Research finds Israel has world's healthiest diet

Henrietta Brewer
April 6, 2019

Diets high in sodium, low in whole grains, and low in fruit together accounted for more than half of all diet-related deaths around the world. Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which led the work, said it "affirms what many have thought for several years". The largest killer in the 11 million global deaths attributed to poor diet every year is cardiovascular disease, which is often caused or made worse by obesity.

Deaths related to diet have increased from eight million in 1990, but this is largely due to the rising population.

The research also highlighted the huge burden that disabilities caused by poor diets placed on society. The report, which tracked trends in consumption of 15 dietary factors from 1990 to 2017 in 195 countries, showed that nearly every region of the world could benefit from rebalancing their diets.

On the flip side, consuming too much red meat, processed meat, trans fat, and sugar-sweetened beverages were also among the risk factors.

The diets most closely linked to death were those high in sodium, and low in whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds and omega-3 fatty acids, the study found.

Research carried out by Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington in the United States has found that Israel has the world's healthiest diet, or to be more precise, the world's least unhealthy diet.

A global danger list found that risky diets consisted of too much salt, too little fruit and too few whole grains.

The study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found the U.S. had 171 deaths per 100,000 compared to 127 in the UK.

"Poor diet is associated with 1 in 5 deaths worldwide, according to a new, large study".

He added that the study showed that campaigners should start promoting healthy foods such as nuts and fruit rather talking about the harmful affects of red meat, sugar and fat.

On average, diets included only 12% of the recommended daily intake of 25g of nuts and seeds and 23% of the recommended daily intake of 126g of whole grains.

Based on the study, the world needs more nourishment instead of just any food on the table.

'Two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day per individual accounted for 52 percent of household income in low-income countries, 18 percent in low to middle-income countries, 16 percent in middle to upper-income countries, and 2 percent in high-income countries. The researchers said that the idea of increasing the consumption of a healthy diet needs to be added to policy debates.

"This study gives us good evidence of what to target to improve diets, and therefore health, at the global and national level", said Oyinlola Oyebode, associate professor at Warwick Medical School in Coventry, England, who was not involved in the research.

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