25 Malnutrition Facts & Stats to Keep You Well-Nourished

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Food provides us with essential nutrients, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that help us stay active, grow, and live life to the fullest. A well-balanced diet is crucial for our overall health.  However, malnutrition facts reveal that in many countries, nutritious and healthy food is too expensive. It’s often inconvenient, unsafe, and unavailable, which leads to the problem of malnutrition.

Malnutrition is a global problem caused by dysfunctional food systems. Unfortunately, it’s also the leading cause of disease and death in the world. Moreover, the levels of malnourishment are sky-rocketing, affecting millions of people on a global scale and creating a world health crisis. It’s time to raise awareness on this matter and support the fight against malnutrition.

The Top 10 Malnutrition Statistics and Facts

  • Low income is just one of the numerous causes of malnutrition.
  • Every country in the world is affected by some form of malnutrition.
  • Undernutrition begins in the womb.
  • Globally, close to 200 million children suffer from undernutrition.
  • Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger.
  • It’s estimated that 66 million primary school children go to school hungry.
  • About 340 million children suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, known as hidden hunger.
  • 50 million children suffer from wasting.
  • Globally, 1 in 9 people goes to bed hungry.
  • Undernutrition is the main cause of 28% of all childhood deaths in Ethiopia.

If you want to learn more about the causes, types, and consequences of malnutrition and undernutrition, keep reading.

Overall Malnutrition Facts

Malnutrition in ChildrenPercentageofMalnouri…

Globally South AsiaSub-Saharan AfricaCentral and EasternEurope

Region Percentage of Malnourished Children
Globally 27
South Asia 46
Sub-Saharan Africa 28
Central and Eastern Europe 5

1. Malnutrition occurs when an individual consumes too much or too little of essential nutrients.

(MedicalNewsToday)

Contrary to popular belief, malnutrition refers to a person’s quality of diet, not its quantity. Not giving your body enough nutrients (or the right balance of nutrients) causes malnutrition, and this can lead to severe health issues.

2. Low income is just one of the numerous causes of this health issue.

(MedicalNewsToday)

Malnutrition and poverty are closely related since a great number of people can’t afford healthy food. Some other malnutrition causes include poor dietary choices such as consuming fast food, difficulties in obtaining food, and numerous health and mental health conditions.

3. The term malnutrition refers to 3 groups of health conditions.

(WHO)

People often associate the term malnutrition with hunger and undernourishment. However, it can also refer to people who are obese and malnourished. Here are the three groups of conditions that the term malnutrition addresses:

  • undernutrition, which includes wasting, stunting, and underweight
  • micronutrient-related malnutrition, which includes a lack or excess of the essential vitamins and minerals
  • overweight, obesity, and diet-related noncommunicable diseases, like cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke

All these types of malnutrition are equally dangerous.

4. Every country in the world is affected by some form of malnutrition.

(WHO)

Not a single country in the world is spared from this health crisis, and fighting it is a big challenge. People who are at the highest risk of being affected by malnutrition are women, infants, children, adolescents, and the elderly, but other demographics can be affected by it, too. Poverty also greatly amplifies the risks associated with malnutrition.

5. The signs of malnutrition depend on its type.

(Healthline)

It’s crucial to recognize the early signs of malnutrition to be able to provide appropriate help. Depending on the type, the signs of malnutrition can include loss of muscle mass, fat, and weight. The signs of undernutrition include hollow cheeks, sunken eyes, dry hair and skin, inability to concentrate, depression, and anxiety. Conversely, the main signs of overnutrition are overweight and obesity

6. There are numerous symptoms of malnutrition. 

(MedicalNewsToday)

One of the earliest symptoms of malnutrition is a lack of appetite. Other symptoms malnourished people exhibit include delayed wound healing, feeling cold, tired, and irritable. Additionally, the symptoms include getting sick more often and taking longer to heal, as well as a higher incidence of complications after surgery.

Those who are malnourished may also have difficulty breathing and may even experience heart failure. Symptoms in malnourished children usually include a lack of growth and loss of weight, as well as learning difficulties due to slow behavioral and intellectual development.

Malnutrition in Children

Age Obese Seriously Obese
2-5 9.4 1.7
6-11 19.6 4.3
12-19 20.6 9.1

Consuming nutritious foods is essential for everyone, but especially for children. Adequate nutrition ensures a strong immune system, healthy growth and organ formation and function, and neurological and cognitive development.

7. Undernutrition begins in the womb.

(WHO)

The first 1,000 days — from conception to the child’s second birthday — are the most important for their development, and nutrition plays a crucial role here, assuring long-term benefits for the child’s well-being.

8. Globally, close to 200 million children under 5 suffer from stunting or wasting. 

(UNICEF)

The malnutrition statistics also reveal that an additional 40 million children under five are overweight, and their number keeps rising rapidly, even in low-income countries.

9. Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger.

(The World Counts)

Moreover, 3.1 million children under the age of five die every year because of malnutrition and hunger. That’s almost half of all deaths of children younger than five.

10. Poor care of women and children is an underlying cause of child malnutrition.

(UNICEF)

The causes of malnutrition in children intertwine across all stages of malnutrition. They start with the diets of mothers and children and go all the way to affordability and decision-making. The food systems — everything that happens from farm to mouth — provide children with too much of the food they don’t need, and too little of the food they actually need.

11. Around 66 million primary school children go to school hungry.

(WFP)

Out of this number, 23 million are in Africa. Studies have shown that without food and nutrition, children have difficulties learning, which affects their future.

Effects of Malnutrition

Prevalence of Food-Anxiety TypesPrevalenceof EatingDisorder inFemale USPopulation

Year Prevalence of Eating Disorder in Female US Population
Bulimia 1.5
Anorexia 0.9
Binge-Eating 2.8

12. One in 4 children in the developing world is underweight.

(UNICEF)

Approximately 146 million, or 27% of children under the age of five, are underweight. South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have the highest numbers of underweight children, 46% and 28%, respectively. Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States have only 5% of underweight children.

13. One in 3 children in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are stunted.

(UNICEF)

Stunted children are the ones who haven’t developed physically and mentally, due to undernutrition, and they’re usually shorter than their peers. Also known as chronic malnutrition, stunting affects 149 million children globally, with 34.4% of them living in South Asia.

14. About 340 million children suffer from hidden hunger due to micronutrient deficiencies.

(UNICEF)

It’s estimated that at least one in two children under the age of five suffers from hidden hunger, meaning they don’t get enough essential vitamins and minerals. It’s important to note that even a mild iodine deficiency can affect a child’s ability to learn.

15. 50 million children suffer from wasting.

(UNICEF)

The term describes children who are too short or thin for their age due to malnutrition. If left untreated, wasting malnutrition can lead to severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Children with SAM are 12 times more likely to die than healthy children.

16. 1 in 7 children in Eastern Europe and Central Asia is overweight.

(UNICEF)

Overweight and obesity can cause serious health issues both in childhood and later in life. Just some of them include musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and orthopedic complications, as well as early onset of type 2 diabetes, and behavioral and emotional problems like depression and stigmatization.

Prevalence of Malnutrition

17. 1.9 million adults are overweight or obese, while 462 million are underweight. 

(IntechOpen)

Malnutrition can affect anyone, regardless of their age, education, or social status. Besides affecting the health, malnutrition also increases healthcare costs, affects productivity, impacts economic growth, continuing the cycle of ill health and poverty.

18. Globally, 1 in 9 people goes to bed hungry.

(The World Counts)

The number of people affected by hunger has dropped significantly from 19% in 1990 to 10.8% in 2018, as the global malnutrition statistics reveal. However, the prevalence is still very high, and close to 9 million people annually die from hunger and hunger-related illnesses.

19. The prevalence of overweight children under 5 in the US is 9.4% as of 2016.

(Global Nutrition Report)

This percentage has increased from 8.4% in 2014. However, the prevalence of stunting in children under five is 3.5%, which is less than the global average of 21.9%. Moreover, the prevalence of wasting is 0.4%. As the malnutrition facts for the US show, this is also less than the global average of 7.3%.

The prevalence of malnourished adults is high, as well — 37% of women and 35.5% of men are obese.

20. Haiti is the country with the highest rate of malnourishment in the world. 

(World Atlas)

The whole country is experiencing a major food crisis. Statistics show that two in three Haitians survive on only $2 or less a day. Furthermore, research also shows that one in three children are stunted, and 100,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition. Furthermore, one-third of women and children suffer from anemia, which is one of the many complications of malnutrition.

21. Adolescent obesity in the Philippines has tripled in the last 15 years.

(UNICEF)

In addition to this, the stunting rate among one-year-olds is 36.6% and is twice as high as the stunting rate among infants who are 6–11 months old, which is 15.5%. Unfortunately, the numbers are growing, according to the Philippine malnutrition statistics.

22. Undernutrition is the main cause of 28% of all childhood deaths in Ethiopia.

(World Atlas)

When it comes to malnutrition in Ethiopia, statistics reveal that two out of five children suffer from stunting, and 81% of the reported cases of child malnutrition are left untreated.

Diseases Caused by Malnutrition

23. Nutritional anemia is a very common consequence of malnutrition.

(MedicalNewsToday)

An imbalanced diet and a lack of nutrients often lead to low red blood cell count, causing low levels of hemoglobin in these cells. It’s a condition known as anemia, and it affects about 30% of the global population.

24. Scurvy is a severe vitamin C deficiency.

(NCBI)

The prevalence of this malnutrition-caused illness varies from 73.9% in northern India to 7.1% in the US, meaning that it’s more common in the countries with low socioeconomic status, as revealed by the malnutrition statistics by country.

25. Beriberi is common in regions without access to vitamin-enriched foods.

(Healthline)

Vitamin B deficiency is the main cause of this illness that affects the heart and circulatory system, as well as decreased muscle strength and muscle paralysis.

FAQs

What causes malnutrition in the elderly?

Numerous factors can cause malnutrition in older people. Limited income, limited access to food (for the disabled), reduced social contact, depression, illnesses, dementia, eating impairments, medications, restricted diets, etc.

What causes malnutrition in alcoholics

Consuming great amounts of alcohol can interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Alcohol abuse can also result in poor eating habits and bad decisions regarding nutrition.

How climate change causes malnutrition

Climate change causes and worsens malnutrition in an abundance of ways. Let’s take droughts as an example. Climate change had caused severe droughts in southern Africa in 2015 and 2016, diminishing both the access to water and the quality of available water needed for drinking, cooking, agricultural production, livestock survival, affecting the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable people.

How malnutrition causes obesity 

Malnutrition weight gain is not unusual. Eating too much food that is not nutritiously rich, like junk food and processed food, causes vitamin deficiency, which in turn leads to malnutrition.

Conclusion

This widespread problem affects mainly children in developing countries. It deteriorates the quality of their life and endangers their future. The malnutrition facts clearly show that it can be prevented and treated with regular exercise and a healthy, well-balanced diet, but the problem is that many people can’t afford this. This is why many humanitarian organizations, like UNICEF, try to raise awareness and help people in developing countries.

Sources:

How AI Is Making It Easier For Healthcare Practitioners To Serve Up Nutrition To Patients

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Obesity, hypertension and diabetes. These are some of the most prevalent health conditions that plague the American population, yet they can be managed through a variety of lifestyle changes, diet and, in some instances, prescription medications. As traditional Western medicine continues to evolve into holistic approaches, more physicians are becoming increasingly knowledgeable in nutrition and are shifting their mindset from how to treat the health condition to how to prevent the health condition in the first place.

As the CTO of a company that creates daily supplement regimens using artificial intelligence, I’ve seen firsthand how AI is making it even easier for healthcare practitioners to serve up nutrition to their patients right in their offices and at the patients’ homes.

Nutrition discussions led by AI

Three-quarters of Americans take dietary supplements, according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). As more and more Americans are taking nutrition into their own hands by using vitamins and supplements, it is crucial to understand that a significant number of people — almost 40% — don’t feel they need to speak with their doctor before adding a supplement to their daily routine. Thanks to AI, more doctors can now have intentional conversations with their patients about their nutrition and their use of daily vitamin supplements. Likewise, AI puts big data at doctors’ fingertips so they can easily access, cross-reference and provide intelligent recommendations on how to balance the ingredients found in the prescription medication with the ingredients that make up daily vitamins and supplements.

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Beyond nutrition discussions, AI is making a profound impact in the healthcare space as a whole. For example, Philips has combined AI and other technologies with knowledge of the clinical and operational context in which they are used for a people-centered approach that the company calls “adaptive intelligence.” As it relates to imaging technology such as an MRI or X-ray, specifically, Philips provides AI-powered and easy-to-use tools that are embedded right into a doctor or technician’s workflow. The result is improved patient care and less time spent waiting for a patient’s history or lab results.

Another promising AI application comes from Sense.ly, a virtual nurse assistant that’s available through an app. While it may seem trivial or unnecessary, its goal is to keep the line of communication open between patients and healthcare providers between office visits. According to Sense.ly’s CEO, this product is “always improving, learning more and more from patients, and as we partner with more organizations, bring in more disease states and research, we’ll layer in more protocols and content.”

Creating educated and convenient nutrition programs

A nutrition program that includes in-depth discussions and analysis with a healthcare practitioner will put a patient on the right path for ongoing wellness. By adding convenient access to high-quality vitamins and supplements through a subscription model where the personalized vitamins are delivered directly to a patient’s door, patients will be motivated to care for their bodies each and every day.

We’ve seen the success of medication delivery to a patient’s home through Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack, an online pharmacy, for more than $700 million in 2018. This is the future of healthcare — one that is led first through the integration of AI into a physician’s practice.

Ways doctors can utilize technology to expand a patient’s nutrition program

• Let AI make the recommendation. Utilize big data and the growing number of personalized nutrition programs that leverage AI to identify one of the trillions of combinations of vitamins and nutrients best suited for the patient, or input specific recommendations directly into the technology platform

• Use powerful databases driven by AI to identify potential drug-nutrient interactions.

• Share results through seamless integration between patient- and practitioner-facing information to promote full, comprehensive healthcare

AI is mutually beneficial for the patient and practitioner and is changing the way doctors are able to provide holistic care.

Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?

Co-Founder and CTO at Persona, overseeing the company’s personalized nutrition technology.

Source: How AI Is Making It Easier For Healthcare Practitioners To Serve Up Nutrition To Patients

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6 Ways Parents Can Reduce Heavy Metals In The Food They Give Their Babies

A report released Thursday found 95% of baby foods are contaminated with one or more toxic heavy metals.

The study conducted by the Healthy Babies Bright Futures organization tested 168 baby foods from 61 brands and nearly all of them contained some amount of lead, arsenic, mercury or cadmium.

It isn’t the first time a study has discovered this. A report released last year by Consumer Reports found the same metals in baby foods labeled “organic,” something parents didn’t expect out of those products.

Why are they finding metals in baby food?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website says that metals can’t be entirely eliminated from foods because these metals are found in the air, water and soil and then taken up by plants as they grow.

The FDA monitors these levels to try to reduce the risk, it reports, especially for infants and children, to whom it can be most harmful.

According to the press release from the most recent study, these toxins can impact the growth of babies’ brain, lower IQ and increase the chance of cancer as well as lifelong deficits in intelligence.

What can parents do?

It may be impossible to completely eliminate all heavy metals from food. But Consumer Reports suggests steps parents can take to reduce heavy metals in the food they give their children.

“Making changes now will go a long way to protecting your children, regardless of any prior exposure,” James Dickerson, Consumer Reports’ chief scientific officer, previously told USA TODAY.

1. Limit the amount of infant rice cereal your child eats

Cereal is often a baby’s first solid food because it is easy to swallow and fortified with iron. But Consumer Reports notes concerns about levels of inorganic arsenic in the product. Consider choosing oatmeal or multigrain cereal instead.

2. Be picky about the types of rice your child eats

Brown rice had more inorganic arsenic than white rice of the same type. Rice cakes, cereal and pasta were also high in inorganic arsenic.

A better choice is white basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan. Sushi rice from the U.S. had an average of half as much inorganic arsenic as most other types.

3. Pick snacks low in heavy metals

Apples, unsweetened applesauce, avocados, bananas, beans, cheese, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, peaches, strawberries and yogurt are snacks that were found to be low in heavy metals.

4. Be wary of fruit juice

Past tests found inorganic arsenic and lead in many brands of apple and grape juices.

5. Go easy on the chocolate

Cocoa powder may contain cadmium and/or lead. Cocoa itself may have more than dark chocolate, and dark chocolate may have more than milk chocolate.

6. Pass on protein powders

These may contain arsenic, cadmium and lead, according to Consumer Reports tests. Whey and egg-based powders tended to have less than plant-based ones such as soy and hemp.

READ MORE

By: , USA TODAY

Source: 6 ways parents can reduce heavy metals in the food they give their babies

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Exclusive Content!! http://www.patreon.com/psychetruth Heavy Metals Detox & Chelation Therapy – Austin Wellness Dr. Bellonzi discusses how chelation can address heavy metal toxicity such as mercury and lead. Wiki Chelation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelation Wiki Heavy Metals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_me… Dr. Vincent Bellonzi is a chiropractor and is certified in Clinical Nutrition. He has been in practice for over 12 years. He received his Doctorate from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in 1991. Since 1998, Dr. Bellonzi has practiced in the Austin area. He works with athletes at every level to provide sports conditioning and rehabilitation. Visit Dr. Bellonzi’s website at http://www.austinwellnessclinic.com/ This video was produced by Psychetruth http://www.myspace.com/psychtruth http://www.youtube.com/psychetruth http://psychetruth.blogspot.com/ PsycheTruth is empowered by TubeMogul http://www.tubemogul.com © Copyright 2008 Austin Wellness Institute. All Rights Reserved. #Psychetruth #WellnessPlus

This Is The Best Time To Eat Breakfast, According To A Nutritionist – Noma Nazish

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Growing up, we’ve all heard the saying – “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Famous sci-fi writer Robert A. Heinlein went so far as to say, “one should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” And he couldn’t be more right. A healthy breakfast doesn’t just provide you energy to seize the day, it jumpstarts your metabolism, balances blood sugar levels, assists in weight management, even promotes heart health and improves cognitive function…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2018/10/25/this-is-the-best-time-to-eat-breakfast-according-to-a-nutritionist/#60233146d55e

 

 

 

 

 

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Nutrition For Kids – Get All The Support And Guidance You Need To Get The Right Nutrition For Your Kids

Children today are more likely to consume foods that are delicious rather than nutritious, and most foods that come under the delicious category are usually either highly sweetened or salted, either way the delicious choice is not good for the child at all. It is up to the adult to ensure the meals a child consumes us as balanced as possible. With balanced meals, the child will be able to have all the necessary nutrition needed for optimum and normal growth patterns both mentally and physically……

Read more: https://nutritionforkids01.blogspot.com/

How Do You Know You’re Drinking Enough Water – Jane E. Brody

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I wonder how we all survived — and even thrived — in our younger years without the plethora of water bottles that nearly everyone seems to carry around these days.

In reading about the risks and consequences of dehydration, especially for the elderly and anyone who exercises vigorously in hot weather, it is nothing short of a miracle that more of us had not succumbed years ago to the damaging physical, cognitive and health effects of inadequate hydration.

Even with the current ubiquity of portable water containers, far too many people still fail to consume enough liquid to compensate for losses suffered especially, though not exclusively, during the dehydrating months of summer.

For those of you who know or suspect that you do not drink enough to compensate for daily water losses, the good news is you do not have to rely entirely on your liquid intake to remain well hydrated.

Studies in societies with limited supplies of drinking water suggest you can help to counter dehydration and, at the same time, enhance the healthfulness of your diet by consuming nutritious foods that are laden with a hidden water source. Plant foods like fruits, vegetables and seeds are a source of so-called gel water — pure, safe, hydrating water that is slowly absorbed into the body when the foods are consumed.

That is the message in a new book, Quench, by Dr. Dana Cohen, an integrative medicine specialist in New York, and Gina Bria, an anthropologist whose studies of the water challenges faced by desert dwellers led to the establishment of the Hydration Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes understanding and consumption of nonliquid sources of water.

More about these foods later. First, I must convince more of you that remaining well hydrated is crucial to your health. However solid your body, the majority of it is water, ranging from 75 per cent of the body weight of infants to 55 per cent of the elderly. Every bodily process, every living cell, depends on water to function properly. Water transports nutrients, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints and internal organs, supports the structure of cells and tissues and preserves cardiovascular function. People can survive for only three or four days — a week at most — without water.

But more to the point is the quality of survival. Inadequate hydration can cause fatigue, poor appetite, heat intolerance, dizziness, constipation, kidney stones and a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Brain effects include mood shifts, muddled thinking, inattentiveness and poor memory. A loss of only 1 to 2 per cent of body water can impair cognitive performance, according to studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Your body’s water balance is determined by how much you consume, your age and activity level and environmental conditions. The body loses water through the skin, lungs, kidneys and digestive tract; in other words, by sweating, breathing and elimination of waste, both liquid and solid.

“Water needs can vary from person to person — and no one person will need the same amount of fluid from one day to the next,” the Virginia scientists wrote in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal.

ABS data shows the average amount of plain water and water from non-discretionary beverages consumed by an Australian is 1,389 ml per day. But people who engage in quasi-vigorous physical activity daily need more, and those who exercise strenuously for more than an hour a day need even more than that, perhaps supplemented by a sports drink containing the electrolytes sodium and potassium (but avoid those with more than a pinch of sugar). Keep in mind that skimping on your liquid intake or relying on sugary drinks can take a toll on your physical performance.

If you are planning to engage in strenuous exercise or do physical work outdoors on a hot day, it is best to start hydrating the day before. Check the color of your urine; the paler it is, the better. Also continue to drink water or other fluids throughout your activity and for hours afterward.

A critical factor in remaining well hydrated is not to rely on thirst to remind you to drink but rather to be proactive by consuming enough liquid before, during and after meals and physical activity. The long-standing advice to drink eight glasses of water a day was something I (among many others) was never able to achieve. I am happy to say that experts have since modified that rule. Current thinking calls for getting about 70 per cent of daily water needs from liquids (including coffee and tea, by the way, though not alcohol) and the rest from solid foods.

The authors of Quench suggest two dozen fruits and vegetables that are especially hydrating, ranging from cucumbers (96.7 per cent water) to grapes (81.5 per cent water). Surely you can find many you would enjoy in a list that includes lettuce, tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, carrots, peppers, watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, apples and pears.

Even chia seeds, an ancient so-called superfood said to sustain the ultrarunning prowess of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, can be a force against dehydration; they absorb 30 times their weight in water and can provide the body with slow-release hydration, especially during long bouts of physical activity in high heat and humidity.

Naturally packaged plant water hydrates more efficiently than plain drinking water, the Quench authors maintain, because it is already purified, is packed with soluble nutrients and gradually supplies the body with water.

That said, while there is considerable anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of plant water, especially among enthusiasts of green smoothies, well designed clinical studies are still lacking. Yet I feel comfortable in recommending an increased reliance on these hydrating foods because, at the very least, they can result in a more nutritious diet and foster better weight control.

Getting more of your water from plant foods can also help to cut down on pollution. The Earth is being overrun with disposable plastic water bottles that litter streets and parks and float in rivers, oceans and lakes everywhere. Unless you are visiting a region of the world where it is unsafe to drink the water, try to avoid buying water. If you are in doubt about the safety of your municipal water supply, if you rely on well water that has not been tested or if you dislike the taste or your local water, consider installing a faucet filter or using a portable filter container like Brita.

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10 Women Discuss The Crazy Ways They’ve Tried To Lose Weight Fast – Fizzation

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Unless by some genetic miracle you’re able to eat whatever you want and not look a pound over tweenage Victoria’s Secret angel, you’ve probably tried a special diet… or three.

Even if we’ve been down that road before — and back again — there’s something about the promise of seeing results quickly (coupled with the glamour of eating like a waif celebrity) that makes us keep wanting to test it out for ourselves.

We’re a goal-oriented society, after all. Who cares that the process sucks if it’s only temporary?

In the spirit of female solidarity and all the Blueprint cleanses we’ll be back-ordering until the first beach day (and then regretting after the first BBQ), we’ve rounded up our favorite, hilarious and horrific diet stories.

Because we all have at least that one time*…

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of contributors.

1. The Spoon Diet

“In college, right before spring break, my roommate and I decided to go on the Spoon Diet. We were literally allowed to eat anything that we could put on a spoon — soup, parfaits, yogurt, pudding.

“You’d think it would be fun (my preferred utensil is spoon), right? But it was the most miserable two weeks of my life.

“Instead of slowing down to eat, enjoying what I was eating or eating more of the right types of foods, I was literally shoveling parfait after parfait into my mouth as often as possible because I spent most of the day famished and angry at everyone.

“Plus, chugging Natty Lights every night didn’t exactly fall on the Spoon Diet, but it was a liquid so, whatever, okay?”

– Katie, 26.

2. The South Beach Diet

“I just moved to Miami for work and was having trouble making new friends (Miami is cliquey like that). Between that, everyone around me walking around half-naked and having amazing bodies, and I was going through a breakup when I just moved to Miami. I was a prime diet candidate (Did I mention I was dating someone I worked with long distance to only have him break up with me when there was no distance?).

Needless to say, it was a rough time, and I dived deep into working out EVERY DAY.

“My diet of course was the South Beach diet. There are three phases to the South Beach diet: Phase 1 is mostly lean proteins, low-sugar vegetables, and nuts in moderation. No carbs or added sugar whatsoever. Phase 2 adds some grains back in, and Phase 3 shows you how to eat like a normal human being, but I never got this far. I told myself I’d make more of an impact if I stayed in Phase 1 forever.

“This diet was super easy to follow in Miami, as everyone is super healthy, but if I ever left Miami, I’d have to explain my psychotic substitutes when eating out.

“I recall coming back to NY for a work trip with a co-worker/best friend who was also on the South Beach diet. We went for a morning coffee at Starbucks together and both ordered our sad, nonfat cappuccinos. We started to add the cinnamon into our coffee when we saw it appeared unusually shiny.

“Turns out the barista put cinnamon sugar in the cinnamon containers, and we were having a tachycardia in the Starbucks at the thought of consuming sugar in our coffee and were desperately trying to scoop it out. The baristas and customers on line were looking at us like we were crazies.”

– Melissa, 32.

3. The Weekend Diet

“I go on a new cleanse/diet every week, then the weekend comes, and I blackout eat mac and cheese. Every time. All the time. I have no shame.”

– Ashley, 25.

4. The Bee Pollen Diet

“I took bee pollen pills in college before going on spring break. They were amazing, and I lost 10 lbs, so I eventually started taking an extra pill… then I started blacking out randomly midday and having vertigo, and my mom found my pill bottle and the fact that it was made in China and made me swear to stop so I did.

– Karen, 26.

5. The Mono Diet

“It’s definitely not a fad, but anyone looking to drop half of his or her body weight in a matter of hours should definitely acquire mononucleosis.

“When I got mono in 11th grade I dropped three pants sizes. It’s really effective, and it doesn’t cost any money. All you have to do is make out with a bunch of people.”

– Sam, 27.

6. The Dukan Diet

“One year after moving back home to NYC I gained like, 20 pounds. I turned to the Dukan diet, which was created by this French doctor, and supposedly, Kate Middleton had followed it. Between my love of France and Kate Middleton, I figured why not give it a try?

“This diet has multiple phases, which have fun names like “Attack” and “Cruise” phase. The Attack phase had you eating lots of lean protein and 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran a day. I’d have the oat bran in fat-free Greek yogurt with as much cinnamon to make the yogurt palatable. My coworkers were really grossed out with the amount of Greek yogurt that I was consuming.

“I definitely lost weight and looked great, but with summer approaching and all this amazing tasty fruit around like strawberries and watermelon, I had to forget about the diet. Another after effect of Dukan was that I couldn’t look at yogurt for at least an entire year afterwards.”

– Dana, 24.

7. The Gummy Diet

“One time I tried taking these gummy diet supplements. I thought they were too innocent and cute-looking to ever cause me any harm. You were supposed to take two shortly before each meal, but they just made me feel jittery and on edge.

“I’m not sure if they worked because after almost a week on this gummy bear binge, I decided I felt too weird and stopped taking them cold turkey. The next day I woke up at 3 am and vomited about once every half hour for the rest of the day.

“‘First they’re sour, then they are sweet’ is just a myth; those things are straight evil.”

– Caroline, 23.

8. The Homemade Juice Cleanse

“About three summers ago (before it was cool, OBVI), I read about juice cleansing and tried to do one.

“I didn’t have a juicer, and I just used my mom’s old blender. The kale and spinach never ground up quite right, so I ended up half drinking/half chewing nasty green mush for a week.

“I did lose weight, but that could have been because my juices were so disgusting I didn’t touch them.”

– Emma, 23.

9. The No-Diet Diet

“Dieting… it’s really not a part of my vocabulary. I try to do the whole gluten-free thing for health purposes. Back in high school, I tried taking garcinia cambogia, but that stuff made me feel strung out.”

– Natalie, 31.

10. The Organic Juice Cleanse

“I had done the occasional Blueprint cleanse and thought it tasted great. It didn’t bother me that the first day my mind would crash, and I couldn’t process simple decision-making. By the time the three days were over, I’d feel great and get so many compliments on how glowing my skin looked that it didn’t matter.

“When I was about to purchase another juice cleanse, I bumped into my uber-holistic, healthy sun salutation friend. We were chatting, and she insisted that I try Organic Avenue instead of Blueprint because it was way better.

“I took her advice and got the juices for the following day.

“Organic Ave is just plain gross. I don’t mind green juices — provided that they have LOTS of apple or some sort of fruit. Their juices tasted like straight-up vegetable, baby food puree. I told myself to hang in there.

“Second day comes along, and I had SoulCycle planned with String at 6:30pm. He’s notorious for flipping out if anyone is “not on point” or riding “janky.” I had taken his class for a couple months and was finally in a good place.

“This second day on the juice cleanse, however, was a different story. Midway through the class, the dumb candles they had lit were moving, and the room started to spin.

“He kept calling me out for not being on point. I could barely function. No idea how I got through that class.

“The next day, when I had the shakes around midday, I threw in the towel and got a chicken wrap across the street. Last time I juice cleansed.

“When I started to eat carbs again I realized I was such a nasty person before carbs. Carbs make me happy.”

– Erica, 28.

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How to Stop Eating Sugar – David Leonhardt

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The first thing to know: Added sugars, of one kind or another, are almost everywhere in the modern diet. They’re in sandwich bread, chicken stock, pickles, salad dressing, crackers, yogurt and cereal, as well as in the obvious foods and drinks, like soda and desserts.

The biggest problem with added sweeteners is that they make it easy to overeat. They’re tasty and highly caloric but they often don’t make you feel full. Instead, they can trick you into wanting even more food. Because we’re surrounded by added sweeteners — in our kitchens, in restaurants, at schools and offices — most of us will eat too much of them unless we consciously set out to do otherwise.

How Did We Get Here?

It’s not an accident. The sugar industry has conducted an aggressive, decades-long campaign to blame the obesity epidemic on fats, not sugars. Fats, after all, seem as if they should cause obesity. Thanks partly to that campaign, sugar consumption soared in the United States even as people were trying to lose weight. But research increasingly indicates that an overabundance of simple carbohydrates, and sugar in particular, is the No. 1 problem in modern diets. Sugar is the driving force behind the diabetes and obesity epidemics. Fortunately, more people are realizing the harms of sugar and cutting back.

 

What to Cut

Health experts recommend that you focus on reducing added sweeteners — like granulated sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, stevia and molasses. You don’t need to worry so much about the sugars that are a natural part of fruit, vegetables and dairy products. Most people don’t overeat naturally occurring sugars, as Marion Nestle of New York University says. The fiber, vitamins and minerals that surround them fill you up.

A typical adult should not eat more than 50 grams (or about 12 teaspoons) of added sugars per day, and closer to 25 is healthier. The average American would need to reduce added-sweetener consumption by about 40 percent to get down to even the 50-gram threshold. Here’s how you can do it — without spending more money on food than you already do.

 

The Gameplan

Changing your diet is hard. If your strategy involves thinking about sugar all the time — whenever you’re shopping or eating — you’ll likely fail. You’ll also be miserable in the process. It’s much more effective to come up with a few simple rules and habits that then become second nature. (One strategy to consider: Eliminate all added sugars for one month, and then add back only the ones you miss. It’s easier than it sounds.)

Above all, most people’s goal should be to find a few simple, lasting ways to cut back on sugar. Once you’re done reading this guide, we suggest you choose two or three of our ideas and try them for a few weeks.

Eliminate soda from your regular diet. Just get rid of it. If you must, drink diet soda. Ideally, though, you should get rid of diet soda, too.

That may sound extreme, but sweetened beverages are by far the biggest source of added sugar in the American diet — 47 percent, according to the federal government. Soda — along with sweetened sports drinks, energy drinks and iced teas — is essentially flavored, liquefied sugar that pumps calories into your body without filling you up. Among all foods and beverages, says Kelly Brownell, an obesity expert and dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke, “the science is most robust and most convincing on the link between soft drinks and negative health outcomes.”

Get this: A single 16-ounce bottle of Coke has 52 grams of sugar. That’s more added sugar than most adults should consume in an entire day.

As for diet soda, researchers aren’t yet sure whether they’re damaging or harmless. Some scientists think diet soda is perfectly fine. Others, like the Yale cardiologist Dr. Harlan Krumholz, think it may be damaging. Dr. Krumholz recently announced that after years of pounding diet sodas, he was giving them up. There is reason to believe, he wrote, that the artificial sweeteners they contain lead to “weight gain and metabolic abnormalities.”

The Soda Alternative

Many people who think they’re addicted to soda are attracted to either the caffeine or the carbonation in the drink. You can get caffeine from coffee and tea (lightly sweetened or unsweetened), and you can get carbonation from seltzer, flavored or otherwise.

For many people, the shift to seltzer, club soda or sparkling water is life changing. It turns hydration into a small treat that’s still calorie-free. Buy yourself a seltzer maker, as I have, and gorge on the stuff at home, while saving money. Or buy fizzy water in cans or bottles. Sales of carbonated water have more than doubled since 2010, with the brand LaCroix now offering more than 20 different flavors, all without added sugar.

If they’re not sweet enough for you, you can also add a dash of juice to plain seltzer. But many people find that they lose their taste for soda after giving it up. And many Americans are giving it up: Since the late 1990s, sales of full-calorie soda have fallen more than 25 percent.

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Breakfast Strategies

There are two main strategies to ensure that breakfast doesn’t become a morning dessert. The first is for people who can’t imagine moving away from a grain-based breakfast, like cereal or toast. If you fall into this category, you have to be quite careful, because processed grains are often packed with sugar.

A few grain-based breakfasts with no or very low sugar:

  • Cheerios. They’re quite low in sugar.
  • Plain oatmeal. Flavor it with fresh fruit and, if necessary, a small sprinkling of brown sugar.
  • Bread. A few breads have no sugar (like Ezekiel 4:9 Whole Grain). A longer list of brands have only one gram, or less, per slice (including Sara Lee Whole Wheat and Nature’s Own Whole Wheat). Authentic Middle Eastern breads, like pita and lavash, are particularly good options and a growing number of supermarkets sell them.
  • Homemade granola. You can also make your own granola and play around with the sugar amounts.

But there is also a more creative alternative. Move away from grain-based breakfasts. If you do that (as I have recently, after decades of eating cereal), avoiding added sugar is easy. My new breakfast routine actually feels more indulgent than my old one. Most days, I eat three or four of the following:

  • Scrambled or fried eggs
  • Fruit
  • Plain yogurt
  • A small piece of toast
  • A few nuts
  • A small portion of well-spiced vegetables, like spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes.

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Meet The Founder Fighting Hunger With Technology

The idea for her future company hit Komal Ahmed while studying at Berkeley. Ahmad was on a path to medical school with no interest in building a startup when she ran into a problem and solving it became an obsession.

“I was walking down Telegraph Avenue and I encountered a homeless man who was begging for food,” she said. “Something about him compelled me to stop and invite him to join me for lunch.”

The man had just returned from a tour in Iraq, was waiting for his benefits to kick in. He hadn’t eaten in three days.

“This is a veteran, someone who made a selfless sacrifice for our country, only to come home to face yet another battle,” Ahmad said. “To add insult to injury, right across the street Berkeley’s dining hall is throwing away thousands of pounds of perfectly edible food.”

After that lunch, Ahmad was determined to alleviate the hunger around her.

Ahmad went into the dining hall and asked the dining hall manager if they could donate unused food to the local homeless community. There was too much liability, he said.

Unsatisfied with that answer, Ahmad did her research and found a way to convince her university to start a food recovery program. She soon found that it was difficult to match the excess food her dining hall had with the amount and kind of food local non-profits and aid organizations needed. At one point she called non-profits in the area and couldn’t find one that would take the food she had.

“I said, ‘Hey I have 500 gourmet sandwiches do you need them?’ You know 1/3 of them don’t answer the phone, 1/3 of them say, ‘No we’re okay we don’t need any more food,’ and then the last third are like, ‘Actually you know what we could use 10 sandwiches,’” Ahmad said. “Like awesome I have 485 sandwiches. I was on the side of the road so frustrated.”

“Why is it so hard to do a good thing?” Ahmad found herself asking again and again.

When she graduated from college, Ahmad continued to look for a solution. She wanted to be able to connect businesses that had quality excess food to organizations and people that could use it.

“I thought how much more effective, how much more efficient this process would be if those who had food could say, ‘Hey we have food,’ and those in need of food could say, ‘Hey we could use that food,’” Ahmad said.

Her company, Copia, solved that problem. “We’ve built an algorithm that’ll essentially match that exact business with a non-profit or non-profits that can accept it at that day, that time, that quantity of food.”

Copia then sends a driver to pick up and deliver the food and sends photos and testimonials back to the business that donated the food.

In creating her company, Ahmad went through several business models before she landed on one that fit. First, she thought her business should be a non-profit, but under that model, applying for grant funding consumed her life. So she decided to see if businesses, hotels, hospitals and universities would pay a percentage of the tax-deduction they get from their donations of food to Copia in exchange for data about where their food surpluses are coming from. They would.

“We don’t want them to produce more excess,” Ahmad said. “They’re going to be able to reduce overproduction, over-purchasing costs. We also quantify what their impact is so they can share it with internal and external stakeholders: How many people did they feed? What was their environmental impact?”

Since Copia’s founding in 2016, Ahmad and her team graduated from Y-Combinator, a top startup accelerator. Now they’re growing quickly and in 2018, they plan to feed two million people.

The process of getting Copia to this point wasn’t easy. “There’s been times when I didn’t have money,” Ahmad said. “I was living on like a blown up mattress on the floor of my friend’s apartments, or I was eating like a box of pizza a week and rationing it out for myself.”

Without a background in business, Ahmad had to learn as she went. She surrounded herself with people who had expertise in areas that she didn’t. She also discovered that when times got tough, she just had to take initiative and push through.

“If you’re waiting on others to make it happen for you- it’s not going to happen for you,” she said.

Looking toward the future, Ahmad sees Copia expanding beyond food and helping to redistribute other necessary items like clothes and books. In 2017, the Copia team got involved in helping victims and first responders in the California wildfires and that helped Ahmad to realize that the same issue she saw with food in college applied to things like blankets during a disaster.

After the first few years of growing her startup, Ahmad is excited for what comes next. She encourages other entrepreneurs to jump in as well.

“Everything around us has been dreamed or created or designed by someone who is no better than we are,” she said.

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Samantha Harrington is co-owner and lead writer of Driven Media, a roving girl-power newsroom.

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