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Relationship between Nutrition and Diseases

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Nutrition
Wordcount: 3538 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Explain the connection between nutrition and disease. Be sure to include information on chronic diseases, as well as malnutrition and other leading causes of death

It is no secret that our diets our connected to how healthy or how unhealthy we are.

Eating an unhealthy diet can increase our risk for a number of diseases such as diabetes or

cardiovascular disease. With more than one-third of the United States being overweight or obese

what has changed over the past few decades? Over the past few decades it seems that our portion

sizes are getting bigger and bigger.  “Larger portions not only contain more energy but also

encourage people to eat more, making it more difficult to balance static levels of physical

activity.” (Young & Nestle, 2002). On every corner there is a fast food restaurant with a line in

the drive-thru.  It seems like we no longer have the time to care about what we eat. Our

schedules are so packed that we don’t have time to cook healthy and well-balanced meals that

will keep us healthy, so we depend on going through a drive-thru to pick up something quick.


By eating a healthy and well-balanced diets we get much needed nutrients for our bodies

to run efficiently and to ward off illness. “Many older people suffer from debilitating conditions

that could have been largely prevented had they known and applied proper nutrition principles

known today.” (Sizer, 2017). By adding on unnecessary weight to our bodies it causes our heart

to work harder, this is why it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Heart disease is the #1

cause of death in the United States and maintaining a healthy weight decreases our risk for heart

disease, stroke, or heart attack. Everything we consume affects our bodies either for good or bad.

Dying from being overweight is preventable, we just have to want to prevent it.  “Multiple

studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain

function-and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.” (Selhub,

2015).  With over 20% of Americans suffering from a mental illness it is important to pay

attention to what we eat, not only because how it will affect us for the next few hours but for the

next few decades. Since our brains tell our other bodily systems how to function it is important to

supply our brains with proper nutrients to make sure it runs at peak performance.


Portion Sizes [image](2017). Retrieved from http://feelfitastic.com/2013/08/portion-sizes/

Preventable Causes of Death [image](2017). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preventable_causes_of_death

Selhub, E. (2015, November 17). Nutritional Psychiatry: Your brain on food. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

Sizer, F. (2017). Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies, 14th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305886865/

Young, Lisa R. and Nestle, Marion. “The Contribution of Expanding Portion Sizes to the US Obesity Epidemic.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 92, no. 2, Feb. 2002, pp. 246-249., doi: 10.2105/ajph. 92.2.246

Examine the factors (e.g., social, psychological, philosophical, and physical), contemporary nutrition controversies, and cultural differences that drive our food choice.

What happened to the days when we would sit down at the dinner table to a home cooked

meal and talk to each other? There are a lot of factors that contribute to the way we eat,

including, social, physical, philosophical, and psychological. Convenience plays a big role in our

food, it seems like we don’t have enough time in the day to complete all of the things that we

need to do. “Consumers also value convenience so highly that they are willing to spend almost

half of their food budget on meals prepared outside the home.” (Sizer, 2017, p 13). Our culture

and society make it seem like it is okay to go out and get that big mack. It seems that every

commercial I see on t.v. is for some type of fast food. It doesn’t help that those commercials

make their food look so much better than healthier food.

When I was growing up my family ate fairly healthy and my parents would cook dinner

almost every night, or we ate leftovers from the previous night. I rarely ate junk food or drank

soda. But when I was in high school I started to eat unhealthily because my sister was in the

hospital, so my healthy and well-balanced diet went out the window. Luckily for me in high

school I played multiple sports and was always active so eating that way really didn’t affect me,

but it affected me when I got older. Luckily now I know more about health and nutrition to care

about what I eat. That doesn’t mean that I don’t splurge on occasion! I do love ice cream, I just

don’t eat it every day and when I do it is in moderation.

I think social factors play a huge role in our food choices. We after all social beings. If

we are out with our friends we don’t want to be the one ordering a salad and water when

everyone else is ordering burgers, fries and a beer. A psychological factor can be having a

craving for a certain food or eating out of boredom. Cravings are okay we just need to consume

them in moderation. It is important to not over indulge. “Feelings of sadness, anxiety or stress

often lead people to eat more than usual.” (American Psychology Association, 2015). A physical

factor may be what type of food someone has access to. This is especially true in low income

families. It is hard for a family on a budget to choose not to get fast food when it is cheaper than

going to the grocery store and buy healthy nutritious foods.


American Psychology Association. (2015). Mind/body health: Obesity. Retrieved from http www.apa.org/helpcenter/obesity.aspx

Analyze the sources and functions of macro- and micronutrients and their impact on our health and well-being

When I started my fitness journey I heard a lot of people taking about macronutrients and

micronutrients. I really didn’t understand what they were talking about. Was it different from

counting calories? Well I did my research and found out that macros and micros are what make

up our calories. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats and proteins while micronutrients are the

vitamins, minerals, and water.

Carbohydrates and fats seem to get a bad rap, but carbs and fats are the bodies main

source of energy. With that being said, there are good carbs/fats and bad carbs/fats. Good carbs

should make up at least half of your daily caloric intake. Proteins are used for muscle and

cellular repair. Bad fats are what clog your blood vessels and increase your risk for heart disease

and stroke. “Vitamins and minerals assist in all body processes; digesting food; moving muscles;

disposing of wastes; growing new tissues; healing wounds; obtaining energy from carbohydrate,

fat, and protein; and participating in every other process necessary to maintain life.” (Sizer &

Whitney, 2017). Water is undoubtedly the most important nutrient because the majority of our

body is made up of water. We have all been dehydrated before and now how well we function

(or don’t function!) and that’s because our body isn’t running as effectively as it should.


Explain the digestion, absorption, and metabolism of the macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat). Make sure to appraise the parts of the body involved in these processes


Now let’s talk about some gross stuff! About how our bodies digest, absorb and

metabolize macronutrients. As you can see in the picture below the digestive system is made up

of many organs and body parts to include your mouth. Each part of our digestive system plays a

very important role in digestion and absorption of these nutrients.

            Carbohydrates start to be broken down when we take a bite of our food by our saliva that

helps break down the starches. Carbs continue to get broken down further in the small intestine

by digestive juices from the small intestine and the pancreas. “Bacteria in the small intestine

produce some of the enzymes needed to digest carbohydrates.” (Wallace, 2013). Fats are

digested by a digestive juice called bile that is produced in the liver, stored in the gallbladder and

released into the small intestine during the digestion process. Our stomach acid is responsible for

digesting proteins. The small intestine is divided into three parts; the beginning is called the

duodenum, the middle called the jejunum, and the end is called the ileum. The duodenum and

ileum are where the absorption of these nutrients happen. Once these nutrients are absorbed they

are transported to the areas of the body for use or storage.


  • Digestive System [image] (2017). Retrieved from http://easyscienceforkids.com/all-about-your-digestive-system/
  • Wallace, M. (2013, September 1). The Digestive System & How it Works. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works

Evaluate the nutritional requirements across the lifespan – from pregnancy to childhood, and from adolescence to adulthood

As we have probably all discovered as we have gotten older is that our metabolisms

aren’t as fast as they were when we were younger. As we grow from being in our mother’s

womb into adulthood our nutritional requirements change.

If you’ve ever been pregnant your doctor has told you to take prenatal vitamins and folic

acid. Pregnant women need more folic acid to help prevent brain and spinal birth defects

(ACOG, 2015). Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet should be something that we all do but it

is especially important for pregnant women, so their babies are born healthy and at a safe weight.

During infancy it is important that infants receive calcium and vitamins A&D to help in

their growth. “A baby grows faster during their first year of life than ever again.” (Sizer &

Whitney). Those of you that are parents are probably all aware of this! All my sister said when

my nephew was little was how fast he was growing! Seriously she would mention it every day!

Not giving our children, a proper nutritious diet can affect them for the rest of their lives.

It is important to limit processed and sugary foods, and give vitamins, minerals, protein and iron

to aide in their growth and brain development. 

 It seems that these days teenagers are just as busy as adults between school and their

extracurricular activities. Not every teenager is the same and the number of calories they need

varies based on their activity level, gender, and how fast they are growing. My friend is always

telling me that she needs to get another job to support her oldest child’s eating habits since he is

in a growth spurt and playing football. See the way that some kids eat almost make me happy

that I currently don’t have any! “Needs for vitamins, minerals, the energy-yielding nutrients, and

in fact all nutrients are great during adolescence than at any one time of life except pregnancy

and lactation.” (Sizer & Whitney, 2017).

Now by the time we are adults we should know what foods to eat and not to eat. That

doesn’t mean that we listen to ourselves! As more of the country becomes overweight and obese

we continue to stuff our faces with french fries and hamburgers. We have the knowledge that

eating healthy and exercising regularly will decrease our chances of an early death but we still

eat things that are bad for us. By eating a healthy and well-balanced diet we can keep our bodies

healthy, ward off diseases and increase our chances of living longer. We should all want to live

long and happy lives.


Create a personal diet modification plan by analyzing your personal diet in terms of nutritional strengths and weaknesses and discussing the changes you plan to make in your own life to better meet the dietary guidelines


I will be the first to say that my diet hasn’t been the best but I have been doing better and eating

healthier for the past few years. Over the past few years I have gained a lot of knowledge and continue

to learn every day about fitness and nutrition. I am overweight but I workout 5-6 days a week and eat a

pretty healthy diet. For me it really isn’t a problem eating healthy but eating the right amount of meals a

day. I do home health occupational therapy so I work out of my car and I have to take snacks that won’t

spoil and that I can leave in my car. So to say the least my choices are limited. Nutrition has become a

big part of my life, I read labels, stopped drinking sodas and fast food, cut down on sweets, and pretty

much stopped drinking beer (I will occasionally still have a beer but it is few and far between).

Like many others I have a busy schedule between work, school, and other activities but I write

out my daily schedule and it has helped a lot to be able to see that I do have time to work out. I am also

a huge fan of my Samsung fitness watch. It helps me push myself to hit my step goals and other daily

fitness goals. With the phone app it really helps me with my diet because I can log my food and it shows

me my calories and nutrients consumed. It helps me stay on track with making sure that I get the daily

recommended amount of fiber, carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. My biggest weakness of my

diet would be my snacking. I usually take an apple or a protein bar with me but that gets old after a

while. It is especially hard in the summer since it gets so hot in the car and I don’t want to have to take a

lunch box in with me when I go see my clients. Occasionally if I don’t bring a snack and if I get hungry

enough I’ll stop and get a snack but it is usually an unhealthy snack. Luckily this rarely happens!  I am

always looking at the grocery store for something that I can bring with me and leave in the car. What do

you guys think, do you have any good suggestions for me?


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