Let’s face it: food plays a very large role in our lives. It only makes sense that if we put unhealthy things in our bodies, our overall health will be affected. According to a new study in The Lancet, over 70% of deaths in 2015 were caused by dietary and lifestyle choices, which is a drastic increase from 57% in 1990. Just to give you an idea of what 70% looks like as a number, it’s about 678,000 deaths each year.
Even though life expectancy has increased over the years, our diets don’t contribute to longevity. The standard American diet consists of a lot saturated fat, sodium, calories, added sugars, and is lacking in plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. This type of diet increases a person’s risk of numerous diseases including the following:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Cancers (cervical, colon, gallbladder, liver, ovarian, uterine & postmenopausal, as well as leukemia)
Diets centered around meats and dairy also increase a person’s risk for developing some of the aforementioned health problems. And the consumption of processed foods doesn’t help either. Unhealthy foods are constantly around us because of the approximate $33 billion that food companies spend on advertising each year. Compare that to the $47.6 million, which was funded for the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the CDC, and you can see why Americans eat what they eat.
On the other hand, people who follow plant-based diets have lower risks of developing heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In fact, people who eat plant-based foods have an easier time losing weight and have improved heart health and circulation. A simple dietary shift and a little physical activity could turn your life around.