Obese, Yet Iron-Deficient

There’s actually a chapter in Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live entitled “Overfed, Yet Malnourished.” This is an often overlooked symptom of our gluttonous society, but, a very real and very dangerous phenomenon. Now Dr. Fuhrman explains it much better than I can:
Medical investigations clearly show the dangers of consuming the quantity of processed foods that we do. And because these refined grains lack the fiber and nutrient density to turn down our appetite, they also cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and significantly increased cancer risk1…


…If you want to lose weight, the most important foods to avoid are processed foods: condiments, candy, snacks, and baked goods; fat-free has nothing to do with it. Almost all weight-loss authorities agree on this — you must cut out the refined carbohydrates, including bagels, pasta, and bread. As far as the human body is concerned, low-fiber carbohydrates such as pasta are almost as damaging as white sugar. Pasta is not health food — it is hurt food…

…Empty calories are empty calories. Cookies, jams, and other processed foods (even those from the health-food store) sweetened with “fruit juice” sound healthier but are just as bad as white sugar products. When fruit juice is concentrated and used as a sweetener, the healthy nutritional components are stripped away — what’s left is plain sugar. To your body, there is not much difference between refined sugar, fruit juice sweeteners, honey, fruit juice concentrate, or any other concentrated sweetener. Our sweet tooth has been put there by nature to have us enjoy and consume real fruit, not some imitation. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and other fresh fruit and vegetable juices are relatively healthy foods that contain the majority of the original vitamins and minerals. But the sweet fruit juices and even carrot juice should still be used only moderately, as they still contain a high concentration of sugar calories and no fiber.
So, when you consider that so many Americans gorge on low-nutrient high-calorie foods, you won’t find this next report all that surprising. According to new research obese children actually suffer from iron deficiency. Reuters reports:
It was the first time an association had been found between obesity and iron deficiency in children as young as 1, the researchers said, and they said junk food may be to blame.


"The reasons for the strong association in this age group are unclear and need to be elucidated," Dr. Jane Brotanek of the University of Texas and other researchers cautioned in their study, published in the journal Pediatrics.

"Dietary practices may play an important role since diets high in calories but poor in micronutrients may lead to both iron deficiency and overweight" children, they added.
When you start eating a nutrient-dense diet, you start evaluating foods differently. Personally, I don’t get too hung up on calorie content anymore. Rather, I pay close attention to the calorie-to-nutrients ratio—makes you really think twice about eating sweets!
1. Jacobs, D. R., L. Marquart, J. Slavin, and L. H. Kushi. 1998. Whole-grain intake and cancer: an expanded review and meta-analysis. Nutrition and Cancer 30 (2): 85–96; Chatenoud, L., A. Tavani, C. La Vecchia, et al. 1998. Whole-grain food intake and cancer risk. Int. J. Cancer 77 (1): 24–28.
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