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Experts: less bacon, more nuts

— Gorging on bacon, skimping on nuts? These are among food habits that new research links with deaths from heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

Overeating or not eating enough of certain foods and nutrients contributes to nearly half of U.S. deaths from these causes, the study suggests.

“Good” foods that were under-eaten include: nuts and seeds, seafood rich in omega-3 fats including salmon and sardines; fruits and vegetables; and whole grains.

“Bad” foods or nutrients that were over-eaten include salt and salty foods; processed meats including bacon, bologna and hot dogs; red meat including steaks and hamburgers; and sugary drinks.

The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is based on U.S. government data showing there were about 700,000 deaths in 2012 from heart disease, strokes and diabetes and on an analysis of national health surveys that asked participants about their eating habits. Most didn’t eat the recommended amounts of the foods studied.

In the study, too much salt was the biggest problem, linked with nearly 10 percent of the deaths. Overeating processed meats and undereating nuts and seeds and seafood each were linked with about 8 percent of the deaths.

The Food and Drug Administration’s recent voluntary sodium reduction guidelines for makers of processed foods and taxes that some U.S. cities have imposed on sugar-sweetened beverages are steps in the right direction, said lead author Renata Micha, a public health researcher and nutritionist at Tufts University.

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