Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Overweight and Malnourished

We live in a pretty crazy world when it comes to food and eating. Some figures of which you already may be aware:

1 person dies every second as a result of hunger - 4,000 every hour - 100,000 each day - 36 million each year!*

In contrast:
  • There are 1.7 billion overweight or obese people worldwide
  • The total world population is 6.8 billion people
  • Thus, about 25% of the world population is overweight or obese
It may seem contradictory to say this, but many, if not most, overweight and obese individuals are also malnourished. So how exactly does that work?

"Obesity has become a problem of poverty," says Daniel Epstein of the WHO Regional Office of the Americas. “Poor people have an easier time of eating junk food. People fill up on things that have a high caloric value but little nutritional value.”

The common diet of many overweight individuals is to consume refined products high in fat, sugar, sodium but low in necessary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Tomorrow I will post on "super-foods," nutrient dense foods (foods that provide the most fiber, minerals, vitamins, etc per calorie) and will begin to occasionally post nutrient-dense recipes that are 1) easy to make, 2) inexpensive and 3) tasty! Feedback is always appreciated, so let me know what you think of my dishes! (Please)

The food pyramid exists for a reason-when nutritional deficiencies
develop a number of physical and psychological symptoms arise. The table below provides a thorough overview of malnutrition's obvious side effects but also touches on its more subtle symptoms.

BiotinUncommonDermatitis, eye inflammation, hair loss, loss of muscle control, insomnia, muscle weakness
CalciumAverage diet contains 40 to 50% of RDA*Brittle nails, cramps, delusions, depression, insomnia, irritability, osteoporosis, palpitations, peridontal disease, rickets, tooth decay
Chromium90% of diets deficientAnxiety, fatigue, glucose intolerance, adult-onset diabetes
Copper75% of diets deficient; average diet contains 50% of RDA*Anemia, arterial damage, depression, diarrhea, fatigue, fragile bones, hair loss, hyperthyroidism, weakness
Essential fatty acidsVery commonDiarrhea, dry skin and hair, hair loss, immune impairment, infertility, poor wound healing, premenstrual syndrome, acne, eczema, gall stones, liver degeneration
Folic acidAverage diet contains 60% of RDA*; deficient in 100% of elderly in one study; deficient in 48% of adolescent girls; requirement doubles in pregnancyAnemia, apathy, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite, neural tube defects in fetus, paranoia, shortness of breath, weakness
IodineUncommon since the supplementation of salt with iodineCretinism, fatigue, hypothyroidism, weight gain
IronMost common mineral deficiencyAnemia, brittle nails, confusion, constipation, depression, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, inflamed tongue, mouth lesions
Magnesium75 to 85% of diets deficient: average diet contains 50 to 60% of RDA*Anxiety, confusion, heart attack, hyperactivity, insomnia, nervousness, muscular irritability, restlessness, weakness
ManganeseUnknown, may be common in womenAtherosclerosis, dizziness, elevated cholesterol, glucose intolerance, hearing loss, loss of muscle control, ringing in ears
NiacinCommonly deficient in elderlyBad breath, canker sores, confusion, depression, dermatitis, diarrhea, emotional instability, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, memory impairment, muscle weakness, nausea, skin eruptions and inflammation
Pantothenic acid (B5)Average elderly diet contains 60% of RDA*Abdominal pains, burning feet, depression, eczema, fatigue, hair loss, immune impairment, insomnia, irritability, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, nausea, poor coordination
PotassiumCommonly deficient in elderlyAcne, constipation, depression, edema, excessive water consumption, fatigue, glucose intolerance, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, mental impairment, muscle weakness, nervousness, poor reflexes
Pyridoxine (B6)71% of male and 90% of female diets deficientAcne, anemia, arthritis, eye inflammation, depression, dizziness, facial oiliness, fatigue, impaired wound healing, irritability, loss of appetite, loss of hair, mouth lesions, nausea
RiboflavinDeficient in 30% of elderly
Blurred vision, cataracts, depression, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, inflamed eyes, mouth lesions, nervousness, neurological symptoms (numbness, loss of sensation, "electric shock" sensations), seizures. sensitivity to light, sleepiness, weakness
SeleniumAverage diet contains 50% of RDAGrowth impairment, high cholesterol levels, increased incidence of cancer, pancreatic insufficiency (inability to secrete adequate amounts of digestive enzymes), immune impairment, liver impairment, male sterility
ThiaminCommonly deficient in elderlyConfusion, constipation, digestive problems, irritability, loss of appetite, memory loss, nervousness, numbness of hands and feet, pain sensitivity, poor coordination, weakness
Vitamin A20% of diets deficientAcne, dry hair, fatigue, growth impairment, insomnia, hyperkeratosis (thickening and roughness of skin), immune impairment, night blindness, weight loss
Vitamin B-12Serum levels low in 25% of hospital patientsAnemia, constipation, depression, dizziness, fatigue, intestinal disturbances, headaches, irritability, loss of vibration sensation, low stomach acid, mental disturbances, moodiness, mouth lesions, numbness, spinal cord degeneration
Vitamin C20 to 50% of diets deficientBleeding gums, depression, easy bruising, impaired wound healing, irritability, joint pains, loose teeth, malaise, tiredness.
Vitamin D62% of elderly women's diets deficientBurning sensation in mouth, diarrhea, insomnia, myopia, nervousness, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, rickets, scalp sweating
Vitamin E23% of male and 15% of female diets deficientGait disturbances, poor reflexes, loss of position sense, loss of vibration sense, shortened red blood cell life
Vitamin KDeficiency in pregnant women and newborns commonBleeding disorders
Zinc68% of diets deficient

Acne, amnesia, apathy, brittle nails, delayed sexual maturity, depression, diarrhea, eczema, fatigue, growth impairment, hair loss, high cholesterol levels, immune impairment, impotence, irritability, lethargy, loss of appetite, loss of sense of taste, low stomach acid, male infertility, memory impairment, night blindness, paranoia, white spots on nails, wound healing impairment
(Table Source: Total Wellness by Joseph Pizzorno, ND )

*Numbers may vary according to which site you visit.


  1. good post sure your not an RD you would be very good lol Rebecca

  2. Hello friend amazing and very useful information about Overweight and Malnourished I really learn reading this blog thanks for sharing!!


Tried my recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you! Be honest (and kind!)