Dr Aseem Malhotra, from Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, James DiNicolantonio, from the Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas in the US, and Professor Simon Capewell, from the University of Liverpool, said research had shown many times over that simple steps could benefit health. For example, drinking a sugary drink (150 calories) is associated with a significantly increased risk of Type 2 diabetes but a daily handful of nuts (30g of walnuts, 15g of almonds and 15g of hazelnuts) or four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (around 500 calories) is associated with a significantly reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. They said estimates showed that increasing nut consumption by two servings a week could stave off 90,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease in the US alone. "An exaggerated belief in the (modest) benefits of pharmacotherapy, aggressively reinforced by commercial vested interests, can often mislead patients and doctors, and promotes overtreatment in chronic disease management, and may even distract from and undermine the benefits of simple lifestyle interventions," they added.
SEE ALSO:They said the "continued collective failure to act is an option we cannot afford", with obesity already costing the NHS over £5 billion a year. The costs of Type 2 diabetes in the UK exceed £20 billion and are predicted to double in the next 20 years, they added. The researchers argued that the global burden of disease "will clearly not be prevented by medications; it will require policy interventions that make healthier diet choices easier (the 'default option'). "The most powerful and effective policies include taxation on sugary drinks, and subsidies to increase the affordability and availability of healthier foods including nuts, vegetables and fruit, in addition to controls on the marketing of junk foods and clear package labelling. "It is time to stop counting calories, and time to instead promote good nutrition and dietary changes that can rapidly and substantially reduce cardiovascular mortality." Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said the article reminded people to focus on their whole diet.
"But with around a quarter of adults in the UK already classed as obese and more than a third overweight, our energy intake does still need to be considered."Without counting the calories in every mouthful, simple swaps like choosing fruit and vegetables rather than fatty and sugary snacks, or water instead of a sugary soft drink, can help to reduce our energy consumption and enable us to reap the benefits to our waistlines as well as consuming a nutritious diet that is beneficial for our overall health."
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