Connection between nutrition and disease:
- It is necessary to understand that the way in which we eat has a direct impact on gastrointestinal diseases. The most common signs of a unhealthy diet include bloating, acid reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome (Brechka, 2011).
- Many people have adopted diets consisting of microwave dinners, soft drinks, potato chips, and other processed foods which are full of sugar, salt, and preservatives which do not offer nutrition (Brechka, 2011).
- Foods high in fats and carbohydrates can trigger food allergens and food intolerances (Brechka, 2011).
- There is a link between diet, obesity, abnormal imetabolism, and diabetes which can lead to gastrointestinal cancers (“Diet and Nutrition Disorders,” 2012).
Characteristics of a Healthy Diet
- It is not always easy to choose a healthy diet because there are so many “fast” options out there for picking up a quick meal although by doing this you are not getting the adequate nutritional components the body needs.
- Nutrients are extremely important to one’s health and dieting for many reasons. Its intake has profound effects on development and longevity.
- For example, the ingested quantity of a nutritionally adequate diet is thought to dictate a trade between the development of age-related pathologies that determine the length of life and the ability to sustain vigorous growth or high fidelity (Piper et al, 2005).
- A nutritionally balanced diet contains needed vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and fibers. I would like to challenge everyone reading this to examine the components of the diet you eat in one day and then compare it to all the healthy components needed in one’s diet to see how your eating compares.
- Nutrition science refers to the way in which we study nutrition and its benefits to society and on principles for healthy eating including guidelines for nutrition (Freeland-Graves & Nitzke, 2002). There is a lot of confusion to the public over what is considered healthy eating. It is important for the food regulators to promote moderation and portion size, emphasize total food patterns versus individual meals, stress the importance of nutrients from foods versus supplements, and acknowledge the need for physical activity (Freeland-Graves & Nitzke, 2002).
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal group that is responsible for regulating the food industry and setting standards for nutrition (Sizer & Whitney, 2012). Look the the FDA’s website for more information and learning: http://www.fda.gov
Factors that Drive Food Choices
- Many factors influence how we choose the foods we eat. If I asked three people about their family dinners growing up I would probably get three different descriptions of how the food choices were made and presented.
- Social factors are involved in food choices as different culture relate to food and meal times differently as choices are made based on the setting in which the people are dining (Wansink, 2011). For example, I may choose a different meal if I was eating alone on my couch versus if I was at a business dinner with colleagues.
- Psychological factors drive food choices based on the mood of the person eating. Everyone has had a day when they are feeling sad or down about a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend and he or she goes straight to the freezer for the ice cream. This shows how the mental well being of someone can directly influence that days food choices.
- I feel that psychological factors are probably one of the biggest problems to this country’s obesity problem because people feel they can often make excuses for food choices based on how they were feeling that day although bad choices made one day can spiral out of control to everyday poor choices.
2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- The United States revises the food guidelines every five years in order to provide people with summary on the latest research on nutrition and how to apply it to daily living (Loney, 2011).
- The 2010 guidelines can be found at http://www.cnnp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines.htm
- There are two main concepts which are to maintain calorie balance over time to achieve healthy weight and to consume nutrient dense foods (Loney, 2011).
- Recommendations to achieve healthy living need to include looking at weight management throughout the lifespan and not just on a day to day basis (Loney, 2011).
- I feel it is important to address the public with these recommendations and to start teaching healthy eating and nutrition early in life as well as to incorporate ways to eat healthy on a small budget.
Fats, Proteins, and Carbohydrates
- Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are necessary in our daily diets as they each have their roles in diet and digestion.
- Proteins help keep the immune system functioning properly, maintain healthy skin and hair and also help the body produce enzymes (Freeland-Graves & Nitzke, 2002).
- Carbohydrates provide energy to the body so that we can complete daily tasks (Sizer & Whitney, 2012). While carbohydrates provide energy to the body they can also be converted to body fat if enough energy isn’t completed (Freeland-Graves, 2002).
- Fats are similar to carbohydrates in that they provide energy to the body although they also form body fat (Sizer & Whitney, 2012).
- It is clear to see that carbohydrates and fats need each other for the body to properly burn energy.
- Fiber is just an important part of digestion and often we do not have enough fiber in our daily diet which can be detrimental. Fiber is necessary to help the body in digestion and regulate bowel movements (Freeland-Graves, & Nitzke, 2002).
- Since many people eat diets that are so high in fats and low in fiber this creates a link to poor digestive health which was discussed earlier. Our bodies need to have fiber to help rid the body of unwanted waste and promote good intestinal health.
Role of Diet in Weight Management
- It is no surprise that there is a problem in this country with obesity as we can all see this just by going to the mall and looking around. The role of diet is so important in both obesity and people who are underweight.
- As discussed earlier fats do play an important role in diet but it is important to have a balance between fats and proteins and other components to diet.
- Obesity can be linked to diabetes and people who eat diets that are high in fats and do not consume enough essential vitamins and minerals in their diets (“Diet and Nutrition Disorders,” 2012).
- Everyone talks about obesity and people who are overweight but there also needs to be a focus on people who are underweight. Someone who is underweight can have health problems as well as their body is not retaining enough essential vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy weight and their body is disposing of these components.
Nutritional Recommendations Across the Lifespan
- During pregnancy it is very important to ensure eating foods that are rich in many important nutrients. Folic acid is very important for pregnant women to consume to prevent birth defects. Please visit the Mayo Clinic’s webpage at the following link to learn more about necessary compnents to eat while pregnant: http://www.mayoclinic.com/pregnancy
- As children grow it is essential for them to get lots of intake of vegetables and fruits and to limit the amount of sugars in the diet (“Adolescent and School Health,” 2012).
- Eating a nutritional diet as a child is important for adulthood to prevent disease such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis later in life (“Adolescent and School Health,” 2012).
- Proper nutrition starts with childhood and stretches throughout the lifespan. I think someone who eats well as a child will continue these habits throughout their life, especially if they see their parents eating healthy.
Adolescent and School Heath. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/nutrition/facts.htm
Anonymous (2011). Gastrointestinal Disorders: Dietary Research Offers New Explanations and Treatment
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Brechka, N. (2011). It Takes Guts. Better Nutrition, 73(12), p. 48.
Diet and Nutrition Disorders: Study Results from Indian Institute of Technology Provide New Insights into
Obesity. Health and Medicine Week, p. 175.
Freeland-Graves, J. & Nitzke, S. (2002). Position of the American Diabetic Association
Total Diet Approach to Communicating Food and Nutrition Information.
Journal of the American Diabetic Association, 102(1), p. 100-108.
Loney, L. (2011). Health Happenings: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Alamogordo Daily News.
Piper, M., Mair, W., & Partridge, L. (2005). Counting the Calories: The Role of
Specific Nutrients in Extension of Life Span by Food Restriction.
The Journal of Gerontology, 60,(5), p. 549-555.
Sizer, F. & Whitney, E. (2012). Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies, My Plate Update (12th ed). Mason, OH:
Wansink, B. (2011). Food Management Ideas for Colleges, Healthcare, Schools, and Business. Food Management, 46(7), p. 36-38.