clear step in the right direction". The question now is: do we have that much healthy foods to feed the globe?

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Mexico ranked 11th, the USA 43rd and China 140th.

The study found people ate only 12 percent of the recommended amount of nuts and seeds - an average intake of 3 grams a day, compared with the recommended 21 grams - and drank more than 10 times the recommended amount of sugary drinks.

The global diet also included less than a quarter of the recommended amount of whole grains - at 29 g average intake a day compared with the recommended 125 g - and nearly double the recommended amount of processed meat - at around 4 g average intake per day compared with the 2 g recommended.

"This study provides a comprehensive picture of the potential impact of suboptimal diet on NCD mortality and morbidity, highlighting the need for improving diet across nations", the researchers wrote in their study.

"Food is the biggest contributor, globally, to chronic disease and death", said Dr. Hyman. This could be made possible by collaborating with different sections of the food system and its policies that encourage the consumption of balanced diets.

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