Overweight and Underfed

Zelda Okia, MDUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Although over half of the US population is overweight or obese, evidence suggests that many still suffer from malnutrition. Being overweight or obese is usually seen as overconsumption of food and dietary excess, but actually, the opposite may be true.

An article from Jennifer Kerns, et al titled “Thiamin deficiency in obesity” published in the journal Advances in Nutrition. Vol.6(2) 2015, relayed results of a study showing that a number of overweight patients presenting for weight loss surgery were deficient in thiamin (vitamin B1). Many obese people eat high-calorie, energy dense processed foods with low nutritional value.

These processed foods are typically high in fat and high in simple sugars, contributing to weight gain, but are often devoid of essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies require.

The National Research Council reported that over 80% of Americans eat a diet that is below the recommended daily allowance for vitamins and minerals. Additionally, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) found deficiencies of multiple nutrients in people with body mass index (BMI) in the obese range. Specifically, the people most likely to have lower levels of micronutrients were overweight and obese premenopausal women.

These studies are a warning to not assume that because you are overweight, the foods you select are serving you in terms of promoting weight loss or providing your body the nutrients required to function at maximum capacity.

I encourage my clients to also work with functional/integrative medical practitioners and dietitians to ensure an adequate intake of nutrients during weight reduction to maintain health and wellness. 

Some of the micronutrients mentioned in the NHANES III Survey included: thiamin (B-1), carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene), vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B12, and folate.

Deficiency of these micronutrients, perhaps not severe enough to cause a noticeable “syndrome,” have been associated with more minor, vague complaints such as nausea and vomiting, abdominal discomfort, constipation, fatigue, generalized weakness, muscle cramps, neurological symptoms such as depression, confusion, myalgia, or neuropathic pain.

The reasons why obese or overweight people may develop these micronutrient deficiencies are not well understood, but it may relate to inadequate dietary intake or an altered metabolic absorption of nutrients.

I would love to work with you to help you lose weight and discover great tasting foods that also provide you with the nutrients your body needs to function optimally. I am currently seeking clients to fill my 6-week weight loss program (IMPACT). Click Here to find out more.

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