Diets high in salt or sugary drinks are responsible for thousands of deaths from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, according to a study. Scientists also blamed a lack of fruit and vegetables and high levels of processed meats.
Researchers looked at all 702,308 deaths from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes in the US in 2012 and found that 45 per cent were linked with “suboptimal consumption” of 10 types of nutrients. They mapped data on dietary habits from population surveys, along with estimates from previous research of links between foods and disease, on to data about the deaths to come up with the figures.”
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The highest proportion of deaths, at 9.5 per cent, was linked with eating too much salt, while a low intake of nuts and seeds was linked with 8.5 per cent.
Eating processed meats was linked with 8.2 per cent of deaths and a low amount of seafood omega-3 fats with 7.8 per cent. Low intake of vegetables accounted for 7.6 per cent and low intake of fruit 7.5 per cent.
Sugary drinks were linked with 7.4 per cent, a low intake of whole grains with 5.9 per cent, low polyunsaturated fats with 2.3 per cent and high unprocessed red meats with 0.4 per cent.
The research, published in the journal JAMA, also found men’s deaths were more likely to have links to poor diet than women’s.
Question What is the estimated mortality due to heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes (cardiometabolic deaths) associated with suboptimal intakes of 10 dietary factors in the United States?
Findings In 2012, suboptimal intake of dietary factors was associated with an estimated 318 656 cardiometabolic deaths, representing 45.4% of cardiometabolic deaths. The highest proportions of cardiometabolic deaths were estimated to be related to excess sodium intake, insufficient intake of nuts/seeds, high intake of processed meats, and low intake of seafood omega-3 fats.
Meaning Suboptimal intake of specific foods and nutrients was associated with a substantial proportion of deaths due to heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes.
Importance In the United States, national associations of individual dietary factors with specific cardiometabolic diseases are not well established.
Objective To estimate associations of intake of 10 specific dietary factors with mortality due to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes (cardiometabolic mortality) among US adults.
Design, Setting, and Participants A comparative risk assessment model incorporated data and corresponding uncertainty on population demographics and dietary habits from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1999-2002: n = 8104; 2009-2012: n = 8516); estimated associations of diet and disease from meta-analyses of prospective studies and clinical trials with validity analyses to assess potential bias; and estimated disease-specific national mortality from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Exposures Consumption of 10 foods/nutrients associated with cardiometabolic diseases: fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, unprocessed red meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), polyunsaturated fats, seafood omega-3 fats, and sodium.
Main Outcomes and Measures Estimated absolute and percentage mortality due to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes in 2012. Disease-specific and demographic-specific (age, sex, race, and education) mortality and trends between 2002 and 2012 were also evaluated.
Results In 2012, 702 308 cardiometabolic deaths occurred in US adults, including 506 100 from heart disease (371 266 coronary heart disease, 35 019 hypertensive heart disease, and 99 815 other cardiovascular disease), 128 294 from stroke (16 125 ischemic, 32 591 hemorrhagic, and 79 578 other), and 67 914 from type 2 diabetes.
The authors, from Cambridge University and two US institutions, said that their results should help to “identify priorities, guide public health planning and inform strategies to alter dietary habits and improve health”.
In an editorial, Noel Mueller and Lawrence Appel, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said: “Policies that affect diet quality, not just quantity, are needed … There is some precedence, such as from trials of the Mediterranean diet plus supplemental foods, that modification of diet can reduce cardiovascular disease risk by 30 per cent to 70 per cent.”
It is important to maintain a healthy weight for your height. The food you eat, and how active you are, help to control your weight.
Healthy eating tips include:
- Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain bread and rice.
- At least once a week eat some lean meat such as chicken and fish.
- Look at the food label and try to choose foods that have a low percentage of sugar and salt and saturated fats.
- Limit take-away and fast food meals.
It’s recommended that you do at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week – exercise leads to increased strength, stamina and energy.
The key is to start slowly and gradually increase the time and intensity of the exercise. You can break down any physical activity into three ten-minute bursts, which can be increased as your fitness improves
Drink plenty of fluids and listen to your thirst.
If you are thirsty, make water your first choice. Water has a huge list of health benefits and contains no kilojoules, is inexpensive and readily available.
Sugary soft drinks are packed full of ‘empty kilojoules’, which means they contain a lot of sugar but have no nutritional value.
Some fruit juices are high in sugar and do not contain the fibre that the whole fruit has.
The role of the kidneys is often underrated when we think about our health.
In fact, the kidneys play a vital role in the daily workings of your body. They are so important that nature gave us two kidneys, to cover the possibility that one might be lost to an injury.
We can live quite well with only one kidney and some people live a healthy life even though born with one missing. However, with no kidney function death occurs within a few days!
The kidneys play a major role in maintaining your general health and wellbeing. Think of them as a very complex, environmentally friendly, waste disposal system. They sort non-recyclable waste from recyclable waste, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while also cleaning your blood.
Most people are born with two kidneys, each one about the size of an adult fist, bean-shaped and weighing around 150 grams each. The kidneys are located at both sides of your backbone, just under the rib cage or above the small of your back. They are protected from injury by a large padding of fat, your lower ribs and several muscles.
Your blood supply circulates through the kidneys about 12 times every hour. Each day your kidneys process around 200 litres of blood. The kidneys make urine (wee) from excess fluid and unwanted chemicals or waste in your blood.
Urine flows down through narrow tubes called ureters to the bladder where it is stored. When you feel the need to wee, the urine passes out of your body through a tube called the urethra. Around one to two litres of waste leave your body each day as urine.
Kidneys are the unsung heroes of our bodies and perform a number of very important jobs:
- Blood pressure control – kidneys keep your blood pressure regular.
- Water balance – kidneys add excess water to other wastes, which makes your urine.
- Cleaning blood – kidneys filter your blood to remove wastes and toxins.
- Vitamin D activation – kidneys manage your body’s production of this essential vitamin, which is vital for strong bones, muscles and overall health.
All this makes the kidneys a very important player in the way your body works and your overall health.