Eating fruit and whole grains more crucial to health than avoiding junk food: Lancet study

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A new study published in The Lancet today found globally, one in five deaths are associated with poor diet, with cardiovascular disease being the biggest contributor, followed by cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The study shows that the largest number of diet-related deaths were linked with eating too much sodium (salt), and not eating enough whole grains and fruits. Across all 15 dietary factors, more deaths were associated with not eating enough healthy foods compared with eating too many unhealthy foods.

The Global Burden of Disease study tracked consumption trends of 15 dietary factors from 1990 to 2017 across 195 countries.

Heart Foundation comment:

Heart Foundation Director of Prevention, Julie Anne Mitchell said this new study lends further support for the Heart Foundation’s heart healthy eating principles to reduce risks for heart disease and improve overall health.

“The risk of heart disease from a poor diet is greater than that of smoking.

“Unlike many countries in this study, most of Australia is blessed with an abundant supply of healthy foods. Yet many of us fail to eat enough fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds and eat far too much salt, particularly from take-aways and highly processed foods.

“We need to take control of our diets, cooking at home and enjoying meals with friends and family.

“While poor diet is the main risk for early death in Australia, we don’t have a national nutrition strategy.

“It is clear Australia urgently needs to fund policies that target comprehensive healthy eating initiatives.

“Focussing on eating patterns that are high in wholegrains, fruits and vegetables and low in sodium is likely to have a bigger impact on reducing heart disease in Australia than policies that just target individual nutrients like sugar or fat.”

For further interviews: Debora McInnes, Senior Media Advisor, Heart Foundation

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