What Is Considered Malnutrition?

Nutrition and Malnutrition How to Know the Difference

Nutrition is a much talked about topic when it comes to fitness and health. Most of us think of nutrition as a positive way of taking care of our body. We discuss healthy foods required so that our bodies can function correctly. However, we sometimes miss the other side of nutrition which is malnutrition. Here we will discuss facts about malnutrition which can help us understand the true meaning of being healthy.

Malnutrition Defined

When you hear the word malnutrition, what comes to your mind? We may think of people who are too thin or children who are almost made up of skin and bones. That is the most common myth about malnutrition.

The truth is malnutrition is the extremes of consuming specific nutrients. It is either you can too much or too little of needed nutrients. It is also about how many and how high or low the quality of food you are ingesting. Then it also covers the body’s ability to absorb and utilize nutrients. Therefore, you can be skinny yet healthy. And you can be big, muscular, and athletic, yet you have malnutrition.     

Billions of people around the world have this medical condition. They are called malnourished. Malnourishment depends on a person’s lifestyle, environments, and resources. Continue reading to know the types and signs of malnutrition.

Two Types of Malnutrition

There are two kinds of malnutrition:

  • Overnutrition- This happens when you eat too much of specific nutrient like protein, fiber, fat, or calories. A linear diet can cause over nutrition. Most often than not, this can lead to obesity and other overweight related illnesses.
  • Undernutrition- It refers to a deficiency in key nutrients like protein, micronutrients, and calories. It usually occurs when a person is limiting his or her food intake. Examples are crash dieting and starvation. It results in being underweight and imbalance on the person’s required height and weight for his age.

Signs of UnderNutrition

Undernourishment is when you lack key nutrients
Undernourishment is when you lack key nutrients

Here are the signs of undernutrition. If you have them, it is better to go to a doctor specializing in nutrition so you can get help:

  • Significant weight loss
  • Decrease in muscle and fat mass
  • Think cheeks and eyes are sunken
  • Unusually big stomach
  • Skin is dry as well as the hair
  • Wounds take time to heal
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Sudden mood swings and irritability

Most nutrients undernourished or micronutrients people lack are first vitamin A which is for the eyes; then zinc for appetite wound healing, and growth; iron for brain function and energy; and lastly, iron for the thyroid which is responsible for hormones.

Signs of OverNutrition

Most of the signs of overnutrition are related to being overweight and obese. Its main cause can be traced to excessive consumption of processed and fast food which has very low key nutrients.  These foods are high in calorie and salt but low in vitamins A, C, E, and fiber.

  • Obesity-Check if you’re BMI is more than 30
  • Type 2 diabetes-because of high sugar intake
  • Diarrhea- because the stomach may no longer absorb nutrients due to high fat
  • High blood pressure- since the kidney could have been damaged due to high sodium in the body
  • Heart problems- which can lead to heart attack because of hardened artery walls
  • Difficulty walking- when the bones can no longer carry the excess weight
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