Too Much Meat, Salt And Not Enough Nuts Linked To Deaths From Diabetes, Stroke, And Heart Disease


A new research says that a diet consisting of too much processed meat, red meat, salt, and sugary drinks and not enough nuts, fruits, vegetables, polyunsaturated fats, seafood, and whole grain is connected to the deaths in the United States caused by diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

That means common favorites such as bacon, hot dog, steak, hamburger, and soda, to name a few, are some of the food and beverages that have to be reduced in one's diet.

Processed Meat, Excessive Sodium: The Study

According to the findings of researchers at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, people should reduce their salt and meat intake and add more nuts, fruits, and vegetables to their diets to reduce risk of heart disease, outlining 10 food items that should either be eaten more or less.

Renata Micha, lead author of the report, and her colleagues based the research on data from the government that showed more than 700,000 deaths in 2012 were because of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The group also used info from national surveys that had 16,000 people between 1999 and 2012, where the participants were asked to keep track of the food they eat.

The study says that the 10 particular dietary factors were tied to approximately 45 percent of deaths from type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease among adults in the United States.

"In 2012, suboptimal intake of dietary factors was associated with an estimated 318,656 cardiometabolic deaths, representing 45.4 [percent] 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," the report reads.

It also notes that salt is the largest contributor, accounting for 9.5 percent or 66,508 of the deaths. In terms of overeating, too much processed meat comes in second and sugary drinks in third, which are responsible for 8.2 percent or 57,766 of the deaths and 7.4 percent or 51,694 respectively.

On the other hand, deficiencies of nuts/seeds were associated with 8.5 percent or 59,374 of the deaths, seafood with 7.8 percent or 54,626, vegetables with 7.6 percent or 53,410, and fruits with 7.5 percent or 52,547.

The Good And The Bad: What Foods You Need For A Good Diet

The 10 aforementioned foods can be divided into two groups — the good and the bad.

First off, the good group of foods includes fruits, nuts/seeds, polyunsaturated fats, seafood, vegetables, and whole grains.

It's not all that surprising to see nuts in the list, considering that a different study found that a daily intake of 20 grams (0.7 ounces) of it can keep several health issues such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and respiratory diseases, among other things, at bay.

Meanwhile, the bad group of foods is composed of processed meat, red meat, salt, and sugary drinks.

Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press compiled the good and bad ingredients and how much each one should be added to people's diet.

The study is published in the journal JAMA on March 7.

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