Perhaps unsurprisingly, countries which follow the Mediterranean diet - which emphasizes eating fresh, whole foods - ranked among the lowest in terms of diet-related deaths.
Variations in poor diets apart, the research factors towards three dietary elements that drastically contributed towards food regimen-associated demise and DALYs: excessive sodium consumption, low complete grains consumption, and small quantities of fruit in a single's weight-reduction plan.
In some countries the high intake of salt is the biggest problem, while in others, reducing the sugar-content is the number one priority.
The study also attributes poor dietary habits to be the cause behind the increase in certain non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, and even type 2 diabetes. For instance, Israel, Spain, and France had good scores for healthy diets.
"Our findings show that sub-optimal diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risks globally, including tobacco smoking, highlighting the urgent need for improving human diet across nations", according to the researchers. They disclosed that deaths related to diet swelled from eight million in 1990, largely due to increase in population and population ageing.
The sweeping review - which analysed almost 20 years of dietary data from 195 countries, alongside epidemiological studies about nutrition-related health risks and benefits - estimates that poor diets killed 11 million people around the world in 2017, mostly by contributing to cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The mortality rate per 100,000 people attributable to diet in 2017. So, she said that "diet is a risk factor for everybody". Intake of whole grains below 125 grams per day has been a potential dietary risk for death and disease in India, the US, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Russia, Egypt, Germany, Iran, and Turkey.
In 2017, diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and high in trans fats, sugary drinks, red and processed meats, combined for roughly eleven million deaths worldwide.
The lead author of the study, Dr Ashkan Afshin explains: "Generally in real life people do substitution".
Importantly, they noted that changes must be sensitive to the environmental effects of the global food system, to avoid adverse effects on climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, depletion of freshwater, and soil degradation. That's an important message, Afshin says, since lots of health advice hinges on cutting out junk food, rather than emphasising the nourishing foods people should be adding to their plates instead.