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December 2017 Issue

Death by Diet

If you question the power of diet, then pay attention to a recent study published in The Lancet: Poor diet is linked to one in five deaths around the world. The Global Burden of Disease study, the most comprehensive worldwide epidemiological study to date, analyzes data from 195 countries. Researchers found that globally heart disease increased by 19 percent in the past ten years, diabetes increased by 31 percent since 2006, and obesity levels are rising. Four risk factors were in the top ten risk factors for death: high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high BMI, and high total cholesterol. What’s the connection? All of these risk factors are diet related. In fact, the researchers noted that the interrelationship between these risk factors pointed to diet and weight as the main culprit. Diets low in whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds, and fish oils, and high in salt were the most common diet risk factors.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, eating a healthy diet helps prevent a range of chronic diseases; however, the increasing production of processed foods has shifted traditional dietary patterns around the world to diets high in energy, saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and salt, and low in fruit, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods such as whole grains. The solution for the problem is simple: return to the nutrient-rich whole foods that have sustained us over the centuries.