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Study links unhealthy eating to rise in Type 2 diabetes

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A lack of whole grains, too many refined grains and too much processed meat were three big contributors to the more than 14.1 million cases of Type 2 diabetes in 2018, Tufts University researchers say.

The researchers looked at 1990-2018 data from the Global Dietary Database. All of the 184 countries analyzed showed an increase in Type 2 diabetes cases, and poor diet was linked to more than 70% of new diagnoses. 

Other dietary factors that were looked at but shown to have less of an impact included drinking too much fruit juice and not eating enough non-starchy vegetables, nuts or seeds.


Generally, diet-linked cases of Type 2 diabetes were higher in men, adults 20-25 years old, and people living in urban areas.

“These new findings reveal critical areas for national and global focus to improve nutrition and reduce devastating burdens of diabetes,” said senior study author Dariush Mozaffarian, Jean Mayer Professor of Nutrition and dean for policy at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

The study was published online in the journal Nature Medicine.

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