01 April 2013

#49 Diet

The food an animal eat everyday is called diet. Most animals need 7 types of nutrients in their diet: carbohydrates, proteins, fats +  water, fibre, vitamins, minerals.

The amount of energy needed is provided mainly by our carbohydrate and fat intake. Your dietary requirements depend on your age, sex and activity.
- Age: The energy demand increases until we stop growing. While children are growing they need more protein per kilogram of body weight than adults do.
- Sex: Generally, males use up more energy than females.
- Pregnant women need extra nutrients for the development of the fetus. 

A. A balanced diet is a diet that contains all the main nutrients in the correct amounts and proportions to maintain good health. 

B. Malnutrition is the result of not eating a balanced diet. There may be:

  • wrong amount of food: too little or too much 
  • incorrect proportion of main nutrients 
  • lacking in one or more key nutrients 

Effects of malnutrition 

1. Obesity - Too much food (carbohydrate, fat or protein)   

2. Coronary heart disease  
  • Too much saturated/animal fat in the diet results in high cholesterol levels.
  • Cholesterol can stick to the walls of arteries, gradually blocking them. 
  • If coronary arteries become blocked, the results can be angina and coronary heart disease.

3. Starvation 
  • Too little food can result in starvation. 
  • Extreme slimming diets, such as those that avoid carbohydrate foods, can result in the disease anorexia nervosa.


4. Childhood protein-energy malnutrition (Kwashiakor)

Wrong proportion of nutrients e.g. too much carbohydrates (starchy foods) and a lack of protein can lead to Kwashiakor in young children.

Kwashiakor characterized by edema, anorexia, ulcerating dermatoses.

5. Vitamin, mineral and fiber deficiency diseases - Lacking key nutrients.