One in five deaths linked to poor diet

One in five deaths linked to poor diet
One in five deaths linked to poor diet

Eat less meat, fat, sugar and salt. But above all eat more fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Here’s what the authors of a recent study published in The Lancet recommend. Their findings reveal that one in five deaths worldwide is due to an unbalanced diet.

Junk food is responsible for significant mortality, by promoting obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in particular. The observational study carried out in all 195 countries of the world by the team of Dr. Christopher Murray * revealed that it is mainly the low consumption of certain foods that is at issue. Thus, of the 11 million deaths caused by an unbalanced diet in 2017, more than half was due to a low consumption of whole grains and fruits.

Too much salt and inequalities between countries
Globally, “the world consumes only 12% of the proportion of nuts and seeds recommended”, but drinks “10 times too many sugary drinks”, specify the authors. Without forgetting the general overconsumption of salt, with 86% too much compared to the recommendations. In China, this practice is the main cause of diet-related deaths. While in the United States, India and Brazil, “it is the fact of not eating enough nuts and seeds that causes the most deaths”.

Some countries are doing better. Among them, France comes second where “only 89 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants are attributable to junk food”. Spain and Japan follow. This observation underlines the ineffectiveness of the campaigns carried out so far in favor of better nutrition. “New steps towards a food system to rebalance diets around the world” are needed, say the authors.

The “efforts” of the French health authorities

Depending on the case, the health effect can be significant: in Romania, for example, researchers estimate that one third of the approximately 3,300 bladder cancers diagnosed each year in the country are attributable to contamination of drinking water by THM. If the four European countries most lax on their THM levels were aligned with the European average, the researchers estimate that more than 1,000 cancers could be prevented annually.

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