Diets lacking in healthy food are responsible for more deaths across the globe than smoking, a major new study has concluded.
The research, published in British journal The Lancet, claims that around 11 million deaths per year — or one in five — are a result of a poor diet.
The diets cutting lives short were found to be particularly high in salt and too low in whole grains and fruit.
The analysis, part of The Global Burden of Disease Study, saw researchers assess the diets of people in 195 countries using data from surveys, sales, and household expenditure from 1990 to 2017.
Of the 11 million deaths linked to diet in 2017, 10 million were a result of cardiovascular disease. Cancer (913,000 deaths) and Type 2 diabetes (339,000) were the next biggest diet-related killers.
“This study shows that poor diet is the leading risk factor for deaths in the majority of the countries of the world,” said study author Ashkan Afshin of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.