In describing a well-nourished person, we only have to describe a healthy person. This is logical, for the food a person eats provides the raw material out of which all body processes are supported and maintained. This ideal state of health comes partly from sufficient protein in the diet to provide for the formation and repair of body tissues. There must also be an adequate supply of minerals to reinforce the body tissue, as in the formation and maintenance of teeth and bones. There must be sufficient carbohydrate for energy, as well as the right amount of fat. There must also be vitamins to keep the tissues in good condition and to enable the brain, the nerves, and other vital organs to function well.
But even in "lands of plenty", it is surprising that a high percentage of persons are actually not well-nourished. And why is this so? Because these people have the habit of committing any one of the five common dietary customs responsible for widespread malnutrition. According to diet gurus, these five "nutritional sins" exact their penalty and keep transgressors from enjoying vitality and good health. Check these out and see which of them you’re guilty of:
1. Eating too much – Eating more food than the body requires causes extra calories to be stored in the body as fat. The result is overweight.
2. Eating snacks – Eating between-meal snacks is harmful on four counts: 1) It lessens the appetite for regular meals; 2) it deprives the digestive organs of the normal rhythmicity of function which permits them to rest between meals; 3) it tends to raise the total intake of calories for the day above the desirable limit (thus encouraging overweight); and 4) it encourages the eating of junk foods low in vitamins and minerals – the confections and highly refined foods.
3. Eating too much sugar – The tendency to prefer candy bars, ice cream, soft drinks, and confections instead of the usual well-balanced fare of regular meals goes along with the custom of eating frequently and irregularly. While it is true that sugar provides quick energy (for it contains many food calories), these "empty calories" are not accompanied by important vitamins and minerals. In satisfying the appetite by food high in sugar content, one loses his desire for more subtly flavored foods which contain, in their natural state, the necessary protein, vitamins, and minerals. It has been demonstrated in nutritional experiments that children provided with a carefully planned, adequate diet do not have the abnormal craving for sweetened foods developed by people careless in their choice of food. It works both ways, then – persons who eat too much sugar lose their desire for wholesome food, and those who receive an abundance of wholesome food do not crave an excess of sugar.
4. Eating too much processed food – There are basically two reasons why food manufacturers process their products: 1) to preserve the food during transportation and marketing, and 2) to increase its appeal to the customer. Processing food includes removal of substances that favor spoilage, removal of water, addition of preservatives, addition of vitamins and minerals to make up for what has been removed, and addition of substances which improve taste or color. Food processors make an effort to preserve and restore the nutritional values in food, as is shown by their enriching of refined foods with vitamins, minerals, and protein. However, the so-called "lesser" nutritional elements are often not restored in the "enriching" process. None of these processed foods can adequately replace fresh foods and foods which have undergone a minimum of processing. The danger is that a person can subsist too largely on these processed foods, to the neglect of fresh foods, because of the convenience of obtaining them. Thus consumers deprive themselves of important food elements which are lost, in whole or in part, by processing.
5. Neglecting breakfast – How many times have you heard people say "they don’t have time", so they skip breakfast? This excuse probably indicates intemperance in a person’s sleeping habits. Failing to get enough sleep because of not getting to bed on time, the dissipater rises late and prepares quickly for his first appointment, slighting breakfast. This indifference to breakfast easily becomes a habit until many persons honestly claim, "I don’t feel hungry for breakfast." But these same persons become hungry before noontime and indulge in a midmorning snack. This practice dulls their appetite for the noon meal, and a custom of irregularity develops, with many calories being derived from snacks rather than from nutritionally balanced, properly scheduled meals. Breakfast, as the very term so indicates, is so important because it is the first meal of the day. During the night, the energy necessary to carry on vital physiological functions has been drawn from the body’s stores until these are partly depleted. In the following new day, therefore, it is important to replenish them. Breakfast, then, should be nutritiously adequate and should consist of more than just enough energy food to carry the individual through the next couple of hours.
Now ask yourself these questions: "Am I well-nourished? Or am I guilty of habitually committing these nutritional sins?" Drop the habit; and don’t be a recidivist. Live a healthy life.