The devastating effects of the standard ‘Western’ diet-fried food, processed and red meat, and refined grains-have been highlighted this week. Just 4 per cent of people are ‘ageing well’ without any health problems, while the diet is taking years off people’s lives, researchers have confirmed.
The diet is a major cause of heart disease and premature death, say researchers who tracked the health of more than 5,000 people for 16 years and until they reached their sixties.
The good news, say researchers from Inserm in France, is that the worst effects of the diet can be reversed by switching to a healthier diet that includes less processed foods and more fruits and vegetables.
Just 4 per cent of the people tracked were free of chronic disease and remained physically, mentally and cognitively sharp into their sixties; 12 per cent had suffered a non-fatal heart attack or stroke, 2 per cent had died from heart disease, and 7 per cent had died from another condition. The rest-73 per cent of the participants-were ageing ‘normally’, which meant they had chronic health problems, or were suffering some mental decline.
(Source: American Journal of Medicine, 2013; 126: doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.10.028).