A good diet with balanced nutrition is one of the most important considerations for health. Today, especially in western industrial countries like the US, access to food is almost taken for granted.
In fact, Americans have so much access to food, it often goes to waste. Surplus food is a common feature in western developed populations. Despite the seeming abundance of food, Americans are at risk of malnutrition, and at an increasing rate.
But how is this possible?
Malnutrition is often characterized as a severe lack of food. Images of the third world, war-torn, famine ravaged countries with starving children are what many people think of when they think malnutrition.
But the definition of malnutrition is slightly different. If we break down the word itself “mal” which means bad and “nutrition”, translate to bad nutrition. Not having enough food to eat on a constant basis is definitely a form of bad nutrition.
But bad nutrition also means having too much food, too much of the wrong food and also having enough food but lacking in essential qualities such as nutrient deficiencies.
Based on the true definition of malnutrition, it can be assumed that at least two-thirds of America is malnourished according to healthy adult weight stats.
This form of malnutrition, however, from an overabundance of poor quality food sources.
While being overweight can be a symptom of malnutrition, it is possible to be at what is considered a healthy weight and still be malnourished.
Malnutrition can also be a very individual experience. Your genetics, unique needs, sensitivities, and intolerances can all play a role in how you respond to the various elements and compounds of nutrition, affecting how well-nourished you are.
Whatever the case, it’s important to be able to pick out even the most subtle signs of malnutrition. With that said, let’s look at some of them.
If someone is overweight, chances are they are malnourished. This is probably due to being in a constant caloric surplus, which means they’re eating too much.
People who overindulge in food, often overindulge in the wrong foods, which often exacerbates the unceremonious weight gain due to the metabolic damage caused by bad cholesterol and excess sugar.
While the most typical manifestation of malnutrition in an American context is the overweight crisis, a sizeable portion of the malnourished population are underweight.
Losing too much weight, especially in the form of muscle tissue is a sure sign of inadequate food intake or serious deficiency in certain nutrients. Both unexpected weight gain and loss can be worrying, but sometimes, these conditions can be very much expected.
Expected weight fluctuations mean a person knows that their nutritional habits are self-destructive, but are under the influence of disordered eating behaviors.
Such circumstances can be traced back to a mental health issue, seeking counseling and nutrition coaching for disordered eating might be necessary considerations unless an underlying physiological issue is causing the abnormal weight.
Constipation is another common indicator that you’re not eating properly. This is mainly due to a lack of fiber. However, constipation can also be a sign of a lack of adequate water supply, which in itself can be considered a form of malnutrition.
Loading up on fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grains is the best way to stave off this nutritional deficiency and avoid being backed up.
Being constantly tired and lethargic are symptoms of many things. Whenever the body is in a state of imbalance. Fatigue is often one of the results. It’s also worth considering that the body being in a state of imbalance is often the result of poor nutrition.
So chronic fatigue is likely a nutritional imbalance that can be addressed by learning about good nutrition and receiving professional dietary guidance.
Inflammation is a natural reaction and is part of your body’s natural mechanism of defense, recovery, and repair. Inflammation creates conditions favorable to the repair of damaged tissue or the warding off of infection while signaling for the required resources to make recovery effective.
If you find yourself suffering from chronic inflammation, you might want to reduce or eliminate industrially processed foods, lower your intake of animal products and increase your intake of whole plant sources, especially those rich in antioxidants.
Malnutrition is almost as prevalent in industrially developed countries as it is in poor third world nations. The only difference is the context and type of malnutrition.
While in developed nations, malnutrition is often due to poor choice or behavioral challenges, in developing countries, malnutrition is due to lack of choice and economic challenges.
Either way, recognizing the signs and symptoms of malnutrition is a necessary step, one which we hope we’ve helped you take with this article.
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