One of the ironies of the American diet is that people can be overfed yet undernourished. Learning how diet contributes to obesity is just one part of understanding the link between diet and health. Even if you eat plenty of food, you can still display malnutrition symptoms if you are filling up on unhealthy foods.
Studies show that despite the abundance of food, a huge proportion of Americans are suffering from basic nutritional deficiencies. Over 30% of people are short of magnesium and essential vitamins A, C and E. More than 80% of diets lack vitamin D, and 90% of adults do not eat enough omega-3 fats. These are essential for controlling inflammation and blood sugar levels in the body. So what’s going wrong?
Processed Foods Provide “Empty Calories”
Eating processed foods such as burgers, canned food, sausages, bacon, French fries, snacks, convenience foods and soda means a diet high in calories but low in vitamins and nutrients. Laden with high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and preservatives, these foods are far from the meat, fruit and vegetables that our bodies are designed to consume, and they can quickly lead to malnutrition symptoms.
We need vitamins and minerals from fruit, vegetables and whole foods to maintain a healthy metabolism which helps burn fat and regulate sugar levels. Without them, the metabolism becomes sluggish. Instead of burning those excess calories it turns them into stored fat, making the problem even worse. It’s easy to understand how the diet contributes to obesity when it lacks the core elements.
Intensive farming can also lead to malnutrition symptoms. Intensive farming has depleted the soil. A study of the food we eat today shows it has far fewer vitamins, calcium and iron than it had in the 1950s.
Symptoms of Modern Malnutrition
While scurvy and rickets are thankfully a thing of the past, malnutrition symptoms from a lack of vitamins and minerals in a modern diet can include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Poor recovery after illness or surgery
- Low white blood cells and weakened immune system
- Fertility problems and poor libido
- Reduced muscle mass
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Dry hair and hair loss
- Pale dry skin and wrinkles
- Decreased mobility due to muscle wasting
Malnutrition symptoms may be due to digestive disorders, stomach conditions, alcoholism, or most likely an imbalanced diet. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s worth analyzing what you are eating and how much you are eating. Understanding how diet contributes to obesity, and how at the same time it can cause malnutrition, is the first step to changing your life.
By adopting a more natural, healthy diet you can improve your health and increase your longevity. Start by avoiding processed foods such as foods that come in boxes and cans; avoid excessive meat consumption, particularly sausage, bacon and deli meats; avoid fried foods such as French fries; reduce or eliminate snack and convenience foods. Commit to eliminating high fructose corn syrup and trans fats from your diet; instead include healthy oils such as olive and coconut oils. Stop drinking soda pop, and avoid sugar consumption. Never consume artificial sweeteners; they are dangerous to say the least. Make sure to consume at least five servings of fresh vegetables and fruit a day to help lower your weight while boosting nutritional value. It’s a great recipe for better health!