The peer-reviewed study examines 15 dietary health risks of 195 countries, by analyzing the global burden of disease study that presented data collected from the years 1990 to 2017. The dietary risk factors featured in the study include: high sodium intake, low whole grains intake, low fruit intake, low nuts and seeds intake, low omega-3 intake, low vegetable intake, low fiber intake , low PUFA intake, low legumes intake, low calcium intake, low milk intake, high trans fat intake, high sweetened beverages consumption, high red meat, and high processed meat intake.
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Roughly 11 million deaths (one in five) can be linked to unhealthy diets, particularly ones lacking whole grains, fruits, nuts, and milk. The study reports, “High intake of sodium, low intake of whole grains ( and low intake of fruits (2 million were the leading dietary risk factors for deaths and DALYs globally and in many countries.”
Too much red meat and not enough whole grains
Alarmingly, these dietary risk factors are responsible for more deaths than smoking. The popularity of red and processed meats and soft drinks additionally contributes to the morbid statistics; statistics segmented by 10 million cardiovascular-related deaths, 913,00 deaths from cancer and 339,000 deaths caused by type 2 diabetes. Sixty-six percent of disabilities were informed by these three factors.
In the days since the study’s publication, the authors seem quick to stress the salient role that the foods we aren’t eating are playing in surging these mortality rates. Yesterday the study’s lead author, Ashkan Afshin had this to say about the fundamental flaws in many of our diets. “While traditionally all the conversation about healthy diet has been focused on lowering the intake of unhealthy food, in this study, we have shown that, at the population level, a low intake of healthy foods is the more important factor, rather than the high intake of unhealthy foods.”
According to Afshin, The Lancet’s recent study is the most comprehensive study ever conducted on the health effects of diet.
In the US a lack of whole grains proved to be the biggest risk factor. Unfortunately, many products that advertise whole grain in America are misleading. Whole grains found in foods that are super processed are typically milled down considerably and are in company with a lot of sodium and free sugars. True whole grains contain much more antioxidants and phytochemicals than refined grain.
The best way to identify true whole grain products is to be on the lookout for the Whole Grain Council’s whole grain stamp, which is only awarded to products that contain at least 8 grams of whole grains. Additionally, a product can only be FDA approved if it contains 51% whole grain ingredients.
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