Gorging on bacon, skimping on nuts? These are among food habits that new research links with deaths from heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Overeating or not eating enough of the 10 foods and nutrients contributes to nearly half of US deaths from these causes, the study suggests. "Good" foods that were under-eaten include: nuts and seeds, seafood rich in omega-3 fats including salmon and sardines; fruits and vegetables; and whole grains, the AP reports. "Bad" foods or nutrients that were over-eaten include salt and salty foods; processed meats including bacon, bologna, and hot dogs; red meat including steaks and hamburgers; and sugary drinks.
The research is based on government data showing there were about 700,000 deaths in 2012 from heart disease, strokes and diabetes, and on an analysis of national health surveys that asked participants about their eating habits. Most didn't eat the recommended amounts of the foods studied. The 10 ingredients combined contributed to about 45% of those deaths, according to the study. Lead author Renata Micha says the foods and nutrients were singled out because of research linking them with the causes of death studied. Too much salt was the biggest problem, linked with nearly 10% of the deaths. Overeating processed meats and undereating nuts and seeds and seafood each were linked with about 8% of the deaths. (Another recent study has more good news about the Mediterranean diet.)