Friday, January 10, 2014

Malnutrition and Obesity

       I recently listened to a podcast by Jayson and Mira Calton, Calton Nutrition (while waiting for my car's oil to be changed), and they talked about how micro-nutrient deficiency leads to cravings that leads to weight gain. The micro-nutrients are your vitamins and minerals. If you correct your deficiency you will lower your weight without even realizing it. For example, sugar cravings can mean you need more magnesium and calcium.A strong chocolate craving could mean a vitamin B or magnesium deficiency. I think the nutrition community and industry concentrate on macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs), with your low carb this and high protein that. I wanted to look more into this, besides the take a multivitamin dogma we hear.
        B-Vitamins, Vitamin A, C, D, K, Folate, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and many more are your micronutrients that the body relies on for basic functioning. When you are deficient in any one, there will be no flashing light reading low, but if you are chronically deficient you will feel it. For example, a folate or a vitamin B 12 deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia.  The symptoms can be pale skin, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion, memory loss and even dementia.
      With the diets that are eaten now, a body can be obese and be deficient at the same time. There a number of articles on this topic. One reason for this is that a diet that leads to obesity is full of calories but not nutrients. You can eat rice, bread, cakes cookies and get enough calories but none of the vitamins and minerals you u need. At least, not in a sufficient amount. The nutrients that the body absorbs the best are found in whole food sources, not "enriched" sources or supplements.
       The article, The Malnutrition of Obestity: Micronutrient Deficiencies That Promote Diabetes, describes vitamin deficiencies that exacerbate diabetes.  "As with nearly all biochemical processes, glucose metabolism and insulin signaling require cofactors and vitamins that are essential in the diet. Deficiencies in any of these micronutrients have potential to impair glucose metabolism and cause insulin resistance. Clinical evidence supporting this hypothesis regarding the metabolic effects of specific deficiencies including vitamin D, chromium, biotin, thiamine and vitamin C is mounting. Unlike vitamin E, which has little to no proven clinical effect when given as a supplement, these vitamins are known to be deficient at relatively high rates in obese individuals and in diabetic patients. Clinicians should consider addressing possible deficiencies of these micronutrients when advising obese patients who are at risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. The medical care plan for obesity should include lifestyle changes, healthy food choices with high-nutrient content foods as part of a balanced approach for the prevention of the development of type 2 diabetes. Use of specific vitamin supplements may adopted into this rational practice." This is taken from the conclusion o f this article.
      Now I would say to get these vitamins from food as much as possible, by cutting out the starches, sweets, chips, crackers, etc.I don't believe taking a multivitamin is the answer. For example, another article I came across, Micronutrient Deficiency in Obese Subjects Undergoing a Low Calorie Diet, talks about how the low calorie, high protein  "formula diet" (I'm assuming they were on some kind of fortified liquid diet) did not bring up the micro nutrient levels in obese patients who were deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. There could be any number of reasons behind this. The article suggests that obese individuals need a higher amount of these vitamins and minerals. Could it be that they need real food and not just a shake? Could there be metabolic reactions taking place that requires them to need more vitamins or an absorption problem keeping them from getting them? Certain vitamins such as biotin, can be made by the bacteria in our gut. Could an imbalance in gut flora be a problem with this vitamin?
    There seems to be different factors at work when it comes to getting all our nutrient such as eating food that is full of calories and little else, gut bacteria imbalances, obesity, diabetes, the list goes on and on.
Here are some foods that  may not be part of your daily diet, that I suggest you start to incorporate:

Beets: A good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium and magnesium.

Parsley and green onions
Parsley: Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Green Onions:It is also a good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.
Bok Choy: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.
Leeks: Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

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