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What are the Healthiest Diets in the World?


From VOA Learning English this is the Health and Lifestyle report.


We are what we eat. That is an old expression, but one worth knowing. A recent look at diets around the world shows that people who eat healthy food -- and not too much of it -- live longer.

我们吃什么就长得像什么。这是一个古老的表达,但值得了解。最近一项对世界各地的饮食情况研究表明,吃健康食品的人 - 前提是别吃过量- 会活得更久。

But which areas of the world have the best diets? The Lancet Global Health medical journal has published findings on whose diets are the best. Researchers studied the dietary quality of people in 187 countries from 1990 to 2010. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Medical Research Council supported this study.

但世界上哪些地区的饮食最健康?“柳叶刀全球健康”医学杂志发表了关于哪里的饮食最好的调查结果。研究人员研究了187个国家人群从1990年到2010年的饮食质量。The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Medical Research Council supported this study.比尔和梅林达盖茨基金会和医学研究委员会支持了这项研究。

It found that foods found in some of the healthiest diets -- Mediterranean, New Nordic, French and Japanese -- may be very different, but they do have things in common. They are all heavy on local, seasonal foods and limit processed foods. They are high in vegetables and seafood and low in red meat.




Many studies have been done on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. This diet has lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and olive oil.


The diet has moderate amounts of fish and poultry. Red meat and foods high in sugar and salt are not big parts of this diet.


New Nordic diet


Scientists and food experts from five Nordic countries borrowed ideas from the Mediterranean diet to develop a new, healthier regional diet. This New Nordic diet has whole grains cereals like oats and rye, vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli and beets, eggs, seafood, fruits, oil, low-fat milk and cheese.


Olive oil is a common part of the Mediterranean diet. The New Nordic diet uses rapeseed oil instead. Very sugary desserts are not common in this diet.


And the New Nordic diet suggests cooking food at a lower temperature. Techniques such as baking and boiling help foods keep more of their nutritional value.




The World Health Organization says that Japanese people are some of the longest-living people on the planet. The life expectancy there is 87 years old for women and 80 for men.


Researchers believe the Japanese diet is the reason for such long lifespans. The diet has many foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients. Japanese people eat a lot of seaweed, tofu, miso soup, rice, vegetables and fish.


People on the island of Okinawa live especially long. And local food traditions may help explain why. For example, the tradition there is to stop eating when your stomach feels 80 percent full. The Okinawan diet is also especially heavy on nutrient-rich vegetables.


While food habits on Okinawa may be changing, the island is still home to many people over 100 years of age. Researchers suggest this may be from eating fewer calories over a long period of time.


The French paradox


However, French people eat fatty foods but do not get fat. And they live a long time. Researchers call this the "French Paradox." A paradox is something made up of opposites and seems impossible but it is, in fact, possible.

然而, 法国人吃油腻的食物却不发胖。而且他们也长寿。研究人员称之为“法国悖论”。矛盾是由对立面组成的,这似乎是不可能的,但实际上这是可能的。

The reason why the French eat fatty foods without getting fat may be simple. They eat less. Serving sizes in French restaurants and in products sold in stores are smaller than those in the United States. And generally speaking, most French people do not snack. This means they do not eat food between meals.

法国人吃油腻食物而不发胖的原因可能很简单。他们吃得少。法国餐馆和商店出售的产品的规格都比美国小。一般来说, 大多数法国人不吃零食。这意味着他们在两餐之间不吃东西。

Problems with the American diet


Americans are eating too many bad foods, and not enough nutritious foods. Some of the foods Americans love the most are the worst for them. These include sugary drinks, salty foods, and processed meat such as bacon and hot dogs.

美国人吃太多垃圾食品,没有摄入足够的营养食品。美国人最爱吃的某些食物,是最糟糕的垃圾食品。比如:含糖量很高的饮料、过咸的食品和加工肉类, 如熏肉和热狗。

And Americans are not eating enough healthy foods to increase their chances of living longer.


That is the message from researchers at Tufts University in the state of Massachusetts. Their 2017 study includes a nationwide look at people's eating habits. They found that about half of all U.S. deaths from heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes are from a poor diet.


The lead author of this study is Renata Micha and the senior author is Dariush Mozaffarian. They published their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

本研究的主要作者是雷娜塔迈克, 资深作者是 Dariush Mozaffarian。他们在美国医学协会杂志(JAMA)上发表了他们的这一研究结果。

The study found that most Americans do not eat the recommended amounts of "good" foods – such as fruit and vegetables, seafood, whole grains, seeds and nuts. Nuts, for example, contain healthy fats that can help raise good cholesterol levels.

研究发现,大多数美国人没吃足“推荐量”的“好”食物 - 如水果和蔬菜,海鲜,全谷物,种子和坚果。例如,坚果含有健康的脂肪,可以帮助提高胆固醇水平。

But a lack of these good foods can speed up what researchers call cardiometabolic problems. Cardiometabolic problems include stroke, diabetes or heart disease.


Noel Mueller is a health researcher at Johns Hopkins University in the state of Maryland. Mueller wrote about the Tufts study. He explains that a culture's diet greatly influences the number of deaths caused by cardio-metabolic disease.


Eating certain "bad" foods such as processed meats and sugary drinks can also speed up cardiometabolic problems. Eating too much processed meat raises unhealthy cholesterol levels. Sugary drinks may lead to diabetes. And, Mueller explains, a high intake of sodium, or salt, can increase blood pressure.

吃某些“坏”食物,如加工肉类和含糖饮料也会加速心脏代谢问题。吃太多的加工肉类会增加不健康的坏胆固醇水平。含糖饮料可能导致糖尿病。米勒解释说, 大量摄入钠或盐会增加血压。

In this case, "intake" is the amount of something that you eat or drink.


The highest proportion of deaths was due to high sodium intake -- also, high sugar-sweetened beverage intake, high intake of processed meats, and low intake of nuts and seeds.

死亡率最高的原因是高钠摄入量,还有高糖甜饮料摄入量, 加工肉类摄入量高以及坚果和种子摄入量低。。

He says people can increase their chances of living longer by eating the right foods. Eat less processed foods with high salt levels, and eat more fresh foods.


Diet does contribute significantly to the overall proportion of cardiometabolic disease deaths. If we lower our intake of sodium through reduction of processed foods -- which contribute to about 80 percent of our sodium intake in the U.S. -- we can see improvements in cardiometabolic health, including reductions in the number of deaths that are due to cardiometabolic disease."


The Tufts study says public health policies targeting unhealthy eating may help prevent some deaths. But in the end, policy and public awareness campaigns only do so much. It is up to people to think about what they put into their bodies.

塔夫茨研究称, 针对不健康饮食的公共卫生政策可能会减少一些死亡。但最终,政策和公众意识运动能做的只有这么多了。人们应该思考,到底该给自己的身体摄入那些食物。

Health experts writing about these diet studies remind us of another thing that countries with the healthiest diets have in common -- people walk a lot. In addition to eating right and eating less, walking may help people live longer, and live healthier.

关于这些饮食研究的健康专家提醒我们另一件事,那些饮食最健康的国家还有有共同之处 - 大家都会多走路。除了正确饮食和少吃外,步行可以帮助人们更长寿,更健康。

And that's the Health & Lifestyle report. I'm Anna Matteo.

这是健康和生活方式的报告。我是 安娜·马特奥。

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