24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Are Disinfectants Putting Nurses at Risk of COPD?Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma RiskDrug Limits Damage of Brain InjuryMore Patients With Heart Disease Die at Home Than in HospitalYour Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You SomethingHealth Tip: 10 Ways to Reduce Injury RiskIs That Statin Doing You Any Good?Surgery Helps Tough-to-Treat Acid RefluxBrain Damage From Concussion Evident a Year LaterFor Kids With Genetic Condition, Statins May Be LifesaversNext-Gen Artificial Pancreas Boosts Blood Sugar ControlAHA News: Lowering Blood Pressure May Prevent New Brain Lesions in Older PeopleBladder Drug Can Cause Eye Damage: StudyGood News, Bad News on Concussions in High School SportsSteroid Shots for Painful Joints May Make Matters WorseHealth Tip: Broken Toe CareSleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye DiseaseChildhood Risk Factors Can Predict Adult ObesityHealth Tip: Gum Disease Risk FactorsPut Safety First When Planning to Pack Food-to-GoA Parent's Guide to Managing Kids' Asthma During the FallWhat Foods Are Most Likely to Cause Acne Breakouts?Vision Problems Strike More Than 2 Billion GloballyLight Smoking Causes More Lung Damage Than Once Suspected: StudyHealth Tip: Choking First AidBy Mid-Century, Heat Waves Could Cover Far Bigger AreasGet Vaccinated Before Flu Takes Hold: CDCClose to 1,300 Cases of Vaping-Linked Illness Now IdentifiedMore Years of Football, Higher Odds for Brain Disease LaterPain Relief: When to Use Cold, When to Use HeatAHA News: High Triglycerides Caused a Diet Change – at Age 10Humans May Possess Ability to Regrow CartilageHealth Tip: Recognizing Bedbug Bites'Smartphone Slouching' More Serious Than It SoundsAHA News: What's Your Sense of Purpose? The Answer May Affect Your HealthDeep Brain Stimulation May Relieve Ringing in the Ears: StudyWhat Are the Risks of Pain Relief Alternatives to Opioids?Many ICU Admissions May Be Preventable, Large Study SuggestsCause of Paralyzing Illness in Kids Remains ElusiveFlu Season Is Coming: Here's How to Protect YourselfSinus Infections: What You Need to KnowFewer Teeth, Higher Risk of Heart Disease?Fungal Invasion May Drive Some Pancreatic CancersHealth Tip: Lowering Your Resting Heart RateYour Washer Might Be Breeding Drug-Resistant GermsCan Your Eating Habits Keep Alzheimer's at Bay?Prescription Opioids Linked to Poor Outcomes in Kidney PatientsCases of Serious Vaping-Linked Lung Injury Now Top 1,000Organic Chicken Less Likely to Harbor a Dangerous 'Superbug'Running the Numbers on High Blood Pressure
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

Unhealthy Diets May Be World's Biggest Killer

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Apr 4th 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, April 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Bad diets are shortening lives worldwide -- killing more people globally than either smoking or high blood pressure, a large, new research suggests.

The study, of nearly 200 countries, linked poor diet quality to nearly 11 million deaths globally in 2017. That translated to 22 percent of deaths among all adults that year.

Previous research has linked tobacco use to 8 million deaths per year worldwide, and high blood pressure to just over 10 million deaths.

But it's not surprising that diet is so critical, said lead researcher Dr. Ashkan Afshin, of the University of Washington in Seattle.

Poor nutrition helps drive many health conditions, from high blood pressure to type 2 diabetes, he noted.

And it's not just a matter of people eating too much junk food, which is common in wealthy nations like the United States.

"We often talk about the foods that are 'bad,' and what you shouldn't eat," Afshin said. "But this is also about what you should eat."

The analysis pointed to some eating habits with particularly strong links to higher death rates: diets high in sodium, and those low in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds.

Basically, Afshin said, it all supports a common refrain when it comes to diet advice: Eat fewer processed foods and more "whole" plant-based foods.

That is the bottom line, agreed Dr. Andrew Freeman, who directs cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver.

"People are missing a lot from their diets," he said. "If you include more whole, plant-based foods, that will push out some of the bad things."

Freeman, who was not involved in the study, recently headed a research review examining some diet "hypes" -- certain foods touted as having heart benefits.

The conclusion? The best evidence supports not miracle foods, but an overall diet high in fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts, and fiber-rich whole grains.

For the new study, Afshin's team used published nutrition surveys to look at typical dietary intakes across 195 countries, plus published research on the relationship between various diet factors and disease risks.

For example, to estimate the impact of salty diets, the researchers looked at the evidence on urinary sodium levels and changes in blood pressure -- and then estimated the relationship between those blood pressure changes and disease outcomes.

There were, not surprisingly, differences in the typical diet across world regions: People in the United States and Canada tended to eat the most processed meats and trans fats from packaged foods, for example.

But consumption of sugary drinks and sodium was too high in nearly all world regions, the researchers noted.

Meanwhile, healthy foods were shortchanged almost universally, with a few exceptions: People in Central Asia tended to eat enough vegetables, while those in parts of Latin America, Africa and South Asia typically got plenty of legumes.

On the whole, though, unbalanced diets were a health threat everywhere. Oceania and East Asia had the highest proportion of "diet-related" deaths from heart disease, for example. Diet-related deaths from type 2 diabetes complications were highest in the United States and Canada.

The impact of diet was seen not only in death rates, but in quality of life, according to Afshin.

In 2017, poor diets were associated with 255 million disability-adjusted life years -- a summary of overall life years lost, plus time lived with a disability.

The findings were published April 3 in The Lancet journal.

To Freeman, it all points to the huge impact diet choices have on people's longevity and well-being. "I don't know how many alarms we need before we start making changes," he said.

But it's not only individuals who need to pay attention, both Freeman and Afshin said: Society as a whole, including health care systems and policymakers, needs to promote healthy whole foods over processed foods, red meat and butter.

It's never too late to make wise diet changes -- and Freeman said that patients are often motivated to "get off pills" for managing conditions like high blood pressure.

But ideally, he noted, people shouldn't wait until diseases have developed.

More information

The American Heart Association has advice on healthy eating.