Am I malnourished, what are the consequences of malnourishment? How could I tell if I was suffering from it?
Can it be possible for a nation that has every type of food thinkable at
their fingertips at any given time suffer from malnourishment?
A world we are now living in with everything at a faster pace and with more choice than we know what to do with.
Surely not, we should be healthier as a result.
NO! afraid not.
We are actually unhealthier and lazier than ever.
The reason is ADDICTION!
We are as a nation addicted to junk food. Junk food, in general, has very little in the way of nutrition. It contains high amounts of salt and sugar and has been processed so much it barely resembles what our bodies recognise as food.
How do I know if I am suffering malnourishment?
A slower immune response which increases the risk of getting infections, and increases the length of time that it takes to recover from a cold or infection, also difficulty staying warm as a result of having less muscle and tissue mass.
How does it happen?
Malnourishment occurs when you are depleted of nutrients, healthline.co.uk says “The body requires many different vitamins and minerals that are crucial for both body development and preventing disease.
These vitamins and minerals are often referred to as micronutrients. They aren’t produced naturally in the body, so you have to get them from your diet”.
If you are not ingesting nutrients from the healthy food you eat then you are not giving your body the correct vitamins and minerals it needs for survival.
Why do so many people crave junk food in general?
That is a simple truth, junk food is addictive, junk food shares the same biological basis as addiction to abusive drugs does.
Have you heard of the reward system?
Well, the brain can tell when you have ingested food, it knows you are doing something “correct”, it releases a whole lot of feel-good chemicals into the reward system.
What kind of chemicals?
Well, among them is Dopamine, this is released as the pleasure feeling. Our brains are hardwired to seek out things that give us that pleasure feeling.
The problem with junk food is that it is so powerful it can give you more pleasure than say, whole foods and healthy meals. Ice-cream for some will release loads of dopamine but healthy ice-cream, for example, may only release a small amount.
We seek for the increased amount.
The next problem is building a tolerance and the need for more of this chemical dopamine, that’s when you need more junk food to get that same feeling you first had.
Tolerance and withdrawal are the hallmarks of physical addiction.
How do you know if you are addicted to junk food?
The starting point is cravings!
Do not confuse cravings for hunger, cravings are a desire to eat a certain type of food, cravings can appear from nowhere. Or, so it seems, what we may not have realised is we have triggers also known as cues and these are the cause of these cravings.
A smell, a colour or an advert can cause a trigger that makes us crave and eat that type of food. We then receive the reward (Dopamine) when we give in and the cycle starts.
Emotional states and sometimes depression can trigger a craving. If you give in constantly to these cravings you run the risk of becoming an emotional eater on a roller coaster to get the highs from foods you once had.
Cravings can turn into binges which in turn can lead to more emotional distress, It is difficult to cut these cravings but not impossible with the right support and help.
If you need support please contact me directly but also support from family members is important, friends can be invaluable in times of need.
If you feel you cannot ask family and friends for whatever reason then seek help from a counselor or ask your GP for a referral.
Over time, food addiction can cause severe physical and psychological problems. This is why it is best to seek help and advice sooner rather than later.
Many people who have been struggling with food addiction for a long time keep their eating habits secret for fear of being found out, that is understandable but if you are worried about someone please seek help on their behalf.
This can in the long term cause depression and individuals can suffer a severely broken self-esteem.
This is compounded by the fact that some people do not even know they are addicted to food and simply think that they’re just weak and possibly undisciplined.
Having the tools is important and learning how to use them to deal with everyday triggers is essential when taking on a new journey to becoming a healthier happier version of yourself.
Why wait when help is readily available? It is way better to wake up with a smile than dreading the day ahead.
Eating healthily does not have to be boring, also maintaining the balance is so important and having all of this fit in with your lifestyle as one size doesn’t fit all is imperative.
If you want sustained energy, great skin, healthy hair and be able to go for pizza and prosecco but not put on the pounds as a result then get in touch.
I believe “working with” someone is better than changing them to conform to fit in the right box of what is classed as socially acceptable, realistic goals with healthy happy outcomes is how I work.
Maria is a qualified Nutritionist based in Hertford. Her passion and involvement in nutrition started a number of years ago in response to a kidney condition, which rendered her reliant upon GP-prescribed antibiotics. By taking proactive control of her nutritional program, she achieved complete recovery. She coupled this with quality health supplements regained control of her life.