What we aren’t eating is killing us, global study finds.

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What we aren’t eating is killing us, global study finds.


By: Noah Akey


You would be surprised to know that neither smoking or high blood pressure have the highest death risk. Having poor eating habits and not having a healthy diet have the highest risk factor. “In many countries, poor diet now causes more deaths than tobacco smoking and high blood pressure,” said Ashkan Afshin, an assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Apparently the consumption of too much salt is currently a huge problem. Salt is doing more damage than any other unhealthy foods. Nutritionist are beginning to figure out that the problem isn’t the consumption of too many unhealthy foods, it is the lack of consuming healthier foods. One in five deaths globally (that’s about 11 million people) in 2017 occurred because of too much sodium and a lack of whole grains, fruit and nuts and seeds, the study found, rather than from diets packed with trans fats, sugar-sweetened drinks and high levels of red and processed meats.


Ten million diet-related deaths in 2017 were from cardiovascular disease. Cancer was responsible for 913,000 deaths, and Type 2 diabetes accounted for 339,000 deaths.As a result, 66% of disabilities in 2017 from a range of chronic diseases were due to those three factors. Interestingly enough, obesity was not one of the top five contributors to these chronic diseases, coming in at sixth on the list of global disease risks.

Uzbekistan had the highest number of diet-related deaths, followed by Afghanistan, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Israel had the lowest number, followed by France, Spain, Japan and Andorra, a tiny principality between France and Spain.

The countries with the lowest deaths due to chronic diseases ranked, the UK at 23rd, Ireland 24th and Sweden 25th, while the United States ranked 43rd, after Rwanda and Nigeria 41st and 42nd. India ranked 118th, and China ranked 140th.

“Unhealthy diet is the top risk factor for the Global Burden of Disease. The relative importance of this factor has been growing and requires urgent attention,” said Francesco Branca, director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization.

The public needs to be aware of the critical links between diet and health and demand public action to improve the access and availability of foods that contribute to healthy diets,” Branca said. “Considering the need for urgent action the UN General Assembly has declared 2016-2025 the UN Decade of Action of Nutrition, and is asking governments to make such commitments.”

In conclusion, watch your salt intake and make sure your consumption of processed grains stay at a minimum. Whole grains, nuts, and seeds are the yummy stuff that your body will appreciate.

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