The Real Weapons of Mass Destruction: Low-nutrient, High-calorie Foods

What we eat has a tremendous impact on our health and wellbeing. Eating healthy foods does not only reduce the likelihood of diseases, it also increases our energy levels and improves sleeping patterns. This is why it is best to eat a healthy, balanced diet and significantly lower our intake of low-nutrient, high-calorie foods. In this article, we’ll talk about how poor nutrition can impact your health and how to reduce the health risks by eating a healthy diet.

Nutritional Considerations

Calories are basic units of energy obtained by consuming food. In a nutritional sense, all types of food contain calories, apart from foods that have been engineered to be calorie-free. Foods high in fat, sugar, or starch, such as processed foods pose serious health risks as they are slower to digest and cause fat accumulation in body tissues. On the other hand, healthy foods such as cucumbers and celery contain fewer calories. 

Your brain and other vital organs also need calories to function. However, when consumed in high amounts, calories can be bad for your overall health. Typically, the number of calories you need depends on factors such as age, gender, and muscle mass. Your level of physical activity are also important factors for determining calorie intake. 

To achieve a healthy balance, you should eat calorie-dense foods, as well as those that have fewer calories. Plant foods are a good example of low-calorie and high-nutrient foods. They are generally high in fiber and contain a healthy amount of nutrients. Low-calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables can also help you lose weight because they are as filling as high-calorie foods, but with fewer calories. 

How Poor Nutrition can Affect Your Health

This energy obtained from food via metabolism fuels your body’s internal and external functions, repairs cells, and maintains body tissues. The amount of calories your body burns is determined by thermogenesis (the amount of energy your body uses to digest and process the foods you eat) and the physical activity you engage in. Naturally, your body burns fewer calories when you are more sedentary. 

If your daily routine does not include much physical activity, you should stay away from high-calorie diets. Even if you eat extremely healthy meals, high-calorie diets may have a negative effect on your health with an average metabolism and activity level. Below are the risks that low-nutrient and high-calorie poses to your health.

Increases Risk of Obesity

One of the risks associated with a high-calorie diet is obesity. When a person’s body weight is greater than the ideal body weight by 25% or more, they are considered overweight or obese. About 39% of the adult global population are overweight and 13% of adults in the world are obese. Regular consumption of high-calorie and low-nutrient foods can cause rapid weight gain which leads to obesity or overweight and significantly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Could Cause Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the insulin produced by the body is too little or when the insulin receptors in the body become less sensitive to the hormone. When this happens, your cells are unable to produce energy as sugar molecules remain in your bloodstream and do not have access to your cells. Too much blood sugar can lead to Hyperglycemia, which can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs. Low-nutrient foods that are high in processed sugar break down quickly in your body and can cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar levels. This means they can put you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Increases Risk of Heart Conditions

When you rapidly gain weight and your body size becomes larger, your heart is forced to pump more blood. After a while, the stress put on your heart can lead to heart failure. Also, as body fat increases, cholesterol tends to accumulate inside your blood vessels. Consequently, your heart works harder to push blood through your arteries, and high blood pressure occurs as a result. This could lead to other heart diseases such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.

May Lead to Osteoarthritis

When your body becomes heavier due to weight gain, your bones and joints are affected by the extra weight they have to carry. This could cause osteoarthritis. Your body has a smooth tissue called cartilage and synovium and a lubricant called synovial fluid that cushions the joints so that your bones do not rub together. Excess weight gain can cause your cartilage and synovium to break down allowing contact between your bones and causing pain and inflammation in your joints.

How to Minimize High-Calorie Foods and Their Effects on Your Health

Low-nutrient and high-calorie foods are tasty but they pose serious health risks when consumed frequently, especially if you are not highly physically active. Foods in this category also stress your digestive process and affect your lifestyle. Here are tips that can help you reduce your intake of unhealthy foods and reduce their effects on your overall health.

  • Choose food with low caloric density and high nutrient density such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Include natural herbs such as garlic and ginger in your meals.
  • Engage in aerobic or high-intensity workouts.
  • Drink more water as it contains zero calories.

The Bottom Line

Eating more calories than your body can burn and foods that contain very low nutrients causes your body to store fat excess cells which results in weight gain. Excessive weight gain leads to overweight and obesity which often results in serious conditions. To avoid all these, it is important to make healthy food choices and frequently engage in physical exercise. Some of the measures you can take to reduce your calorie intake include keeping an eye on the calorie content of foods you consume and increasing your intake of healthy foods.