Unhealthy food kills more people than tobacco – what is it?

Too little grain, too little fruit, too much salt, researchers have tried to measure, what are the consequences of unhealthy diets. According to the journal “The Lancet” published a study they should be for every fifth case of death in the world, so in 2017 for about eleven million Dead. Thus poor diet cause more deaths than Smoking, writes the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) in a press release on the study.

So that you don’t understand this statement wrong: to save On vegetables, is not the new Smoking.

The Team Ashkan Afshin of IMHE has evaluated, among other things, data from the very large “Global Burden of Disease Study” from 195 countries. In addition, they drew from a variety of sources of information on the food habits in different countries.

Healthy vegetables, harmful salt

The scientists focused on 15 food components. Ten levels as a healthy one and come to the conclusion that these are consumed in the majority of countries in the cut in to small quantity. These are:

  • Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes,
  • Full-grain, fibre, nuts and seeds,
  • Calcium, Milk,
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The five as unhealthy are classified, in large quantities verzeht. The are:

  • red meat, sausage,
  • sugary drinks,
  • TRANS-fatty acids,
  • Salt.

For each component, the calculated optimal range: The fruit, the are, for example, 200 to 300 grams a day, for milk is between 350 and 520 grams of sausage for a maximum of 4 grams daily. And the scientists calculated how much a Deviate from this Optimum, the risk for cardiovascular diseases, cancer, Diabetes, and premature death increases. This is determined on the Basis of other, already published studies, the employees with the respective part of the diet. Some food components are connected, such that milk is also a source of calcium, with no regard to the risk to be reflected by a deficiency here twice.

For the year 2017, with 11 million deaths and 255 in disease spent years of life are caused by the diet. The actual causes of death, mainly cardiovascular diseases (about 10 million), cancer (approximately 900,000). The effect that Obesity has on health and life expectancy, is not factored in yet.

The greatest risks

The largest share of the group, according to the researchers

  • to high salt intake (three million deaths),
  • to lower consumption of whole grains (three million deaths),
  • to low fruit consumption (two million deaths)
  • as well as a low consumption of nuts and seeds (almost two million deaths).
  • For comparison, the use of tobacco caused in the year, according to the researchers, the group of eight millions of deaths.

The largest differences between the optimal and the actually consumed quantities there were, according to the researchers in whole grains, nuts and seeds, and milk. Initiatives which promote a higher consumption of these healthy foods, could therefore contribute more to health than those that call for the renunciation of unhealthy food.

Who paid for it? The work was of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded.

The Sticking Point

However, the researcher acknowledges that their study has a weak point: Many of the possible relationships between diet and disease are derived from so-called observational studies, in which people will be interviewed, and researchers throughout the years to capture, how many become ill or die. These studies can show associations, but do not prove, that something depends on the cause. Larger intervention studies, in which people are randomly divided into two groups and prescribed different feed, are comparatively rare. Often only have to be examined in shorter studies, whether through a change in Diet is a risk factor for a disease is changing.

Last year, the renowned health scientist John Ioannidis criticized by Stanford University, the nutrition research and called for a Reform of the research industry.

One of his examples, which is also found in the current study: nuts. The people would have to eat a few nuts, it does that as only twelve percent of the optimal amount, i.e. approximately 3 grams instead of the recommended 21 grams daily. The result: nearly two million deaths in just one year.

Each nut a quarter of a year life time?

Ioannidis writes, if we assume that the in large observational studies observed relationships are causal, it would follow that a person, depending on the calculation model 1.7 or even up to four years – lives longer if he eats a day, twelve hazelnuts. He keeps this effect for implausible high. Especially in the observational studies almost every food statistically the life expectancy is linked. He believes it is wrong to suspect there anywhere an actual causal link. He also warns that the idea that you have to just eat more healthy food is helpful in preventing Obesity.

Nutrition is certainly a important factor in terms of health, but whether it’s the daily handful of nuts has such a serious effect, you may doubt in the current data situation. And, for example, on the question of which is the amount of salt consumption, the risk for cardiovascular increases suffering, is disputed among researchers fiercely.

Summarized: A great study analysis comes to the conclusion that every year eleven million people die of the consequences of an unhealthy diet, mainly because too little fruit, too little whole grain and lots of salt to be consumed. The note that unhealthy diet kills more people than Smoking, it should not be misunderstood: Smoking or not Smoking has for the Individual is of greater importance for the health, than the decision to eat a daily handful of nuts or not.