Nutrition: For Better and Worse

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People around the world are making some healthier foods choices, but they also are making even more poor choices, state researchers at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, U.K. The researchers analyzed diets of almost 4.5 billion adults in 187 countries. They found that the intake of healthy foods, such as  fruits and vegetables, increased between 1990 and 2010. However, there was an even greater increase in the consumption of processed, unhealthy foods, such as sugar-sweetened beverages and processed meats. People in the United States and many of the wealthiest countries, such as Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, had among the lowest-quality diets in the world because of their high consumption of unhealthy, processed foods. Several low-income countries, such as Chad and the Mediterranean countries – Turkey and Greece, had the highest scores for healthy foods.

In Perspective: The finding that unhealthy eating is increasing faster than healthy eating in much of the world is cause for alarm, since by the year 2020, experts anticipate that 75% of all deaths will be from non-communicable diseases, most of which have a strong diet component. Granted, people are responsible for their choices in foods, but the book by M. Moss, Salt, Sugar, Fat is an eye-opening wake-up call on how international food companies have manipulated and led the global obesity and malnutrition epidemic.

Imamura F, Micha R, Khatibzadeh S, et al: Dietary quality among men and women in 187 countries in 1990 and 2010. Lancet Global health 2015;3:e132-e142.

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