Poor diet leads to more deaths than drinking and smoking

Poor diet leads to more deaths than drinking and smoking

Poor diets and processed foods kill more people than drinking or smoking according to a robust study from the University of Washington and part of the larger Global Burden of Disease study; sugar, sodium and processed meats are the worst culprits. But USA diets are getting even worse.

The 27-year study period ran to 2017 and analysed adults over 25 years of age from numerous countries. It was published in the Lancet (1). 15 dietary factors were monitored including positive factors such as fibre, omega-3 from fish, fruits, pulses, milk, nuts, seeds, olive oil, vegetables, whole grains and negative factors such as red meat, processed meat, sugar, trans fats and sodium.

Poor Diet the largest cause of death

Mathematical statistical models were then used to rank the results on each dietary factor in a list of Lifestyle factors including smoking, drinking alcohol, poor levels of exercise, obesity etc.

The researchers found that poor dietary habits were the largest cause of death – with too much processed meats, sugar and sodium and not enough nuts, seeds and whole grains leading the way. They concluded poor diet accounted for one in five deaths.

The researchers suggested that people should turn to the colourful Mediterranean diet. What was particularly interesting was that eating the good foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, fish omega 3, olive oil and vegetables seemed to completely correct the effects of a poor diet, countering the negative effects.

Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive said, “Yet again the research is clear. What is so odd is that UK Hospitals will immediately suggest cancer patients to stop smoking, but will not acknowledge that specific foods  like sugar, salt and processed meats are worse and that switching to the Rainbow Diet could make a big difference to a person’s longevity, including overcoming illness. Only recently, the colourful Rainbow Diet was voted the Healthiest Diet in the world and the top plant-based diet for the seventh year in a row. I'm really not surprised. It has been around for centuries and clearly works."

The American Diet is getting worse - why we should not follow them

A 2022 research study led to producing the True Food Database (2) of 50,000 foods at Northeastern University’s Network Science Institute. This concluded that a staggering 73 percent of the United States food supply is ultra-processed. No wonder no one bats an eyelid when Bill Gates talks about cloning a whole steak from one cow cell. The finding, of course, was that these junk foods were cheaper. But as we've said before, 'Eat junk food and you end up with a junk body'.

Giulia Menichetti, Senior Research Scientist at the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University, and senior author of the research report said “It surprised me how a considerable amount of highly processed food is mistakenly considered healthy because the public narrative still focuses on one nutrient at a time, instead of evaluating food as a whole”.  

A 2019 study (3) produced by the Department of Epidemiology, Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington showed that the ultra-processed foods were mostly grains (91%), fats and sweets (73%), dairy (71%), and beans, nuts and seeds (70%), but only 36% of meat, poultry and fish, 26% of vegetables, and 20% of fruit. Researchers concluded ultra-processed foods tended to be energy-dense, low-cost, and nutrient-poor. Yummy. This research study just 3 years earlier, concluded ultra processed food was over 60 per cent of total.

The US National Institues of Health says clearly 'Having too much sugar, salt, or fat in your diet can raise your risk for certain diseases. Healthy eating can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other health conditions. A healthy eating plan emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars'.

So, who is regulating the food industry? If junk food production was severely curtailed in the USA, it could make a massive difference to people's health. But if Mr Gates can just launch a super processed steak grown from a single cell with little opposition and little regulation, no wonder the US spends the highest per capita level on health in the World yet comes in only 35th on The WHO's list of healthy countries.Other wealthy countries spend about half as much on health as the USA (4).

 Do we really want to copy the people in the USA? Even Cancer Research UK published a study in 2019 showing that processed meats and red meat cause more Bowel cancer (5).

Go to: Mediterranean Rainbow Diet  - voted healthiest diet in the world



1. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017; The Lancet - VOLUME 393, ISSUE 10184, P1958-1972, MAY 11, 2019


2. Foodtank -  Database Indicates U.S. Food Supply Is 73 Percent Ultra-Processed - https://foodtank.com/news/2022/11/database-indicates-u-s-food-supply-is-73-percent-ultra-processed/

3. Characterizing Ultra-Processed Foods by Energy Density, Nutrient Density, and Cost; Shilpi Gupta et al; Front Nutr
. 2019 May 28:6:70.

4. Health System Tracker Contry Comparisons of spend https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/health-spending-u-s-compare-countries/#Health%20expenditures%20per%20capita,%20U.S.%20dollars,%20PPP%20adjusted,%202022

5 Bacon, salami and sausages: How does processed and red meat cause cancer and how much matters? https://news.cancerresearchuk.org/2021/03/17/bacon-salami-and-sausages-how-does-processed-meat-cause-cancer-and-how-much-matters/


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