You Don’t Need Diet Tips, You Need to Stop Eating These Deadly Foods

Nutrition

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

Recently, a group of researchers evaluated the diets of Americans and how it impacted their health. The results were intriguing. In 2012, nearly half (45.4%) of all deaths from cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs), which includes diabetes, stroke and heart disease were linked to poor diets!

The study suggests unhealthy food choices like processed meats and sodium may significantly increase deaths for individuals.

For instance, the highest proportion of cardiometabolic disease (CMD) deaths (9.5%) was related to excess sodium intake. Additionally, it seems a high intake of processed meats such as bacon and sausage were related to 8.2% of deaths among the individuals studied with CMD.

Even more telling, the study found eating too few healthy foods like nuts and seeds or fish containing omega-3 fatty acids may be deadly as well. Individuals who didn’t eat enough seeds and nuts accounted for 8.5% of deaths of the individuals studied with CMD.

Although a diet that’s lacking in healthy foods and abundant in processed, salty foods may lead to health problems and ultimately death, it’s important to remember diet isn’t everything. The observational study didn’t account for exercise routines, a major factor in reducing heart disease. Additionally, factors such as socioeconomic status, gender and race play a part as well.

More of the good stuff, less of the bad

In order to make healthy choices it’s important to understand the health implications of the food you’re consuming. Below are some key components of the potentially deadly foods listed in the study and the impact those foods have on your body:

  • Processed meats:
    • Defined as meat that “has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation.” Processed meats were labeled as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO) after a study found the methods used to process or smoke meat can lead to the development of a carcinogenic compound like N-nitroso compounds. Additionally, studies have shown eating processed meat gives people a 42% and 19% higher chance of suffering from heart disease and diabetes, respectively.
  • Salt:
    • Consuming more than the recommended 2,300 milligrams of salt per day may increase the volume of blood in your bloodstream, causing more work for your heart and more pressure on blood vessels. Overtime, all of that extra work can stiffen your blood vessels and may lead to stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack.

Simple ways to improve your diet

On the flip side, the study’s implications contain a silver lining. Poor diet choices may lead to illness and even death, but making the right dietary choices can lead to a longer and healthier life. Certain superfoods are not only good for you but are also proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Below are some ways you can make better dietary choices:

  • Change the way you use salt. There are a plethora of salt options that don’t contain as much sodium as traditional table salt. Pink Himalayan sea salt and Kosher salt are great options. You can also try salt alternatives or even gradually cut back on your sodium intake.
  • Stock up on foods with unsaturated fats. A great way to get more unsaturated fats, which are linked to a longer lifespan when consumed more often, in your diet is to snack on nuts like almonds, or even peanut butter. Pair it with apples for a yummy snack. Other ways to get healthy unsaturated fats is to eat more servings of fish for dinner. Try something easy like tuna or salmon which contain Omega-3 fatty acids - a type of unsaturated fat.  
  • Drink your fruits and veggies. If you don’t like vegetables, don’t worry, you can add some healthy leafy greens, great for cardiovascular health and lowering stroke, to a smoothie full of yummy fruits.

 

To find out more about how diet can protect you from disease and help you live as your healthiest self, read Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.   

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