LONDON – According to a global study, 11 million deaths worldwide in 2017 were due to a diet low in sugar, salt and processed meat, which contributed to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
The research, published in the Lancet medical journal, found that among the 195 countries surveyed, the proportion of diet-related deaths was highest in Uzbekistan and lowest in Israel. The United States ranked 43rd, Britain 23rd, China 140th and India 118th.
Among the 20 most populous countries, Japan had the lowest dietary mortality rate, with salt being the main risk factor.
On average, the consumption of healthier foods such as nuts and seeds, milk and whole grains was too low and people were consuming too much sugary drinks and too much processed meat and salt. This led to 1 in 5 deaths in 2017 linked to poor diets.
The global burden of disease study followed consumption patterns of 15 dietary factors from 1990 to 2017. Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who directed the work, said that he "affirmed what many thought for several years".
"Poor nutrition is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world," he said. Our assessment suggests that the major dietary risk factors are high sodium intake or low intake of healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds and vegetables. "
The study found that people only consumed 12% of the recommended amount of nuts and seeds – an average consumption of 3 grams per day, compared to the recommended 21 grams – and drank more than 10 times the amount recommended sweet drinks. Diets high in sugar, salt and fat are known risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many types of cancer.
The global diet also included less than a quarter of the recommended amount of whole grains – at an average intake of 29 grams per day, compared to the recommended 125 grams – and almost twice the recommended amount of processed meat – at an average intake about 4 grams a day, compared to the recommended 2 grams.
A study in January suggested that an "ideal diet" for health and for the planet would include doubling the consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes, and halving the consumption of meat and vegetables. sugar.
The study found that out of 11 million dietary deaths in 2017, 10 million were due to cardiovascular disease, 913,000 to cancer and 339,000 to type 2 diabetes.
The annual number of diet-related deaths fell from 8 million in 1990, but researchers explained that this was largely due to a larger and older population.