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Bad diets are now responsible for more deaths than smoking

According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year, however, the new findings published in The Lancet revealed that over 4 million more people die every year as a result of a poor diet consisting of too many salty or sugary foods.

Researchers analysed two decades worth of data surrounding deaths from diseases related to eating poorly and looked at the results from over 190 countries. Diseases such as cancer and type II diabetes were considered, in addition to cardiovascular diseases.

As well as a poor diet consisting of too many salty and sugary foods, the results of the study also showed that those with the most serious health issues related to diet were not eating enough fruit and fibrous foods such as vegetables and whole grains.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the research also revealed that globally, “the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was far higher than the optimal intake,” as well as processed meat, of which the study showed people are eating 90 per cent more than they need to worldwide.

Unsurprisingly, the healthiest nations with the lowest number of diet-related deaths were those which consume a diet similar to the popular and much lauded Mediterranean diet. The healthiest diet in the world according to the 2019 Bloomberg Healthy Country Index, the Mediterranean diet incorporates a balance of fresh vegetables, fruit, healthy fats and protein.

“We found that improvement of diet could potentially prevent one in every five deaths globally,” the researchers state in their findings.

“Our findings show that, unlike many other risk factors, dietary risks affected people regardless of age, sex, and sociodemographic development of their place of residence.

“Suboptimal diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risks globally, including tobacco smoking, highlighting the urgent need for improving human diet across nations.”

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