A New Understanding of Diet, Diabetes, and Heart Disease
It has been long understood that diet has an integral role in the development (or non-development) of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes (collectively known as cardiometabolic diseases, or CMD). While general knowledge on this subject has given way to general dietary recommendations, more nuanced research on the subject has yielded more sophisticated insights.
Research published in March’s Journal of the American Medical Association shines some light on specific dietary factors that result in specific illnesses. This is valuable research because it offers clarity to subjects long governed by bad science, tradition and “common sense”. The research vindicates some commonly held notions, and contradicts others.
- In 2012, 45.4% of all American CMD deaths (318,656) were directly associated with specific dietary habits.
- The most influential dietary factor in CMD mortality was excessive sodium intake. High dietary sodium is most often associated with the frequent consumption of processed foods.
- The second most influential dietary factor in CMD mortality was infrequent consumption of nuts and seeds.
- The third most influential factor was high consumption of processed meats (often contributing to the #1 factor described above).
- The rest of the factors, in order of influence from greatest to least, were: low seafood omega-3 fats, low vegetables, low fruits, high sugar sweetened beverages, low whole grains, low polyunsaturated fats and high unprocessed red meats. (Red meat was a major CMD mortality factor in only 0.4% of cases).
The good news is that CMD deaths from overconsumption of processed foods declined in almost all populations between 2002 and 2012. People who dig into the study results will find that different demographics, ages and genders had dramatically different mortality rates with regard to consumption or non-consumption of different foods, so there is a lot of work yet to be done in this arena.
Nonetheless, this is an excellent start to the creation of a body of knowledge from which normal people can derive plans for health living. Heart disease continues to be the #1 killer of American adults, with stroke and diabetes not far behind.
Hanson Medical Systems specializes in identifying these diseases after they are already in development. But wouldn’t it be great to equip people with the knowledge they need to prevent these illnesses from ever occurring?
Changes that can be initiated on the individual level are good for businesses in a number of ways. Healthy employees are happier and more productive. Healthy employees cost less to insure health care policy. Healthy employees don’t create emotional strain in a workforce by becoming ill or suddenly dying.
Hanson Medical Systems realizes that healthy living is an investment in all aspects of a well-functioning business, just as good dietary habits are an investment in individual health. We hope that these insights will yield sound common practice in the years to come, so that American health and wellbeing can improve all of our lives.