A new study in JAMA found that nearly half of the deaths in the US due to cardiometabolic diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes) were diet-related.
Researchers looked at 10 foods and found that low intakes of vegetables, fruits, and nuts/seeds; and high intakes of red meat, processed meats, sodium, and sweetened beverages were associated with these premature deaths.
There’s a lot of info in this study, lots of demographic breakdown, but high consumption of processed meat stands out as particularly risky for heart disease and diabetes, especially for men. (They didn’t look at cancer deaths, but processed meat has a strong link to cancer in the published literature, especially colon cancer). Low consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well as high sodium, stood out as risky for stroke.
Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States, Journal of the American Medical Association, 7 March 2017
Here’s Dr. Barnard discussing the study:
I liked the comparison he drew between processed meat and tobacco. At one time in this country, in the 1950s, close to half the population smoked. Now, less than 20% smoke. He says that even though many people eat processed meat today – bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham, deli meats – that number may decline as we come to understand its harmful effects. Do you think?