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A Junk Food Diet Leads to Scurvy!

A Junk Food Diet Leads to Scurvy!

Article by Don Goldberg

Junk Food Diet Leads To Scurvy!


Many conventional nutritionists and physicians argue that taking vitamin and mineral supplements is unnecessary. They staunchly maintain that "all we need to do is eat a balanced diet, consisting of properly prepared food, with the recommended number of servings of fruits, vegetables, etc."

This is more easily said than done. Survey after survey shows this is the case. Overt deficiencies in large segments of the population are common. And we have no real measure of how common subclinical deficiencies might be.

Eating the right foods in the right proportions is not easy these days. Resisting the temptation to fill up on empty calorie, fat-laden and sugar-rich junk foods is difficult. It is unrealistic to pretend this is not so. The high prevalence of obesity indicates that we suffer from over consumption and under nutrition.

Well, and recent report, titled Junk Food Diet Brings Scurvy to Modern Age, by Reuters Health, shows that this concern may be more real than many nutritionists realize.

A college student, eating a diet completely lacking in fruits and vegetables, developed a condition linked to a low intake of vitamin C, known as scurvy.

The young man developed scurvy even though he was eating plenty of calories and had no deficiencies in most other vitamins and minerals. Scurvy, is a disease characterized by bleeding gums, loose teeth, muscle degeneration and weakness. It was once the scourge of sailors, who found that sucking on a lime could keep the disease at bay.  

The student confessed to doctors that he ate no fruits and vegetables, consuming only a few types of foods--namely, cheese, crackers, soda, cookies, chocolate and water.

Based on this diet, researchers estimate he was taking in around 0.1 milligram of vitamin C per day. The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C for nonsmoking men is 90 milligrams per day.

This case demonstrates that even seemingly healthy people can develop a deficiency in vitamin C, study author Barbara Hermreck of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Kansas told Reuters Health.

Just because people eat enough food, "that doesn't mean that it's a given that they are getting enough vitamin C," she said. She and her colleagues presented the case Tuesday during a meeting of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition in San Antonio, Texas.

Although scurvy (severe vitamin C deficiency) is uncommon in Western societies, many doctors believe that most people consume less than optimal amounts. It may be more a problem in the elderly, and among alcololics.

Previous research has suggested that many Americans have relatively low levels of vitamin C in their blood, but the deficiencies are not extreme enough to develop into scurvy. Fatigue, easy bruising, and bleeding gums are early signs of vitamin C deficiency that occur long before frank scurvy develops. Smokers have low levels of vitamin C and require a higher daily intake to maintain normal vitamin C levels. Women with preeclampsia have been found to have lower blood levels of vitamin C than women without the condition. Women who have<