Half of heart/diabetes deaths due to diet

Nearly half of all deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are associated with sub-optimum nutrition, says a study out today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Out of over 700,000 heart disease and diabetes deaths in 2012, an estimated 45% were associated with suboptimal intakes of the 10 dietary factors – namely not enough fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, seafood, omega 3 fats, polyunsaturated fats and too much processed meats, sugar-sweetened drinks and sodium. Put the other way around over 300,000 deaths were attributed to sub-optimum nutrition.

People who consumed more nuts and seeds, seafood, vegetables, fruits and wholegrains, in that order, reduced risk the most. Consuming more sodium, sugar-sweetened drinks and processed meat increased risk the most.

The study also showed that mortality from heart disease and diabetes decreased by 26.5% between 2002 and 2012. This decrease was primarily attributed to an increased consumption of nuts and seeds; a reduction in consumption of sugared drinks; and replacing carbohydrates or saturated fats with more polyunsaturated fats ( eg in nuts, seeds and seafood). The greatest increase in mortality was seen in those with the highest consumption of unprocessed red meat.

This study was conducted by Renata Micha, RD, PhD, of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Boston, and colleagues using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

The results almost exactly confirm our own findings in the 100% Health Survey and add further weight to the optimum nutrition diet principles I recommend in my books including the Optimum Nutrition Bible.