Don’t feel bad about your $12 avocado toast. Have it on whole grain with a side of fruit, and consider your life lengthened.
When governments urge you to regulate your diet, they usually focus on limiting the intake of unhealthy foods, such as processed meat, sugar and trans fat. Less emphasis is placed on encouraging people to eat more of nutritious foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Limiting unhealthy foods might not be the best approach, a new study said
In 2017, a poor diet was responsible for 11 million deaths, whether related to excessive consumption of bad foods or inadequate intake of the good stuff, the study said. Specifically, three main dietary factors — low consumption of whole grains and fruits and high intake of sodium — accounted for more than half of all diet-related deaths. In comparison, tobacco was associated with 8.0 million deaths, and high blood pressure was linked to 10.4 million deaths.
While high consumption of red meat, processed meat, trans fat and sugar-sweetened beverages did contribute to global deaths, these factors “were towards the bottom in ranking dietary risks … for most high-population countries,” the report found. Policies encouraging healthful eating, therefore, may have greater impacts than those targeting unhealthy foods.
“There needs to be a food system transformation,” said Dr. Ashkan Afshin, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. He calls for increased and better production of foods: More fruits, vegetables and nuts and grains that haven’t been stripped of their nutrition. Environmental sustainability must also be considered in improving agriculture systems, the report notes, including impacts on climate change, biodiversity, land and water usage.
Afshin, who authored a global paper on obesity in 2017, emphasized that today’s study focuses on the effects of food on chronic health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes, independent of their connections to obesity. More than 130 scientists from nearly 40 countries contributed to the analysis, which was published today in the international medical journal The Lancet. The paper is the most comprehensive analysis on the health effects of diet ever conducted.
More info at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-04/not-eating-enough-fruit-and-grains-is-worse-than-too-much-meat