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World’s Largest Disease Study Reveals the Real Effects of Our Diet

It’s one of the leading causes of death globally
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Published on September 15, the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) revealed some harsh truths about the health effects of a poor diet. The study evaluated health trends in 195 countries and is considered “the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date.”

The most shocking conclusion? One in five deaths around the world can be attributed to poor diet.

The proportion of deaths caused by heart disease has increased by 19 percent. Diabetes? A 31.1 percent increase. High blood glucose, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol were all among the top ten risk factors for men and women across the globe.

These risk factors and diseases all have one thing in common — they relate to poor diet. And while the specifics of what a better diet would look like have yet to be concluded by science, diets that were low in whole grains, legumes, fruit, nuts, and seeds and high in salt were linked to more of these deaths.

Overall, however, things aren’t looking so grim. The study concluded that the average life expectancy is still on the rise for the average global citizen, and that there has been a good amount of progress in fighting diseases like malaria and other causes of child mortality. We just need to work on eating a little healthier.

The director of the study, Dr. Christopher Murray, concluded that poor diet, armed conflict, and mental illness were the three largest factors suppressing life expectancy around the world. The triad of challenges is foreseen to be the most difficult to overcome in coming years.


“There should be a global forum where these results and their policy implications are discussed,” the study’s researchers suggested. Ethiopia, Nepal, Niger, and several other third world nations exceeded health expectations for their socioeconomic state — an intriguing aspect of the researchers’ results. They expect to find some answers in investigations these coming years. For some questions we did find the answers to this year, click here.