PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New research is showing just how deadly having a bad diet can be. The study shows bad diets are shortening lives worldwide, killing more people globally than either smoking or high blood pressure. Too much bad food — that’s processed, fried and salty — is linked to nearly 11 million deaths globally in 2017, which is 22 percent of deaths, according to the new study that included nearly 200 countries.
“We know that sugar is bad and people eat 10 times as much sugar as is recommended. We know that nuts are good and prevent disease, and people eat only 12% of the recommended amount of nuts,” said Dr. Mark Hyman, of the Cleveland Clinic.
The study found higher death rates linked to diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and high in trans fats, sugary drinks, and red and processed meats.
Most of the diet-related deaths were attributed to heart disease, followed by cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found more deaths were associated with not eating enough healthy foods.
“It’s important to focus on, not only what to remove — too much sugar, processed foods, junk, fast foods, but focus on what to add. Lots of fruits and vegetables; that should be 80% of your diet,” said Dr. Hyman.
Not eating enough whole grains was the leading dietary risk factor in several countries, including the United States.
Out of the 195 countries studied, Israel had the lowest rate of diet-related deaths, and Uzbekistan had the most. The U.S. ranked 43rd.