While many of us are guilty of some vices, I think that thing that really gets a point across to help us stop a bad habit is to hear alarming statistics. It’s like when you are a smoker and you hear the statistics on how many people die every day, week, month, or year due to tobacco-related illness, or hearing statistics on drunk driving fatalities that really drives the point home.
The same thing can be said for dieting, and there is so pretty alarming news on how much of an endemic poor eating has become. In a new study published by The Lancet, it is reported that one in five deaths globally each year are a result of a poor diet. Think about that for a second. If we cleaned up our eating habits, 20% of all deaths could be prevented.
1 in 5 Deaths Worldwide are Related to Diet
The study was pretty comprehensive, analyzing the data from 195 countries over nearly 20 years, as well as incorporating epidemiological studies. What was found at the end of the data analysis is that more than 11 million people died in 2017 as a result of a poor diet. Most of these diets were due to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Eleven million – that’s a huge number! This makes it an even bigger health risk than smoking, which typically gets all of the attention when it comes to preventable death.
The thing that makes poor dieting an even bigger problem is that it is, as pointed out in this article from Time by the study co-author Dr. Ashkan Afshin of the University of Washington, “an equal opportunity killer. People — independent of age, gender, country of residence and socioeconomic status — to some extent are affected by poor dietary habits. Low intake of healthy foods and high intake of unhealthy foods is the leading cause of mortality, globally and in many countries.”
What Can Be Done
Just like how poor dieting can affect people from all walks of life, everyone also has the ability to make positive changes so that this fate does not befall them. One of the biggest culprits pointed out in the study is sodium intake. Almost everything we eat contains salt, and this is especially true if you are eating unhealthy foods (try these healthy options instead). Too much sodium can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and other heart conditions, which are pointed to as the largest cause of diet-related death.
As put by Dr. Afshin, “The main problem we see is the low intake of healthy food”. Rather not eating too much of quality food choices, the issue is more of getting too much of healthy options. This gives credence to the fact that you can still enjoy some of your favorite foods, you just can’t make your entire diet around them. You need to have a decent amount of healthy foods. Most of these diet-related deaths arise from not getting enough nutrition from grains, fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods. While many dieticians tell you to cut out the junk food, this new study encourages eating a moderate amount, provided you round out your meal plan with healthy choices as well.
To get started with healthier eating, check out the meal plans we review here.