Are you Overfed and Undernourished?
By: Pearl Maalouf BS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
A look into the modern day dilemma of being overfed and undernourished. Can our modern day processed food meet all of our bodies nutritional needs?
The modern world is characterized as being overfed – consuming an excess amount of calories, but at the same time being undernourished – not having enough nutrients!
Obesity is an epidemic. This is a fact that I think almost everyone knows. But if so many people are gaining weight, how are we at the same time not getting enough nutrients? How are we undernourished?
We can all agree that the foods from popular fast food chains are high in calories, fat, sugar, and most of the time, full of chemicals/preservatives/artificial food coloring as well. If the majority of your meals come from these types of processed foods you’re not giving yourself a chance to eat enough of the foods that your body needs – foods that have healthy fats and that are rich in minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
If you fill yourself up with vegetables, legumes, fruits, and lean proteins you will be consuming a low calorie, high fiber, and nutrient dense diet. After doing this consistently your body will start working like it was meant to, becoming a more efficient, healthy body.
Biochemist Bruce Ames argues that widespread vitamin and mineral deficiencies in modern diets result in chromosomal damage that leads to cancer and accelerated aging.
So being undernourished gives way to rising obesity and cancer rates, accelerated aging and a whole other list of chronic diseases…..Then why is it so hard to convince people to eat more vegetables and fruits?
Our minds and bodies-on a hormonal level- react to sugar or fat similarly as they would to drugs. Even more so when something is fatty and sugary. Have you ever seen someone bite in to a doughnut or piece of cake and close their eyes from euphoria? They are experiencing something similar to a drug high due to the rush of dopamine-the happy hormone.
Besides the effect of fast food on our minds when we bite in to it, many of us have been trained to eat fast food. Yes, trained. The introduction of “Kids Meals” in 1979 made sure that kids started consuming fast food at an early age and developed that tradition in their minds. The kids that were eating the first kids meals are at least in their mid 30’s. The marketing of kids meals became even more popular, now over 13 fast food companies have kids meals. This new generation literally grew up with fast food and passing on that tradition to their kids. Except now the calories in fast food make up 30-42% of calories consumed outside the house by kids compared to 20% in the late 1970’s.
Fruits, vegetables (both raw and cooked), lean proteins, healthy fats, nuts, and legumes all contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber give your body the fuel that it needs to run efficiently. This in turn boosts your immune system, protects you from chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, gastrointestinal issues, high blood pressure, eye diseases and more.
If you eat fast food a lot, start slowly cutting back on the number of times you eat out. Then simply start by adding fruits and vegetables whenever you can. As you progress keep in mind my golden rule: Eat and buy food that is as close to it’s natural source as possible. If you stick to this rule as much as possible you will completely change your health and you might notice your pants getting a little looser too!