Listen to “Bad Nutrition is a Major Cause of Early Deaths Globally”.
According to a new research review published in The Lancet, if people cleaned up their eating habits, it could prevent one in five deaths globally. The authors say that their findings highlight the urgent need for coordinated global efforts to improve diet through collaboration with the food industries and policies that drive balanced diets.
Poor diets, which include those that are too high in sugar, trans fats and processed meats, and too low in whole grains, organic produce and nuts, were associated with death and disease all over the world.
Unhealthy eating was responsible for more than one in five deaths in 2017, totalling 10.9 million adult deaths globally. This was more than any other risk factor, including smoking, which was associated with 8 million deaths, and high blood pressure, linked to 10.4 million deaths.
The findings also showed that while people are living longer, more years of their lives are spent being sick, meaning increasing demand and costs for treatments and hospital beds accordingly.
Instead of debating who should pay for all this, no one is asking the far more simple and imperative question: What is making us so sick, and how can we reverse this so that we can reduce our reliance on health care? The answer lies in our diets.
Massive marketing campaigns promote processed foods high in sodium, sugar, and fat, with few government policies in place to educate and advocate for more nutritious options.
Cutting down on salt, red and processed meats and saturated fats, while increasing our intake of fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables, can have wide-ranging health benefits.
Your food choices each day affect your health. How you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future, will depend on the choices you make now.
Good nutrition is an essential part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health. By taking steps to eat healthily, you’ll be on your way to getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, active, and stronger for longer.
Changing production in line with nutritional guidelines would also be good for the planet. Another Lancet study published in January found that transforming the global food system to shift diets towards fruits, vegetables, whole grains and pulses and away from meat and sugars could feed 10 billion people by 2050 while fighting climate change.