Bad nutrition: the world’s biggest killer

Every year the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) presents the latest leading causes of death in the United States. This includes a robust analysis of the causes of death, and their breakdown in different states, genders and populations [1]. The goal of this post is not to focus on this morbid statistics. As always in Nutrino, we like to focus on the impact nutrition has. So today, we will ask ourselves (and the data…) a very important question: which of our top killers can be prevented by smart nutrition?

CDC reports from the last few years show that the top 15 leading causes of death remain mostly fixed in recent years [1]. They are (in this order):

1. Diseases of heart
2. Malignant neoplasms (cancer)
3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases (emphysema)
4. Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)
5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
6. Alzheimer’s disease
7. Diabetes mellitus
8. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney failure)
9. Influenza and pneumonia
10. Intentional self-harm (suicide)
11. Septicemia (blood infection)
12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
13. Essential hypertension (high blood pressure)
14. Parkinson’s disease
15. Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids (lung disease)

Separating the leading causes of death according to gender reveals nearly the same list but in a different order. Men are more prone to die from unintentional injuries than women (guys – let’s not get reckless…).

Leading causes of death in the U.S.


1 out of every 2 Americans die from either heart disease or cancer. Together with strokes, these three diseases kill more people than all the other causes of death combined. It is very easy to think about this as only numbers. But they are not just numbers. Every one of us knows someone who suffered from these terrible diseases. Think about it.

A study from the UCSF proved that about 82% of heart diseases and strokes are preventable and even reversible by smart nutrition [2]. About half of cancer cases are preventable by smart nutrition as well, depending on the type of cancer [3].

Do the math to find out the following mind blowing fact:

Bad nutrition is the #1 cause of death in the United States

Similar statistics by the World Health Organization shows that the same is true for the rest of the western world [4].

But this is not everything. The food that you eat is actually much more powerful than you would imagine. In fact, smart nutrition is capable of preventing 14 out of our 15 top killers (the 14 are bolded above). Moreover, in many cases it is capable of reversing 5 of our 15 top killers (heart attacks, cancer, emphysema, diabetes and hypertension) [4].

This is an important story to tell, as it means that you have great control over your health. This is why I recommend sharing these figures with your friends and family – who knows, you may save lives!

So here is a great idea: let’s start eating healthy! I know it’s hard, as there are many temptations. We are surrounded with junk food all the time. But remember, healthy food is a pleasure. It is the only food that doesn’t only nourish your taste buds but actually nourishes your entire body. Not sure where to start? Just download Nutrino. We are here for you.

As a side note I just have to add that the story of bad nutrition as was told here is actually the reason why we founded Nutrino.


[1] Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2010, Center of Disease Control and Prevention

[2] Ornish, Dean, et al. “Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease?: The Lifestyle Heart Trial.” The Lancet 336.8708 (1990): 129-133.

[3] Anand, Preetha, et al. “Cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes.” Pharmaceutical research 25.9 (2008): 2097-2116.

[4] Leading causes of Death, The World Health Organization

[5] Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, Dr. Michael Greger, 2012