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Nutrition - Healthy Versus Unhealthy Shannon Sheffer & Julie Walker Ferris State University

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY Abstract Personal health is crucially essential to each individuals well-being. It also contributes to and promotes the quality and quantity of life. Nutritious and healthy food (in combination with regular physical activity) is the gateway that promotes a healthy lifestyle. The primary purpose of this paper is to detail a healthy versus unhealthy diet. In addition, we will explain how eating certain foods affect the human body in both a positive and negative manner. We will describe

many health issues directly related to the regular consumption of unhealthy foods that are high in calories, fat, and sugar. This paper will also describe the food pyramid. This guide, published by the United States Department of Agriculture contains daily nutritional recommendations that are applicable to everyone. We will also show the important role that ones psyche plays in our choices of healthy or unhealthy foods. Lastly, this paper briefly describes familiar, cultural, and social factors of food choices. A variety of resources were used to develop this paper and support our theory.

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY Nutrition - Healthy Versus Unhealthy Nutrition is a necessity of life. It is used to sustain each human as the body craves the vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fats, and other vital substances present in food. This aids in the

growth, strength, and continued activity of the human race. Food, however, is a way of life. It is used to celebrate and commemorate special occasions, grieve the loss of something or someone, and pass the time when boredom occurs. In todays society, food has become less about sustenance and more about indulgence and satisfaction. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast a healthy versus unhealthy diet. This paper will also address the health factors associated with each diet. In addition, this paper will briefly discuss some reasons for the vast obesity problem in America and its result in healthcare. According to an article written by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is a leading factor for many health related problems in humans. The cause of obesity may be related to many different factors, but the most common include increase caloric consumption coupled with a decrease in physical activity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that overweight and obesity and their associated health problems have a significant economic impact on the U.S. health care system (2012). This same article states that the medical care costs of obesity in the United Statestotaled about $147 billion in 2008 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). Healthy Diet The importance of a healthy and nutritious diet is not to be underestimated. The United States Department of Agriculture developed and published a guide in an effort to aid and direct citizens of this country in choosing the proper types and amount of foods to consume. This booklet, entitled The Food Guide Pyramid, depicts information about the nutritional content of

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY different foods. This guide also contains an illustration to show readers six different food groups, each with a recommended consumption rate. According to this guide, each person should consume between 6-11 servings of grains, 3-5 portions of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, 2-3 portions of protein from meat, beans, nuts, and eggs, 2-3 servings of milk and cheese, and a very small amount of fats, oils, and sugar per day. According to the United States

Department of Agriculture (2013), the Food Pyramid is not a rigid prescription, but a general guide that lets you choose a healthful diet thats right for you. An article written by the National Institute of Health states that the best way to give your body the balanced nutrition it needs is by eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day (2013). In correlation with this statement, one section in The Food Guide Pyramid details the optimal dietary recommendations specific to Americans. This guide recommends eating a diet filled with healthy grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins in order to sustain and energize the body. A food regimen that contains a decreased amount of fats and cholesterol will aid in diminishing the chance of a myocardial infarction as well as help with weight reduction and maintenance. Although many Americans consume many sugary substances, this guide recommends a restrained amount of sugar due to its high caloric content and low health content. Eating an abundance of sugar will not only increase the amount of calories consumed, but also promote degeneration of the teeth. In addition, if alcohol is consumed, it is recommended in limited quantities. Alcohol is full of sugar and provides many calories, yet little nutritional support. Also, excessive alcohol use has the ability to cause degeneration to the liver as well as physical dependence issues. This guide states the importance of following a proportional eating and exercise plan in an effort to increase the health of the human body. This proposal states that abiding by this plan will aid in weight management as well as healthy organs, such as the heart

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY and lungs. This type of plan will also decrease the probability of dealing with health related

issues such as hypertension, cerebrovascular accident, type II diabetes, and some types of cancer (United States Department of Agriculture, 2013). In light of this information, it is important to note that a healthy diet in conjunction with regular exercise can surely promote a healthy lifestyle. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notes that each of these food groups provides some, but not all, of the nutrients you needno one food group is more important than another for good health, you need them all (2013). Unhealthy Diet The World Health Organization (WHO) attributes increases in rates of disease and mortality to unhealthy trends in nutrition. One of these unhealthy trends includes a decreased intake of fruits and vegetables which results in 1.7 million deaths worldwide. Additionally, the consumption of salt is more than twice the recommended amount. This together with the increased intake of saturated and trans fats are considered to be contributing factors to cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death worldwide (2011). Not only is over-consumption of macro nutrients such as sugars and fats a major component of poor diet, so too are less than adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These vital compounds (Livestrong, 2010) assist the human body in repairing itself and in defending against diseases. Inadequate intake of these nutrients has become an issue to the effect that the American Cancer Society estimates that deaths due to cancer in the United States could be decreased by as much as 30 percent with proper nutrition (Livestrong, 2010). The trend toward unhealthy dietary choices is thought to be caused by a variety of factors. Pender (2011) speaks of psychological factors causing individuals to choose foods high

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY in simple sugars and saturated fats due to using such as rewards or to compensate for negative emotions. Additionally, individuals may also become dependent on the energy spurt that results from intake of sugary foods (Pender, 2011, p. 177). Hormonal factors may also cause these individuals to not feel satisfied from food intake, thus over-eating these already high calorie foods. According to Pender (2011), socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental factors also play key roles in dietary choices. These factors are intertwined in that folks of similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds often share similar environments, many times in neighborhoods of relatively low socioeconomic status. The convenience and low cost of fast foods and processed high-calorie foods in low-income neighborhoods increases likelihood of consumption of these

items. It is well known that foods comprised of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and fresh produce are more expensive than refined, processed foods. Added to this are the cultural influences in which high calorie foods are associated with family gatherings, holidays, and special events. Ones familial ties may cause tendencies toward using foods high in fats, sugars, and salt as coping mechanisms. Conclusion Research shows that diet has become less about nourishment and more about ones background, environment, and social status. Happily, organizations such as WHO and authorities such as USDA and NIH are taking steps to promote healthier eating habits. It is understood that education is an important first step toward combating the obesity epidemic and the diseases and complications associated with it. Promotion of dietary guidelines such as the Food Pyramid at a level understood by different age-groups intends to assist individuals in creating good habits that can then influence their family and environment.

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY References Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Causes and consequences what causes overweight and obesity? Retrieved from obesity/adult/causes/index.html Livestrong. (2010). Information on bad nutrition. Retrieved from article/255014-information-on-bad-nutrition/ The National Institute of Health. (2013). Healthy eating plan. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from obesity/lose_wt/calories.htm

Pender, N. J., Murdaugh, C.L. & Parsons, M.A. (2009) Health promotion in nursing practice (6th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall United States Department of Agriculture. (2013). The food guide pyramid. Retrieved from FGP/FGPPamphlet.pdf World Health Organization. (2011). Unhealthy diet. Retrieved from ncd/risk_factors/unhealthy_diet_text/en/index.html