Poor diet causes hundreds of deaths in India

Grant Boone
April 7, 2019

One in five deaths globally are linked to poor diet, experts said Thursday, warning that overconsumption of sugar, salt and meat was killing millions of people every year. The study found that poor diets were behind 22-percent of all adult deaths in 2017 (10.9 million) - cardiovascular disease was the primary cause, with cancer and diabetes being next in line.

Now, a new study shows a diet loaded with excessive unhealthy foods, and not enough good foods, is associated with one in five deaths worldwide.

Some 20% of deaths that occurred worldwide in 2017 were associated with poor diet, a major new study has found.

Which countries do best when it comes to diet? The United States ranked 43rd, Britain 23rd, China 140th and India 118th.

The report highlighted large variation in diet-related deaths between nations, with the highest-risk country Uzbekistan having ten times the food-based mortality rate of the lowest-risk, Israel. A poor diet is "an equal opportunity killer", according to the study's lead author Dr. Ashkan Afshin, who said the risks can be found regardless of gender, age, and other demographics. It should be noted that there were data gaps for intake of key foods in some countries, so some estimates could be off. These included diets low in foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, fatty acid, milk, and seeds, fiber, calcium, fish omega-3 fats, polyunsaturated fats.

However, they're encouraging people to focus more on adding healthy foods to their diets, rather than punishing them for eating fat and sugar. And as we've reported, the Mediterranean pattern of eating is linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks and memory decline. On the other hand, Uzbekistan was one of the worst, while the US ranked 43rd on the list.

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He said instead of just focusing on messages that people should avoid unhealthy foods like processed meat and sugary drinks, "the ideal scenario would focus on healthy replacements for unhealthy foods".

What would happen if everyone around the globe began to eat a healthy diet, filling three-fourths of their plates with fruits, vegetables and whole grains?

Eating too few fruits and vegetables and too much sodium (salt) accounted for half of all deaths.

The findings of the study stress on the pressing need for coordinated global efforts to improve diet.

"We simply can't all adopt a healthy diet under the current global agriculture system", says study co-author Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph.

The researchers said that people in nearly every part of the world could benefit from improving their diets.

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