People who eat a poor diet are most likely to have an earlier death due to heart disease, cancer and diabetes, a global study found. Eleven million deaths worldwide in 2017 were linked to people eating poor diets high in sugar, salt and processed meat.
The research, published 0n April 3 online in The Lancet, found that among 195 countries studied, the proportion of diet-related deaths was highest in Uzbekistan and lowest in Israel. The United States ranked 43rd, while Britain was 23rd, China 140th and India 118th.
Consumption of healthier foods such as nuts and seeds, milk and whole grains was on average too low, and people consumed too many sugary drinks and too much processed meat and salt. This led to one in five deaths in 2017 being linked to bad diets.
The Global Burden of Disease study tracked trends from 1990 to 2017 of consumption of 15 dietary factors. Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington which led the work, said it “affirms what many have thought for several years.”
“Poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world,” he said.
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 g – and drank more than 10 times the recommended amount of sugary drinks. Diets high in sugar, salt and bad fats are known risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many types of cancer.
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 almost double the recommended amount of processed meat – at around 4 g average intake per day compared with the 2 g recommended.
A study published in January suggested an “ideal diet” for the includes a doubling of consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes, and reducing of sugar and meat intake.