34 health problems fueled by junk food

Here’s an exciting statistic…

The CDC reports that roughly 70 percent of annual deaths are due to chronic diseases.

I know what you’re thinking…

“That’s sad, not exciting. What the heck is wrong with you?”

Here’s why I think it’s exciting: The CDC also reports that most of these chronic diseases are caused by lifestyle choices.

That means we have the power to prevent many of the diseases that cause us pain, misery, disability and eventually kill us.

Now, the term “lifestyle choices” covers a lot of turf. It includes everything from how many hours you log at the gym to how many hours you log at the office.

But I want to focus on the lifestyle choice that probably trumps all others when it comes to preventing disease — diet.

A lousy diet could be causing these chronic diseases

Did you know that a poor diet is a driving factor behind at least 34 medical problems?

A lot of people don’t realize it’s this many. They know that eating a diet filled with drive-thru burgers and plastic-wrapped cupcakes will make them put on weight. Heck, it may even make them obese.

But give them a chronic disease? No one thinks it will ever happen to them. Until it does.

Now, I’m guessing you or someone close to you has a chronic disease. More than half of Americans do.

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That means knowing which chronic diseases are most influenced by diet could save the health (and life) of someone you love… or maybe even your own. Here’s a list of 34 medical conditions that are caused by or heavily contributed to by a poor diet:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia
  3. Heart Disease
  4. Stroke
  5. Gall Bladder Disease
  6. Osteoarthritis
  7. Sleep Apnea
  8. Respiratory Problems
  9. Breast Cancer
  10. Prostate Cancer
  11. Colon Cancer
  12. Cervical Cancer
  13. Gallbladder Cancer
  14. Kidney Cancer
  15. Liver Cancer
  16. Ovarian Cancer
  17. Endometrial Cancer
  18. Leukemia
  19. Esophageal Cancer
  20. Dyslipidemia (excess fat in the blood)
  21. Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (liver inflammation due to fat accumulation in the liver)
  22. Insulin Resistance
  23. Asthma
  24. Hyperuricemia (too much uric acid in the blood)
  25. Reproductive Hormone Abnormalities
  26. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  27. Impaired Fertility
  28. Type 2 Diabetes
  29. Depression
  30. Anxiety
  31. Fatigue
  32. Tooth decay
  33. Acne
  34. Digestive issues

Clean up your diet, clean up your health

This list is sobering, especially if you or someone you love suffers from one of these conditions. It makes you wonder…

What dietary changes can I make to improve my health and prevent myself from coming down with more chronic conditions?

Related: 6 steps to snap your junk food addiction

Chronic health conditions come in clusters, after all. In fact, 40 percent of Americans have two or more chronic diseases.

There’s no one-size-fits-all diet that can prevent every chronic disease. But here’s the closest thing: the Mediterranean diet. Research shows the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, neurogenerative diseases and several types of cancer.

So, attaining better health and a lower disease risk could be as simple as kicking junk food to the curb and eating these Mediterranean diet-approved foods more often:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Wholegrain breads, pastas, and cereals
  • Fish
  • Red wine (in moderation)
  • Minimal amounts of red meat, sweets, and processed foods

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  1. Chronic Diseases in America — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  2. Disease Prevention — Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  3. These 27 medical problems are caused by a poor diet —AdvocateAurora Health eNews
  4. Why Good Nutrition is Important — Center for Science in the Public Interest
  5. Mediterranean Diet and Prevention of Chronic DiseasesNutrition Today
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.