The true cost of an unhealthy diet

The Wright Foodie-278.jpg

The news this morning has totally blown my mind! 

According to a Lancet study, one in every seven deaths in Britain (nearly 90,000 per year) is caused by an unhealthy diet.  That is almost as many that die of smoking-related illnesses each year.  That comparison is simply mind-boggling!  A poor diet is almost equitable to smoking cigarettes?!  On one hand, that’s just terrifying.  But on the other hand, it feels rather empowering, because lives could be saved by something as simple as adding in some extra portions of fruit and vegetables.

When I first read the news, I fully admit that my automatic assumption was that diets high in sugar and processed meats were to blame.  And although those are risk factors, surprisingly they were relatively minor ones in comparison to the main culprits.  And that was all about what was LACKING in the diet – too little wholegrains, fruit, fibre, oily fish, nuts and vegetables ranked far more highly than too much processed meats or fizzy drinks.  Although too much sodium ranked 4thin the list.

Fortunately, I have always been focused on ADDING in more goodness.  I like to look at my meal and think to myself ‘what can I add to make this more nutritionally dense” rather than focusing on removing or restricting things from my diet. And this adding can be as simple as an extra piece of fruit or vegetable, a sprinkling of some nuts and seeds, or stirring through a pre-cooked grain pouch.  

In 2017, on a global scale, an unhealthy diet was actually responsible for an astonishing one in five deaths, which equates to just under 11 million adults.  This is actually more than smoking related deaths, which are responsible for 8 million fatalities.  The biggest contributors to this were cardiovascular disease, followed by cancers and diabetes.

The study was funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and involved more than 130 scientists from nearly 40 countries, making it the most comprehensive analysis of its kind.