Poor diet is biggest health risk and more deadly than smoking
Poor diet is the world's deadliest health risk, accounting for a fifth of all deaths, a study has shown.
Eating unhealthily claims more lives than smoking because of its links to heart disease, cancer and diabetes, say researchers.
More than 130 scientists compared dietary habits to rates of death and disease in 195 countries.
They found that in 2017 poor diet was responsible for 11 million deaths, or 22pc of the total recorded.
A table looking at diet-related deaths in 195 countries found Ireland ranked at 101 with France, Spain, Japan, and Andorra doing best.
A breakdown of the analysis showed that low intake of whole grains and fruits, and high consumption of sodium - found in salt - accounted for more than half of diet-related deaths.
The rest were attributed to high consumption of red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened drinks and other unhealthy foods including those containing trans-fatty acids.
The vast majority of diet-related deaths were due to heart disease, followed by cancers and Type 2 diabetes.
Poor diet also caused a huge burden of disability, the researchers reported in 'The Lancet' journal.
In comparison, smoking tobacco was associated with eight million deaths.
Lead scientist Dr Ashkan Afshin, from the University of Washington, said: "Poor diet is an equal opportunity killer."