Variety Is Important

I am going to share a story that was highlighted on NPR after being published in ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’. This is a story of a boy who was seen as picky, but did not show any significant health side effect related to his poor diet. The boy was normal for height and weight upon examination and had no significant health complaints.

So what did his diet consist of? Carbohydrates (specifically simple carbohydrates) and processed meats. That's right. The boy ate only French fries, Pringles potato chips, white bread, and some processed pork. This is a daily diet, virtually void of vitamins and minerals needed for supporting a healthy body. But clearly in the case with this individual, these vitamins and minerals were not part of his diet and he appears to be healthy based on all physical markers.

This is a case of not reading a book by its cover. Upon further investigation, the boy was lacking in vitamins and minerals, which had taken its toll on his body. Doctors noticed he was anemic, as well as low in vitamin B12. This led to supplements and vitamin B12 injections, as well as diet advice. Unfortunately, the real toll had already been affecting this patient behind the scene through optic neuropathy that had gone unnoticed for too long, leaving the patient legally blind.

While this is a particular sad story, I chose to share it to shed light on the importance of a well-balanced diet. There are good reasons to eat your vegetables and a modest amount of fruits and legumes. They are good for you because your body needs these vitamins and minerals. I hope people are able to learn that eating a variety of foods which are packed with vitamins and minerals (vegetables, fruits, legumes, unprocessed meats, seeds, and nuts) is what your body needs. The next time you avoid a food because you "don't like it" find a few ways to make this food so you can try over and over again before you rule it out. Repeat this process every 5 years to accommodate for changing taste buds.

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