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  • A Teen Goes Blind After Consuming Nothing But Processed Food Since Elementary

    He considered himself a picky eater because he been eating only junk and processed food.
    by Kitty Elicay .
A Teen Goes Blind After Consuming Nothing But Processed Food Since Elementary
  • Parents of picky eaters would sometimes find themselves giving in to their children’s whims just to avoid the stress that comes with trying to win mealtime battles. If their child only wants to eat hotdogs, why not let him? The important thing is the kid is eating, even if he’s not eating as healthily as you would want, right? Well, just monitor that you achieve a good sense of balance between his favorite food and good nutrition because in extreme cases, really poor diet could lead to vision loss.

    A recent case study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine show the extreme effects that can happen to individuals who consume only junk food: they can go blind.

    A 14-year-old teenager living in the United Kingdom was taken to his family doctor after complaining of tiredness. He was diagnosed with anemia and vitamin B deficiency. A year later, he developed hearing loss and then started having trouble seeing, according to researchers at the Bristol Eye Hospital and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

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    By the time he was 17 years old, the teen had lost his vision “to the point of being blind,” reports Insider. Doctors found he had extremely low levels of vitamins B and D, and other nutrients.

    His condition is called nutritional optic neuropathy, a “dysfunction of the optic nerve resulting from improper dietary content of certain nutrients essential for normal functioning of the nerve fibers,” according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). It can be caused by drugs, severe alcohol and tobacco use, and poor diet, according to the study.

    In this condition, the optic nerve is damaged due to a lack of nutrients like folic acid and B vitamins, which help maintain healthy cells. “Without them, toxic metabolic byproducts can build up within the cells, damaging and eventually killing the nerves,” says the study.

    This condition is treatable, provided it is detected early and the deficient nutrients are replaced. Once the nerves are damaged however, they can no longer be repaired.

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    While the boy in the case study maintained normal weight, his diet consisted of nothing but French fries, chips, white bread, processed ham, and sausage. According to the study, he had been eating these types of food since he was in elementary school.

    Doctors considered his refusal to eat anything other than the food mentioned above an eating disorder. He was treated with vitamins to balance his nutritional deficiencies and was given counseling for his mental health but the damage done to his eyes was irreversible.

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    The effects of eating only junk food

    Chips, French fries, and processed meat may be high in calories, but they have very little nutrients. Apart from B vitamins, they also lack essential nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, selenium, and copper. In the case study, the teenager was lacking all these nutrients in his body.

    Blindness from a junk food-diet is rare, but it is a good reminder of the adverse effects of excessive junk food. Aside from loss of vision, it can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Children will also miss out on vital nutrients to stimulate their brain and body.

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    To lessen your child’s picky eating habits, you can try these helpful tips by pediatrician Dr. Edilberto Garcia Jr., M.D.:

    • avoid distractions during meal times
    • maintain a pleasant and neutral attitude throughout the meal
    • feed to encourage appetite
    • serve age-appropriate food
    • serve new food again and again
    • encourage self-feeding

    Most importantly, make non-healthy options inaccessible to your baby so your child (or you) would not be tempted to eat it.

    Eating healthy is not easy but this visual guide on how much (and what kind of) food you should be eating might be able to help. Click here to see what food should be on your plate.

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