Type 2 diabetes is on the rise all across the world, soaring from about 100 million to 500 million cases in the last few decades and bringing with it complications such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. So, scientists have been looking at what has caused the rise and so far they are pinpointing a poor diet as the root of the problem.
According to research recently published by Nature Medicine, diet seems to account for a whopping 95 percent of the cases of type 2 diabetes.
As Science Alert noted:
Researchers analyzed data from 184 countries collected between 1990 and 2018, pulling in statistics from public health databases, previous studies, and population demographic records. A poor diet could account for up to 14.1 million type 2 diabetes cases identified in 2018, the team found, which is around 70 percent of new diagnoses globally.
Of the 11 different dietary factors considered, three were shown to be most significant: insufficient whole grains, too much refined rice and wheat, and too much processed meat. Other factors, such as not eating enough nuts or non-starchy vegetables, seemed to have less of an impact.
“Our study suggests poor carbohydrate quality is a leading driver of diet-attributable type 2 diabetes globally, and with important variation by nation and over time,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
Regions including Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean have all seen huge swings in new cases of type 22 diabetes, the study added.
“All 184 countries included in the research saw a rise in diabetes cases over the study period, indicating this is a global problem with few, if any nations successfully curbing the rising incidence of diabetes across their population,” the report added.
“Left unchecked and with incidence only projected to rise, type 2 diabetes will continue to impact population health, economic productivity, health care system capacity, and drive health inequities worldwide,” said nutrition epidemiologist Meghan O’Hearn, from the Food Systems for the Future Institute in Illinois.
“These findings can help inform nutritional priorities for clinicians, policymakers, and private sector actors as they encourage healthier dietary choices that address this global epidemic,” O’Hearn added.