Not eating good food vs eating bad food

Results of a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, published online April 3, 2019 in The Lancet show that dietary factors accounted for 11 million deaths in 2017 and inadequate intakes of healthy foods caused more deaths compared to excessive consumption of unhealthy diet. And, improvement of diet could potentially prevent one in every five deaths globally.

Analyses of data from epidemiologic studies showed that globally, the largest deficiencies in healthy food consumption were related to nuts, seeds, milk, and whole grains, whereas sugary drinks, processed meats, and sodium were overconsumed. Nonoptimal consumption of whole grains, fruits, and sodium accounted for more than 50% of deaths and 66% of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) attributable to diet.

  • High intake of sodium was the leading dietary risk for deaths and DALYs in China, Japan, and Thailand.
  • Low intake of whole grains was the leading dietary risk factor for deaths and DALYs in the USA, India, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Russia, Egypt, Germany, Iran and Turkey.
  • Low intake of fruits was the leading dietary risk associated with deaths and DALYs In Bangladesh.

Leading dietary risk factors for mortality are diets high in sodium, low in whole grains, low in fruit, low in nuts and seeds, low in vegetables, and low in omega-3 fatty acids. Each of these factors accounted for more than 2% of global deaths.

15 relevant dietary factors were identified:

  • Diets low in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, milk, nuts and seeds, fiber, calcium, seafood-derived omega-3 fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Diets high in red meats, processed meats, trans fatty acids, sugary drinks, and sodium

(Source: The Lancet. Published online April 3, 2019)

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