Spanning nearly 30 years The Lancet study has lambasted Chinese food: three major killers

In 2017 alone, 3 million people died because of a high-sodium diet, 3 million died because they ate too little mixed grains, and 2 million died because they didn’t eat enough fruit, according to statistics from a first large-scale study in the field of global diet by The Lancet, with nearly 20% of deaths worldwide caused by dietary problems, and in China, the percentage is even higher.

  This first large-scale, heavyweight study in global diet (1999-2017), published by The Lancet, covers mortality and disease burden due to dietary structure in 195 countries and regions.

  This large study, published around 2019 and statistically spanning nearly 30 years, is not only unprecedented, but also yields a number of alarming conclusions, including

  Mortality and disease rates due to diet structure in China are surprisingly much higher than in the United States!

  In everyone’s impression, the United States is a “everything can be fried” high sugar and high oil diet area, we can be more unhealthy than them, where is the problem?

First, China is the hardest hit by the wrong way of thinking about eating

  Let’s take a look at the world situation of mortality caused by the problem of diet structure –

  The purple block is the region with the lowest mortality rate triggered by diet structure on earth. In fact, although they are all purple, Japan and Korea next to us are the regions that are really the lowest in terms of values, lower than the purple regions in Europe.

  Most of China is in the penultimate bracket, the orange block, which may seem better than orange-red countries like Mongolia and Russia. But ……’s 2017 statistics show that it’s not much better.

  The Lancet mentions China twice in the original article, noting that in the 2017 statistics, China’s cardiovascular disease mortality rate and cancer mortality rate due to dietary structure were the first among the top 20 large countries in the world’s population.

  While Japan, which is also in East Asia, has the lowest all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality and diabetes mortality due to its diet structure.

Second, the biggest killer is not sugar and fat

  The statistics give a completely different subversive result from our daily stereotypes, the wrong diet that causes tens of millions of deaths each year globally is not too much sugar and fats, but sodium, mixed grains and fruits –

  The top three statistical tables of deaths caused by dietary structure problems are high salt, low miscellaneous grains and low fruit diets

  According to The Lancet, in 2017 alone, 3 million people died because of a high sodium diet, 3 million died because they ate too little mixed grains, and 2 million died because they didn’t eat enough fruit, nearly 20% of deaths worldwide were caused by dietary problems, and in China, the percentage is even higher.

  Red meat, processed meats, sugary drinks and even trans fats, which we are wary of on a daily basis, instead rank low in the contribution to death. Even in the DALY (Disability Adjusted Life Year, a measure of overall disease burden) statistics, they rank low ……


  The order of the top three contributors to disease burden was slightly adjusted, but it was still a low-mix diet, a high-sodium diet, and a low-fruit diet.

  There are three main diseases caused by dietary structure problems: cardiovascular disease, tumors and type 2 diabetes. It is also mainly these three diseases that eventually cause people to die because of incorrect eating plan.

Third, why is the mortality rate in China so high

  The Lancet” statistics of different regions to meet the standards of dietary status, of which, East Asia, because Japan and South Korea are counted separately in the “high-income Asia-Pacific region” plate, so basically can be regarded as China-based data.

  1. Death-prone areas, sodium overload   The top gray bar represents the global average, and the second purple bar is the data for East Asia, which can basically be seen as China’s data. The dotted line represents the bottom line, and the green line and interval are the best recommended intervals. It seems not surprising that a high sodium diet, the first chair on the killer list, has led to China being cued continuously in mortality.
  2. Insufficient fruit to kill   In terms of daily fruit intake, East Asian data remains weak, not reaching the passing line (100 grams per day recommended by the dotted line), let alone the best recommended amount of 250 grams. However, all regions of the world did not reach the best recommended amount.   Japan and South Korea and other high-income neighboring countries barely reached the passing line.
  3. The amount of mixed grains also did not pass   Like fruit, the data show that our intake of miscellaneous grains is also below the passing line, the third over the Southeast Asian region, Japan and South Korea this time over the passing line.   Again, the world has not reached the recommended optimal intake.   After reading the above three, you may be a little strange, Japan and South Korea are not different from us, how is our mortality rate is the highest Japanese mortality rate is the lowest?   There is a considerable reason may be in the following chart.   This graph is the statistics of daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids, the only one that soars into the green area and exceeds the upper limit of the table is the red bar, which is the data of Japan and Korea.   In this regard, they easily surpass Australia, Western Europe and North America, not to mention China which is still far from the passing line ……   In fact, in terms of eating less processed meat, drinking less sugary drinks and eating less trans fats, Japan and Korea are doing worse than China, see the following chart –   The four tables from left to right show the average daily intake of red meat, processed meat, sugary drinks and trans fats respectively.

Incidentally, the last red bar is for high-income North America, where each item is higher than China’s, but their dietary structure causes less mortality and disease burden than China’s.

Fourth, how should we eat?

  Knowing the causes, it is not difficult to correct the symptoms. The Lancet even attached the recommended amount of various foods directly in the article, so you can follow the plan.

  1. Reduce salt in food   Most of the sodium intake in our diet comes from edible salt. Therefore, eating less salt, consciously avoiding overly salty foods, and cooking with less salt can greatly reduce sodium intake.   The Dietary Guidelines for Chinese Residents (2016) recommends a daily salt intake of less than 6 grams, and the Lancet table is more stringent, considering the optimal standard to be around 3 grams.   According to a survey conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for more than 28,000 people, 72.7% of students eat processed foods at least once a week, only 1% of them can distinguish which are high-salt foods, and 1/4 of adults have never heard of low-sodium salt, etc. People’s knowledge of high-salt foods and high-salt condiments is generally low. The general awareness of high-salt foods and condiments is low, and there is a lack of active salt control behavior. The fundamental reason is related to the national people’s excessive pursuit of “taste and texture”, ignoring health and nutrition, which shows that the situation of salt restriction in China is still very serious.   Cheng Yiyong, a professor of nutrition at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, combined with his experience in salt restriction in his life, gave the following advice.   1) Before buying something, look at the sodium content first. Usually when buying food, get into the habit of looking at the nutrition facts on the product packaging. Nutrition facts will be marked on the food sodium content, low sodium content also means that the food contains less salt.   2) Keep a salt spoon at home. The latest version of the “Dietary Guidelines for Chinese Residents (2016)” recommends that the daily salt intake of adults does not exceed 6 grams, the commercially available salt spoon, a spoon is 2 grams, each person is 3 spoons of salt per day. Calculated by making a dish with a spoonful of salt, for a family of three, if you make 3 dishes per meal per day, you can calculate and control the amount of salt used in each dish. Each person can eat at most 1/3 of each dish to ensure that the salt intake does not exceed the limit. Also remind, soy sauce, MSG and other seasonings also contain salt or sodium, if put should reduce the amount of salt used to avoid salty iteration.   3) Replace with natural ingredients. When cooking, in addition to salt, you can also use mushrooms, cilantro, sugar, vinegar, onions, etc. to enhance the flavor, as far as possible to reduce the amount of salt.   4) Choose low-sodium salt. Low sodium salt appropriately reduces the sodium content of salt and increases the potassium content, which is the preferred choice for the general healthy population. It should be noted that low sodium salt is not the same as low salt, people with kidney disease, but also pay attention to the risk posed by high potassium.   5) Avoid invisible salt. Eat less processed foods with high salt content, pastries, pickled products are salt-rich.   (6) Children and the elderly eat salt with extra attention. Salt control starts with children, infants and children’s food, it is best not to put salt, so that the child will grow up with a lighter taste; the elderly due to the sensitivity of taste buds become worse, the taste becomes heavy, easy to eat more salt, so family members should pay attention to persuasion.
  2. Increase fruit intake   The Lancet’s recommended amount of fruit is about 250 grams per day. According to Feng Xiang, deputy director of the Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, the low fruit intake of Chinese people is related to the traditional diet culture, and fruit is not a typical Chinese traditional diet composition.   The national people should also pay attention to the following points to increase fruit intake.   First of all, we should insist on eating it every day. Dietary guidelines recommend that Chinese adults should consume 200 grams to 400 grams of fruit daily. Roughly one apple per day with an orange or banana, or 200 grams of grapes plus a sorbet.   Second, eat enough of the rainbow of colors. The more colors of fruit you eat every day, the richer the nutrient intake. Not only should you use strawberries, tomatoes and other “heart experts”, orange and lemon, but also grapes, blackberries and other purple and blue fruits. It is best to do two or more fruits every day, and you can change the type of fruit every week.   Finally, choose the right time to eat. Try to eat as little fruit as possible at night, eating time to 1 to 3 hours after meals is appropriate, should not eat on an empty stomach. In addition, some special groups of people should pay attention when consuming fruits.   In addition, diabetics prefer watermelon, apples, kiwi and other fruits with low sugar content, the recommended daily intake of 100 grams to 200 grams; obese people eat less durian.
  3. Mixed grains instead of refined rice and white flour   125 grams of mixed grains per day does not look like much, but the global regions are surprisingly far from this is very surprising. For the Chinese, replacing refined rice and white noodles in food with mixed grains should be close to this goal, and refined rice and white noodles are not highly rated in terms of dietary health.   The Dietary Guidelines for Chinese Residents (2016) recommends a daily intake of 50 to 150 grams of whole grains and mixed legumes and 50 to 100 grams of potatoes, but the intake of coarse grains varies among people of different ages.   1) Infants and children   When infants reach 6 months of age, the gastrointestinal tract and other digestive organs are relatively well developed and can digest diverse foods other than breast milk, at this time, fine coarse grains such as millet can be added, and rice boiled into porridge or ground into powder and mixed in rice paste. Recommended coarse and fine food, 1-2 times a week can be, gradually transition to 3-4 times a week.   2)Preschool age   At about six years old, children’s first permanent teeth erupt, but chewing ability is only 40% of that of adults, chewing and digestive ability is still limited. It is recommended that when preschoolers add coarse grains, parents make fine grains, grind them into powder, press them into puree, boil them into porridge or mix them with other foods to make fancy and delicious foods, such as grinding mixed beans into powder and mixing them with wheat flour in the ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 to make rolls and mixed grain packets, which can improve the absorption of nutrients from coarse grains and satisfy children’s appetite. Although coarse grains are good, but not too much is good, preschool children’s daily intake should be controlled within 35 grams.   (3) Childhood and adolescence   Throughout the adolescent period, growth and development continue, many important organs and tissues are actively developing, and the demand for calcium, iron, zinc and other minerals is slightly higher than that of adults. Mixed legumes are high in iron, and cereal germ and bran are rich in zinc. If only refined grains are eaten, vitamin B1 deficiency can easily result. Therefore, the daily diet should be a variety of food, coarse and fine mix. But the intake of too much coarse grains, dietary fiber will interfere with the body’s absorption of certain nutrients; phytic acid and calcium, iron, zinc, etc. chelated into phytates, can not be used, so children and adolescents should not eat more than 100 grams of coarse grains per day.   (4) Young and strong period   As the most valuable period of life, young adults do not pay attention to the care of their bodies, a variety of diseases will soon come to the door. Healthy diet and balanced diet is one of the key methods to prevent various chronic diseases. Increased intake of whole grains can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer; increased dietary fiber has potential benefits for obesity prevention and more. Mixed legumes are rich in potassium and dietary fiber, which are helpful in preventing hypertension and should be eaten in appropriate amounts. Therefore, young adults should ensure a certain amount of daily intake of coarse grains, preferably between 150 to 200 grams, and to often change the food.   5)Middle age   When people reach middle age, some chronic diseases start to appear, such as hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, etc. Trivalent chromium complex as glucose tolerance factor is beneficial to improve glucose tolerance; vanadium can affect insulin secretion, promote the oxidation and transport of glucose in adipose tissue and the synthesis of liver glycogen, inhibit hepatic glucose xenobiotic, and protect pancreatic islet function, all these trace elements are present in whole grains. However, coarse grains mostly belong to medium purine content food, for patients with hyperuricemia or gout, the frequency of eating coarse grains is not more than 3 times a week, and each time is controlled within 100 grams.   6) Elderly   It is recommended that the elderly population should eat about 150 grams of cereals per day, mainly whole grains. Considering the reduced digestive function of the elderly, it is recommended to grind whole grains into flour for consumption. The elderly population has a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, it is recommended to consume more oats on a daily basis. Studies have shown that oats are rich in soluble dietary fiber and have the best effect on lowering blood lipids. At the same time, potatoes have the effect of reducing the incidence of dry and hard stools, bowel difficulties, therefore, the elderly population preferred oats, potatoes as a daily intake of coarse grains.   In addition, we still need to adhere to the original healthy habits, eat correctly and exercise well.