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Friday, September 30, 2022

Bharat’s diet found to be healthy, West Africans have the healthiest diet: study

According to a study published by the Lancet Global Health in 2015, the food consumed on a daily basis by people of Mali, Chad, Sierra Leone, and Senegal (West African countries) is healthier and more nutritious than the diets of people all over the world. The Bharatiya diet was also found to be healthy, mainly owing to the vegetarian-based foods consumed in almost all households on a regular basis.

The research, led by Fumaki Imamura from the University of Cambridge, used self-reported diet surveys from 187 countries. It analyzed the intake of healthy foods- vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, foods containing fiber, and omega- 3S; and unhealthy foods- sugary drinks, saturated fats, sodium, and processed meats. 

The results indicated that Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly West Africa, ranked better than the wealthier nations in North America and Europe, whose diet consists of processed foods rather than lean meats, vegetables, legumes, and staple starches in the diets of Africans. 

The study, however, only examines nutrition which tells about the quality of the diet. It does not speak to the quantity of food consumed. It naturally assumes that all surveyed adults consume 2,000 calories per day. Still, according to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the prevalence of malnourishment in the area was around 24% in 2012. Talking to Quartz Africa, Imamura said that:

“Looking at just diet quality is not perfect, we know, For better public health, we should all look at any social and environmental factors. But, we found little global-health research on diet quality based on what people actually eat. So, we decided to fill the piece of many existing issues.”

The main aim of the research was to highlight the worsening eating habits of people worldwide. The consumption of unhealthy and processed foods in high-income countries is increasing. These eating habits lead to several diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory illnesses. According to the research, “In view of the disease burdens associated with suboptimum diet quality, these findings emphasize the need to elucidate better the societal, policy, and food industry determinants of these differences and trends, and to implement policies to address these inequities and improve diet quality globally.”

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