Did you know that poor diet is the leading cause of early deaths all over the world? According to statistics, diet alone accounted for more than 650,000 deaths in 2010, followed by tobacco use and obesity. The data, published by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), shows that obesity cases have been on the rise and continues to cause early deaths. Other factors that contribute to early deaths include drugs, high blood pressure, and lack of exercise. As you can see, our lifestyle is largely to blame for our poor health. Since the biggest cause of death is what you eat, these 10 foods could substantially impact your risk of dying early.
If you regularly indulge in diets high in solid fats, you risk developing cardiometabolic diseases, such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Studies show that fats that are solid at room temperatures, like beef fat, coconut oil, butter, palm oil, and shortening contain more saturated fats and trans fats than oils.
For that reason, they can raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. For better health, opt for heart-healthy oils, such as olive oil and avocado oil.
Red meat, when consumed in moderation, supplies the body with protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. The problem starts when you over-consume red meat. The American Institute of Cancer Research suggests limiting your red meat intake to less than 18 ounces a week.
Additionally, opting for quality meat can make all the difference for your health. Therefore, avoid fatty meat and choose lean cuts of grass-fed red meat. You should also avoid processed meats at all costs, given the dangers associated with them (we discuss the details below).
Eating Too Much Processed Meat
Over-consumption of processed meats accounted for 8.2 percent of all the diet-related deaths studied, according to a 2017 report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Processed meats, including hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and cold cuts, are preserved by smoking, salting, curing, and adding preservatives.
Some of the preservatives used include sodium, nitrates, and phosphates, and are the culprits behind increase risks of heart failure. Nitrates are naturally present in green leafy veggies, such as lettuce and bok choy. When you eat these vegetables, the naturally occurring nitrates may help reduce your chances of developing cancer. However, when added to foods, artificial nitrates can increase your risk of cancer.
Refined grains like white rice, pasta, and white bread have been processed to remove the bran and germ, giving the grains a longer shelf life. During processing, many important nutrients, such as iron and B vitamins, are stripped and later added back before the products are finally packaged for consumers. Fiber, which is highly recommended for gut health, is also stripped.
For better health, go for whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-wheat flour, since the entire grain kernel is intact. Plus, they are full of fiber, an important nutrient that can help keep your weight in check.
Consuming Too Many Artificial Sugars
Sodas and energy drinks are some of the most consumed beverages anywhere in the world. These sugary drinks are associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and tooth decay, and accounted for 7.4 percent of deaths.
A 2019 study published in the journal, Circulation, sought to investigate the link between drinking sugary beverages and early death. The research found that out of the thousands of participants, the group that consumed too many sugar-sweetened beverages had a higher risk of premature death.
Health experts suggest that 10 percent of your calories every day comes from added sugars. The good news is that if you stop drinking soda and other sugary beverages, you have a good chance of improving your health. So, choose health by going for water, tea, fresh vegetable juice, or flavored water.
Foods High in Sodium
If you like adding salt to your foods, you better think twice about the adverse effects on your health. Scientists associate diets high in sodium with the risk of developing a variety of health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, that can lead to premature death.
Another study found evidence that tied sodium consumption to stomach cancer. The study went on to claim that salt intake has been linked to Helicobacter pylori (H pylori), which has been shown to increase the chances of getting stomach cancer.
While breakfast is thought to be the most important meal of the day, what you eat might make or break your health. Many families feed their children sugar-sweetened cereals, and these could have detrimental effects on their future health.
These types of cereals are high in simple carbohydrates that usually cause a spike in blood sugar followed by an energy crash, which isn’t good for your metabolic health. Studies also show that regular consumption of processed foods, like super sweet cereals, is responsible for early deaths.
The bottom line is not to forgo these foods completely, but to limit their intake. Foods like meat, chicken, and pork can be healthier if you avoid deep-frying them. What’s more, always try to eat balanced diets, making sure you take enough fruits and vegetables every day.