Deadly diets

Poor diets kill more people than tobacco

In 2017, 11 million deaths around the world were related to poor diet, even more than smoking, according to this major study.

Heart attacks and strokes were the main diet-related causes of death, followed by cancers and type 2 diabetes. The authors blame diets high in salt and low in fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds. They suggest that eating and drinking more sensibly could prevent one in five deaths globally.

Writing in the Lancet, they call for a global shift in policy to promote vegetables, fruit, nuts and pulses (peas, beans and lentils). Co-author, Professor Walter Willett from Harvard University, said that the findings were consistent with other recent research showing the benefits to heart health of replacing red meat with plant sources of protein.



GBD 2017 Diet Collaborators. 2019. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990-2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet. 393 (10184) 1958-1972.