Poor diets responsible for 11 million early deaths a year

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A study published in The Lancet medical journal has found that unhealthy diets cause one in seven deaths in Britain every year. The research also found that lack of fresh fruit and fibre has the largest impact on health, fuelling heart disease, diabetes and cancer. 

The key findings of the report show: 
  • Unhealthy diets are responsible for 11 million early deaths each year. 
  • 50% of deaths were because of low consumption of fruits and whole-grains, and high salt intake.
  • More deaths are caused by the absence of healthy foods in our diet than the consumption of unhealthy foods containing sugar and trans-fats. 

The Soil Association’s Hattie Shepherd (Policy Officer Food and Health) said: 

"With 51% of family food purchases in the UK made up of ultra-processed food, British families are already eating the most ultra-processed diets in Europe. But the Global Burden of Disease Study shows that it’s not only unhealthy foods that are the problem. Action must be taken that will enable families to eat a varied diet full of fresh, affordable, and minimally processed ingredients. 

We urgently need the National Food Strategy the Government has been promising for some time now. This has to include a clear message at its heart: a healthy diet should be based on real food that nourishes.”