Sub-optimal diets are responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor, with diets high in sodium, low in whole grains, low in fruit, low in nuts and seeds, low in vegetables, and low in omega-3 fatty acids each accounting for more than 2 percent of deaths worldwide, a Global Burden of Disease study published in the medical journal The Lancet finds. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the report, Health Effects of Dietary Risks in 195 Countries, 1990–2017: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (HTML or PDF, 15 pages), found that in 2017, 11 million deaths were attributable to dietary risk factors — more than those attributable to smoking — through conditions and illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and colorectal cancer. According to the study, mean consumption of nuts and seeds, milk, and whole grains ranged between just 12 percent and 23 percent of optimal intake, while mean consumption of processed meat and of red meat exceeded the optimal intake by 90 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Consumption of sodium and sugar-sweetened beverages exceeded optimal levels in nearly every region, while red meat consumption was highest in Australasia, southern Latin America, and tropical Latin America; processed meat consumption was highest in high-income North America, followed by high-income Asia Pacific and Western Europe; trans fats intake was highest in high-income North America, central Latin America, and Andean Latin America. The report highlights the need for more comprehensive and effective food system interventions to promote the broader production, distribution, and consumption of healthy foods.