People already know: poor nutrition is behind many diseases, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. But what many people don't know is that unhealthy eating habits can kill more than cigarettes.
This is what research from Global Burden of Disease shows, the world's largest cause of death study.
According to the survey, published in the scientific journal Lancet, one in five people dies from an inadequate diet.
The professor and director of the Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation of the University of Washington, Cristopher Murray, told the BBC that the consequences of poor diet on health are enormous:
“We discovered that diet is a very important element; its impact on our body is really very profound, "he says.
Among the main villains is salt, which accounts for around 3 million deaths.
The big problem with salt is that it favors the appearance of cardiovascular diseases, since it increases blood pressure. It can also compromise the proper function of the heart and blood vessels, causing heart failure.
Cancer and diabetes can also be caused by a poor diet. Along with salt, a diet low in whole grains and fruits is also detrimental to health. For this reason, academics recommend a reduction in salt and processed meat intake and a greater preference for whole grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Such foods have a protective effect on the body, preventing diseases.
With regard to world food, some countries stand out positively, such as France, Spain and Israel, which have lower mortality rates due to a nutritionally poor diet.
Asian countries, especially Southeast, South, and Central, have high mortality rates due to poor diet.
In the case of Brazil, the data are not favorable. According to a survey carried out by IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), 90% of Brazilians are outside the standard of healthy diet recommended by WHO (World Health Organization).
By Cíntia Ferreira. Article in Portuguese