What is the Connection Between Nutrition and Obesity?

B. Miller

The connection between nutrition and obesity is that poor nutrition is the most common cause of obesity. Put simply, this means that eating a poor diet, or not meeting the body's nutritional needs, leads to weight gain, which over time can lead to obesity if it is not addressed with the adoption of a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Nutrition and obesity are linked so closely that many doctors will recommend that a patient struggling with weight gain visit a nutritionist in order to develop a specialized healthy eating plan to encourage weight loss and better overall health.

People should avoid eating too much junk food, like cheeseburgers, to help prevent obesity.
People should avoid eating too much junk food, like cheeseburgers, to help prevent obesity.

Poor nutrition and obesity also frequently lead to other conditions such as various cardiovascular conditions, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as increased risk of developing diabetes and different types of cancers. Insufficient nutrition can also contribute to a number of other conditions including vitamin deficiencies, if nutritional needs are not being met. Mental health disturbances such as depression are another risk as well. These are just a few of the negative ramifications on the body when nutrition and obesity are not carefully managed.

Foods that are high in fat and calories, like pizza, can cause weight gain and other health problems.
Foods that are high in fat and calories, like pizza, can cause weight gain and other health problems.

Of course, the connection between nutrition and obesity does not necessarily have to be a negative one. Making significant changes to one's eating habits promotes weight loss and the maintenance of a healthy weight over time, though this is most effective when combined with exercise. In general, this means eating more fruits and vegetables in the diet, as well as whole grains, and replacing red meat with sources of lean protein such as chicken, fish, or soy alternatives. It also means cutting out "junk" foods such as foods that contain refined carbohydrates, or which are high in sugar and saturated or trans fats. Excessive drinking of alcohol is also detrimental to a healthy diet.

Eating unhealthy foods, like junk food, can cause obesity.
Eating unhealthy foods, like junk food, can cause obesity.

A nutritionist will be able to examine the connection between nutrition and obesity for each individual patient, sometimes targeting "problem foods" that people consume to excess, and will be able to make suggestions for healthier eating habits. This might include not just changes in the types of foods eaten, but in the way that foods are eaten, such as slowly eating smaller meals throughout the day rather than eating three large meals. Breaking the negative connection between nutrition and obesity is quite difficult, and requires patience, discipline, and persistence, since it will take time to lose weight and get in shape in a healthy manner that will keep the weight off, but it is one of the best things that can be done to improve health.

Foods high in saturated and trans fat can cause weight gain and obesity.
Foods high in saturated and trans fat can cause weight gain and obesity.
Avoiding deep fried foods can help against obesity.
Avoiding deep fried foods can help against obesity.
Drinking lots of water can provide more nutrition than sodas.
Drinking lots of water can provide more nutrition than sodas.
Including more fruits and vegetables into one's diet can help combat obesity.
Including more fruits and vegetables into one's diet can help combat obesity.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are low in calories.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are low in calories.

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