Diet and Death

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Comparison of leading causes of deaths, Global, 2000 and 2012


Source: World Health Organization.

Five of the leading causes of death in the world increased in frequency from 2000 to 2012 (see WHO graph, above). Of these, road injury is not a disease. Of the other four, three are directly related to diet: ischemic heart disease, stroke and diabetes (the other is trachea and bronchitis). Stroke, of course, is closely related to heart disease; one study of 60,000 people in Japan showed that higher intakes of saturated fat led to a reduced risk of stroke. As for type 2 diabetes (the kind that used to be called adult onset diabetes, but is now practically epidemic among young people, especially in the U.S.), “The biggest risk factor for heart disease is pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes – diabesity. Diabesity, an insulin and blood sugar problem caused by high doses of sugar and refined carbs, now affects 1 in 2 Americans and 1 in 4 teenagers (Hyman, Eat Fat, Get Thin, p. 112).”

Can heart disease be prevented through lifestyle changes? YES! “The EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) study of more than 500,000 people in ten countries… reviewed a subset of 23,0000 people’s adherence to four simple behaviors – not smoking, exercising three and a half hours a week, eating a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and limited amounts of meat), and maintaining a healthy weight (body mass index of less than 30). In those adhering to these behaviors, 93 percent of diabetes, 81 percent of heart attacks, 50 percent of strokes, and 36 percent of all cancers were prevented. And the INTERHEART study… followed 30,000 people and found that changing lifestyle could prevent at least 90 percent of all heart disease (Hyman, Eat Fat, Get Thin, p. 110).”

Bottom line: eating healthy real food can go a long way toward eliminating the biggest and fastest-growing causes of death in the world.

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