Poor diet has been estimated to be a bigger killer than smoking. Malnutrition (resulting from poor quality diets) may play a role in one in five premature deaths world-wide; an estimated 11 million people. The most dangerous diets contain:
- Excess salt; calculated to be involved in an estimated three million deaths.
- Insufficient whole grains; calculated to be involved an estimated three million deaths.
- Insufficient fruit; calculated to be involved an estimated two million deaths.
- Insufficient consumption of nuts, seeds, vegetables, omega-3 (seafood) and fibre are other common features of bad diets contributing to premature mortality.
Gallagher, J. (2019). The diets cutting one-in-five lives short every year. London: BBC Health News, April 4th 2019.
This relates to:
GBD 2017 Diet Collaborators. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet. April 3rd 2019. [Epub ahead of print].
“We did not evaluate the effect of other forms of malnutrition (ie, undernutrition and obesity)”. p.12.
Further analysis appears in an NHS Behind the Headlines critical appraisal of this research:
Poor diet now killing more than smoking. London: NHS Digital (previously NHS Choices); Behind the Headlines, April 4th 2019.