Too much food but not enough nutrients:
Despite the variety and availability of foods on the market, many people have a deficient diet. According to a U.S. public health agency, many North Americans consume more calories than they should, without getting the nutrients they need. Often, too many foods are eaten that are high in calories but low in nutritional value.
Nutritional research has approved and without presenting deficiencies that the diet of a large part of the population does not meet all the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA).
Studies show that in Canada, the population generally meets the recommended intakes of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and lipids), but is often deficient in certain micronutrients such as vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid), B12 and C, as well as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Nutritionist Hélène Baribeau says, “Let’s just look at all those people who bring a frozen lunch to work: they consume a few hundred calories and, in most cases, quite a bit of fat and sodium, but not much in the way of nutrients. Industrially prepared foods are, all too often, not very nutritious.”
According to the French National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), needs are not met when the diet :
– is rich in refined ingredients: sugar, fat, white flour, starch, sweetened drinks and products, alcohol ;
– is low in whole or semi-complete cereal products, legumes, various starchy foods, fruits and vegetables;
– includes an insufficient quantity of certain specific foods such as dairy products for calcium, red meat for iron.
Deficiencies in various nutrients can have all sorts of consequences, from simple fatigue if there is a slight lack of iron, to a risk of fetal malformation if the mother lacks folic acid, to nausea, constipation, mood disorders or memory loss if there is a prolonged lack of vitamin B12.
Nutritional needs :
Hélène Baribeau, the nutritionist, notes that certain deficiencies are more widespread than others. “Generally, there are four nutrients that are more difficult to obtain, either because they are present in small quantities in foods, or because they are found in few foods or in foods that are rarely eaten. These are iron, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin E.”
Individuals’ needs for each nutrient vary depending on several factors, including age and gender. The estimated daily requirement for vitamin C, for example, is 45 mg per day for boys and girls aged 9 to 13, but 90 mg for men aged 50 and over.
Concerned about a nutrient deficiency? You can consult a nutritionist.
You will be able to take steps to remedy a particular deficiency, either through diet or by using supplements.