Could just 10 foods substantially impact your risk of dying from a cardiometabolic disease (CMD) like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or stroke? Maybe.
A recent study provides some insight into the degree to which 10 specific foods and nutrients affect the risk of dying from CMD. The study found eating suboptimal levels of 10 foods or nutrients — too much of some and not enough of others — was associated with more than 45 percent of deaths due to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Too much, not enough, or just right?
Not eating enough of the following foods and nutrients was estimated to contribute to the corresponding percentage of CMD deaths: nuts and seeds (8.5 percent), seafood-based omega-3 fats (7.8 percent), vegetables (7.6 percent), fruits (7.5 percent), whole grains (5.9 percent), and polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fat or carbohydrates (2.3 percent).
Eating too much of the following foods and nutrients was estimated to contribute to the corresponding percentage of CMD deaths: sodium (9.5 percent), processed meat (8.2 percent). Sugar sweetened beverages (7.4 percent), unprocessed red meat (0.4 percent).
A word of caution
As with any study, there are some limitations. The comparative risk model is not a cause-and-effect model, and it does not prove that changing intakes of these foods and nutrients would reduce CMD disease risk.
In addition, the particular health effect of each food or nutrient on any individual could be affected by a number of factors including other dietary habits, age, sex, level of physical activity, and genetics.
Still, it’s safe to say that everyone has some room for improvement in their diet.
Source: Harvard University: health.harvard.edu