Poor diet "kills more people than smoking"

Poor diet linked to 1 in 5 deaths globally: Study - The Jakarta Post

"This study affirms what many have thought for several years - that poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world", said Christopher Murray, Director at the University of Washington in the US.

Interestingly enough, the study also finds that a diet low in whole grains was the next leading cause of diet-related deaths globally.

High levels of unhealthy red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans-fatty acids and salt - all known to be health risks - were compared with the effects of a diet low in many healthy foods.

The study also attributes poor dietary habits to be the cause behind the increase in certain non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, and even type 2 diabetes. Poor diet represents 16% of all DALYs among adults globally.

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Afshin defined the Mediterranean diet as one with a high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy oils, such as olive oil.

The research evaluated trends in consumption of 15 dietary factors from 1990 to 2017 in 195 countries.

The IHME study on dietary risks finds that in southern sub-Saharan Africa, diets low in fruits were the number one reason for diet-related deaths.

The largest and most problematic shortfalls in optimal intake were recorded for nuts and seeds, milk, whole grains.

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"The results are based on limited data and assumptions, but conclusions are consistent with major reports from public health and medical authorities", said Marion Nestle, professor emerita of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. So, she said that "diet is a risk factor for everybody". The assessment depicted the factors for diet-related deaths are high sodium, low whole grains, fewer fruits, fewer nuts and seeds and fewer vegetable intake. For example, he noted that global average intake of red meat was 27 grams a day, slightly higher than the recommended daily limit of 23 grams.

Although there is no reason to think that consuming high-quality plant foods would not be good for everyone, these results in health professionals who were predominantly of European ancestry might not be generalizable to other groups of people.

Authored by 37 worldwide experts, including two from India, who were brought together by EAT, the science-based global platform for food system transformation, and Lancet, one of the world's most prestigious peer-reviewed general medical journals published weekly since 1823, the EAT-Lancet Commission's report, for the first time ever, proposed scientific targets for what constitutes a healthy diet derived from a sustainable food system.

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