• - Google Chrome

Intended for healthcare professionals

  • Access provided by Google Indexer
  • My email alerts
  • BMA member login
  • Username * Password * Forgot your log in details? Need to activate BMA Member Log In Log in via OpenAthens Log in via your institution


Search form

  • Advanced search
  • Search responses
  • Search blogs
  • News & Views
  • Food and mood: how do...

Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing?

Read our food for thought 2020 collection.

  • Related content
  • Peer review

This article has a correction. Please see:

  • Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing? - November 09, 2020
  • Joseph Firth , research fellow 1 2 ,
  • James E Gangwisch , assistant professor 3 4 ,
  • Alessandra Borsini , researcher 5 ,
  • Robyn E Wootton , researcher 6 7 8 ,
  • Emeran A Mayer , professor 9 10
  • 1 Division of Psychology and Mental Health, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, Oxford Road, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
  • 2 NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Westmead, Australia
  • 3 Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, USA
  • 4 New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA
  • 5 Section of Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology Laboratory, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK
  • 6 School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 7 MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, Oakfield House, Bristol, UK
  • 8 NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 9 G Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 10 UCLA Microbiome Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Correspondence to: J Firth joseph.firth{at}manchester.ac.uk

Poor nutrition may be a causal factor in the experience of low mood, and improving diet may help to protect not only the physical health but also the mental health of the population, say Joseph Firth and colleagues

Key messages

Healthy eating patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, are associated with better mental health than “unhealthy” eating patterns, such as the Western diet

The effects of certain foods or dietary patterns on glycaemia, immune activation, and the gut microbiome may play a role in the relationships between food and mood

More research is needed to understand the mechanisms that link food and mental wellbeing and determine how and when nutrition can be used to improve mental health

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health conditions worldwide, making them a leading cause of disability. 1 Even beyond diagnosed conditions, subclinical symptoms of depression and anxiety affect the wellbeing and functioning of a large proportion of the population. 2 Therefore, new approaches to managing both clinically diagnosed and subclinical depression and anxiety are needed.

In recent years, the relationships between nutrition and mental health have gained considerable interest. Indeed, epidemiological research has observed that adherence to healthy or Mediterranean dietary patterns—high consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes; moderate consumption of poultry, eggs, and dairy products; and only occasional consumption of red meat—is associated with a reduced risk of depression. 3 However, the nature of these relations is complicated by the clear potential for reverse causality between diet and mental health ( fig 1 ). For example, alterations in food choices or preferences in response to our temporary psychological state—such as “comfort foods” in times of low mood, or changes in appetite from stress—are common human experiences. In addition, relationships between nutrition and longstanding mental illness are compounded by barriers to maintaining a healthy diet. These barriers disproportionality affect people with mental illness and include the financial and environmental determinants of health, and even the appetite inducing effects of psychiatric medications. 4

Fig 1

Hypothesised relationship between diet, physical health, and mental health. The dashed line is the focus of this article.

  • Download figure
  • Open in new tab
  • Download powerpoint

While acknowledging the complex, multidirectional nature of the relationships between diet and mental health ( fig 1 ), in this article we focus on the ways in which certain foods and dietary patterns could affect mental health.

Mood and carbohydrates

Consumption of highly refined carbohydrates can increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. 5 Glycaemic index is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to the speed at which they are digested, absorbed, metabolised, and ultimately affect blood glucose and insulin levels. As well as the physical health risks, diets with a high glycaemic index and load (eg, diets containing high amounts of refined carbohydrates and sugars) may also have a detrimental effect on psychological wellbeing; data from longitudinal research show an association between progressively higher dietary glycaemic index and the incidence of depressive symptoms. 6 Clinical studies have also shown potential causal effects of refined carbohydrates on mood; experimental exposure to diets with a high glycaemic load in controlled settings increases depressive symptoms in healthy volunteers, with a moderately large effect. 7

Although mood itself can affect our food choices, plausible mechanisms exist by which high consumption of processed carbohydrates could increase the risk of depression and anxiety—for example, through repeated and rapid increases and decreases in blood glucose. Measures of glycaemic index and glycaemic load can be used to estimate glycaemia and insulin demand in healthy individuals after eating. 8 Thus, high dietary glycaemic load, and the resultant compensatory responses, could lower plasma glucose to concentrations that trigger the secretion of autonomic counter-regulatory hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, growth hormone, and glucagon. 5 9 The potential effects of this response on mood have been examined in experimental human research of stepped reductions in plasma glucose concentrations conducted under laboratory conditions through glucose perfusion. These findings showed that such counter-regulatory hormones may cause changes in anxiety, irritability, and hunger. 10 In addition, observational research has found that recurrent hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) is associated with mood disorders. 9

The hypothesis that repeated and rapid increases and decreases in blood glucose explain how consumption of refined carbohydrate could affect psychological state appears to be a good fit given the relatively fast effect of diets with a high glycaemic index or load on depressive symptoms observed in human studies. 7 However, other processes may explain the observed relationships. For instance, diets with a high glycaemic index are a risk factor for diabetes, 5 which is often a comorbid condition with depression. 4 11 While the main models of disease pathophysiology in diabetes and mental illness are separate, common abnormalities in insulin resistance, brain volume, and neurocognitive performance in both conditions support the hypothesis that these conditions have overlapping pathophysiology. 12 Furthermore, the inflammatory response to foods with a high glycaemic index 13 raises the possibility that diets with a high glycaemic index are associated with symptoms of depression through the broader connections between mental health and immune activation.

Diet, immune activation, and depression

Studies have found that sustained adherence to Mediterranean dietary patterns can reduce markers of inflammation in humans. 14 On the other hand, high calorie meals rich in saturated fat appear to stimulate immune activation. 13 15 Indeed, the inflammatory effects of a diet high in calories and saturated fat have been proposed as one mechanism through which the Western diet may have detrimental effects on brain health, including cognitive decline, hippocampal dysfunction, and damage to the blood-brain barrier. 15 Since various mental health conditions, including mood disorders, have been linked to heightened inflammation, 16 this mechanism also presents a pathway through which poor diet could increase the risk of depression. This hypothesis is supported by observational studies which have shown that people with depression score significantly higher on measures of “dietary inflammation,” 3 17 characterised by a greater consumption of foods that are associated with inflammation (eg, trans fats and refined carbohydrates) and lower intakes of nutritional foods, which are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties (eg, omega-3 fats). However, the causal roles of dietary inflammation in mental health have not yet been established.

Nonetheless, randomised controlled trials of anti-inflammatory agents (eg, cytokine inhibitors and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have found that these agents can significantly reduce depressive symptoms. 18 Specific nutritional components (eg, polyphenols and polyunsaturated fats) and general dietary patterns (eg, consumption of a Mediterranean diet) may also have anti-inflammatory effects, 14 19 20 which raises the possibility that certain foods could relieve or prevent depressive symptoms associated with heightened inflammatory status. 21 A recent study provides preliminary support for this possibility. 20 The study shows that medications that stimulate inflammation typically induce depressive states in people treated, and that giving omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties, before the medication seems to prevent the onset of cytokine induced depression. 20

However, the complexity of the hypothesised three way relation between diet, inflammation, and depression is compounded by several important modifiers. For example, recent clinical research has observed that stressors experienced the previous day, or a personal history of major depressive disorders, may cancel out the beneficial effects of healthy food choices on inflammation and mood. 22 Furthermore, as heightened inflammation occurs in only some clinically depressed individuals, anti-inflammatory interventions may only benefit certain people characterised by an “inflammatory phenotype,” or those with comorbid inflammatory conditions. 18 Further interventional research is needed to establish if improvements in immune regulation, induced by diet, can reduce depressive symptoms in those affected by inflammatory conditions.

Brain, gut microbiome, and mood

A more recent explanation for the way in which our food may affect our mental wellbeing is the effect of dietary patterns on the gut microbiome—a broad term that refers to the trillions of microbial organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and archaea, living in the human gut. The gut microbiome interacts with the brain in bidirectional ways using neural, inflammatory, and hormonal signalling pathways. 23 The role of altered interactions between the brain and gut microbiome on mental health has been proposed on the basis of the following evidence: emotion-like behaviour in rodents changes with changes in the gut microbiome, 24 major depressive disorder in humans is associated with alterations of the gut microbiome, 25 and transfer of faecal gut microbiota from humans with depression into rodents appears to induce animal behaviours that are hypothesised to indicate depression-like states. 25 26 Such findings suggest a role of altered neuroactive microbial metabolites in depressive symptoms.

In addition to genetic factors and exposure to antibiotics, diet is a potentially modifiable determinant of the diversity, relative abundance, and functionality of the gut microbiome throughout life. For instance, the neurocognitive effects of the Western diet, and the possible mediating role of low grade systemic immune activation (as discussed above) may result from a compromised mucus layer with or without increased epithelial permeability. Such a decrease in the function of the gut barrier is sometimes referred to as a “leaky gut” and has been linked to an “unhealthy” gut microbiome resulting from a diet low in fibre and high in saturated fats, refined sugars, and artificial sweeteners. 15 23 27 Conversely, the consumption of a diet high in fibres, polyphenols, and unsaturated fatty acids (as found in a Mediterranean diet) can promote gut microbial taxa which can metabolise these food sources into anti-inflammatory metabolites, 15 28 such as short chain fatty acids, while lowering the production of secondary bile acids and p-cresol. Moreover, a recent study found that the ingestion of probiotics by healthy individuals, which theoretically target the gut microbiome, can alter the brain’s response to a task that requires emotional attention 29 and may even reduce symptoms of depression. 30 When viewed together, these studies provide promising evidence supporting a role of the gut microbiome in modulating processes that regulate emotion in the human brain. However, no causal relationship between specific microbes, or their metabolites, and complex human emotions has been established so far. Furthermore, whether changes to the gut microbiome induced by diet can affect depressive symptoms or clinical depressive disorders, and the time in which this could feasibly occur, remains to be shown.

Priorities and next steps

In moving forward within this active field of research, it is firstly important not to lose sight of the wood for the trees—that is, become too focused on the details and not pay attention to the bigger questions. Whereas discovering the anti-inflammatory properties of a single nutrient or uncovering the subtleties of interactions between the gut and the brain may shed new light on how food may influence mood, it is important not to neglect the existing knowledge on other ways diet may affect mental health. For example, the later consequences of a poor diet include obesity and diabetes, which have already been shown to be associated with poorer mental health. 11 31 32 33 A full discussion of the effect of these comorbidities is beyond the scope of our article (see fig 1 ), but it is important to acknowledge that developing public health initiatives that effectively tackle the established risk factors of physical and mental comorbidities is a priority for improving population health.

Further work is needed to improve our understanding of the complex pathways through which diet and nutrition can influence the brain. Such knowledge could lead to investigations of targeted, even personalised, interventions to improve mood, anxiety, or other symptoms through nutritional approaches. However, these possibilities are speculative at the moment, and more interventional research is needed to establish if, how, and when dietary interventions can be used to prevent mental illness or reduce symptoms in those living with such conditions. Of note, a recent large clinical trial found no significant benefits of a behavioural intervention promoting a Mediterranean diet for adults with subclinical depressive symptoms. 34 On the other hand, several recent smaller trials in individuals with current depression observed moderately large improvements from interventions based on the Mediterranean diet. 35 36 37 Such results, however, must be considered within the context of the effect of people’s expectations, particularly given that individuals’ beliefs about the quality of their food or diet may also have a marked effect on their sense of overall health and wellbeing. 38 Nonetheless, even aside from psychological effects, consideration of dietary factors within mental healthcare may help improve physical health outcomes, given the higher rates of cardiometabolic diseases observed in people with mental illness. 33

At the same time, it is important to be remember that the causes of mental illness are many and varied, and they will often present and persist independently of nutrition and diet. Thus, the increased understanding of potential connections between food and mental wellbeing should never be used to support automatic assumptions, or stigmatisation, about an individual’s dietary choices and their mental health. Indeed, such stigmatisation could be itself be a casual pathway to increasing the risk of poorer mental health. Nonetheless, a promising message for public health and clinical settings is emerging from the ongoing research. This message supports the idea that creating environments and developing measures that promote healthy, nutritious diets, while decreasing the consumption of highly processed and refined “junk” foods may provide benefits even beyond the well known effects on physical health, including improved psychological wellbeing.

Contributors and sources: JF has expertise in the interaction between physical and mental health, particularly the role of lifestyle and behavioural health factors in mental health promotion. JEG’s area of expertise is the study of the relationship between sleep duration, nutrition, psychiatric disorders, and cardiometabolic diseases. AB leads research investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying the effect of stress and inflammation on human hippocampal neurogenesis, and how nutritional components and their metabolites can prevent changes induced by those conditions. REW has expertise in genetic epidemiology approaches to examining casual relations between health behaviours and mental illness. EAM has expertise in brain and gut interactions and microbiome interactions. All authors contributed to, read, and approved the paper, and all the information was sourced from articles published in peer reviewed research journals. JF is the guarantor.

Competing interests: We have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare the following: JF is supported by a University of Manchester Presidential Fellowship and a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship and has received support from a NICM-Blackmores Institute Fellowship. JEG served on the medical advisory board on insomnia in the cardiovascular patient population for the drug company Eisai. AB has received research funding from Johnson & Johnson for research on depression and inflammation, the UK Medical Research Council, the European Commission Horizon 2020, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and King’s College London. REW receives funding from the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol. EAM has served on the external advisory boards of Danone, Viome, Amare, Axial Biotherapeutics, Pendulum, Ubiome, Bloom Science, Mahana Therapeutics, and APC Microbiome Ireland, and he receives royalties from Harper & Collins for his book The Mind Gut Connection. He is supported by grants from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the US Department of Defense. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the organisations above.

Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

This article is part of series commissioned by The BMJ. Open access fees are paid by Swiss Re, which had no input into the commissioning or peer review of the articles. T he BMJ thanks the series advisers, Nita Forouhi, Dariush Mozaffarian, and Anna Lartey for valuable advice and guiding selection of topics in the series.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ .

  • Friedrich MJ
  • Johnson J ,
  • Weissman MM ,
  • Lassale C ,
  • Baghdadli A ,
  • Siddiqi N ,
  • Koyanagi A ,
  • Gangwisch JE ,
  • Salari-Moghaddam A ,
  • Larijani B ,
  • Esmaillzadeh A
  • de Jong V ,
  • Atkinson F ,
  • Brand-Miller JC
  • Seaquist ER ,
  • Anderson J ,
  • American Diabetes Association ,
  • Endocrine Society
  • Towler DA ,
  • Havlin CE ,
  • McIntyre RS ,
  • Nguyen HT ,
  • O’Keefe JH ,
  • Gheewala NM ,
  • Kastorini C-M ,
  • Milionis HJ ,
  • Esposito K ,
  • Giugliano D ,
  • Goudevenos JA ,
  • Panagiotakos DB
  • Teasdale SB ,
  • Köhler-Forsberg O ,
  • N Lydholm C ,
  • Hjorthøj C ,
  • Nordentoft M ,
  • Yahfoufi N ,
  • Borsini A ,
  • Horowitz MA ,
  • Kiecolt-Glaser JK ,
  • Fagundes CP ,
  • Andridge R ,
  • Osadchiy V ,
  • Martin CR ,
  • O’Brien C ,
  • Sonnenburg ED ,
  • Sonnenburg JL
  • Rampelli S ,
  • Jeffery IB ,
  • Tillisch K ,
  • Kilpatrick L ,
  • Walsh RFL ,
  • Wootton RE ,
  • Millard LAC ,
  • Jebeile H ,
  • Garnett SP ,
  • Paxton SJ ,
  • Brouwer IA ,
  • MooDFOOD Prevention Trial Investigators
  • Francis HM ,
  • Stevenson RJ ,
  • Chambers JR ,
  • Parletta N ,
  • Zarnowiecki D ,
  • Fischler C ,
  • Sarubin A ,
  • Wrzesniewski A
  • Harrington D ,

poor diet essay

Poor Nutrition

mother and daughter making healthy food

Measure Breastfeeding Practices and Eating Patterns

Support breastfeeding in the hospital and community, offer healthier food options in early care and education facilities and schools, offer healthier food options in the workplace, improve access to healthy foods in states and communities, support lifestyle change programs to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes risk.

Good nutrition is essential to keeping current and future generations healthy across the lifespan. A healthy diet helps children grow and develop properly and reduces their risk of chronic diseases. Adults who eat a healthy diet live longer and have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Healthy eating can help people with chronic diseases manage these conditions and avoid complications.

However, when healthy options are not available, people may settle for foods that are higher in calories and lower in nutritional value. People in low-income communities and some racial and ethnic groups often lack access to convenient places that offer affordable, healthier foods.

Most people in the United States don’t eat a healthy diet and consume too much sodium, saturated fat, and sugar, increasing their risk of chronic diseases. For example, fewer than 1 in 10 adolescents and adults eat enough fruits or vegetables. In addition, 6 in 10 young people aged 2 to 19 years and 5 in 10 adults consume at least one sugary drink  on any given day.

CDC supports breastfeeding and works to improve access to healthier food and drink choices in settings such as early care and education facilities, schools, worksites, and communities.

In the United States:

mother breastfeeding infant


are not exclusively breastfed for 6 months.

pizza, fries and canned food


consume too much sodium.

pregnant woman


have iron levels that are too low.



a year is spent on health care for obesity.

The Harmful Effects of Poor Nutrition

Overweight and obesity.

Eating a healthy diet, along with getting enough physical activity and sleep, can help children grow up healthy and prevent overweight and obesity. In the United States, 20% of young people aged 2 to 19 years and 42% of adults have obesity, which can put them at risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Nutritional food arranged into a heart

Two of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke . Current guidelines recommend getting less than 2,300 mg a day, but Americans consume more than 3,400 mg a day on average.

Over 70% of the sodium that Americans eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought, and restaurant foods. Eating foods low in saturated fats and high in fiber and increasing access to low-sodium foods, along with regular physical activity, can help prevent high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Type 2 Diabetes

People who are overweight or have obesity are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those at a healthybecause, over time, their bodies become less able to use the insulin they make. Of US adults, 96 million—more than 1 in 3—have  prediabetes , and more than 8 in 10 of them don’t know they have it. Although the rate of new cases has decreased in recent years, the number of adults with diagnosed diabetes has nearly doubled in the last 2 decades as the US population has increased, aged, and become more overweight.

An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of some cancers. Consuming unhealthy food and beverages, such as sugar-sweetened beverages and highly processed food, can lead to weight gain, obesity and other chronic conditions that put people at higher risk of at least 13 types of cancer, including endometrial (uterine) cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and colorectal cancer. The risk of colorectal cancer is also associated with eating red and processed meat.

CDC’s Work to Promote Good Nutrition

CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity  uses national and state surveys to track breastfeeding rates  and eating patterns  across the country, including fruit, vegetable, and added sugar consumption. The division also reports data on nutrition policies and practices  for each state. Data from these surveys  are used to understand trends in nutrition and differences between population groups.

CDC partners use this information to help support breastfeeding and encourage healthy eating  where people live, learn, work, and play, especially for populations at highest risk of chronic disease.

Mother breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for most infants. It can reduce the risk of some short-term health conditions for infants and long-term health conditions for infants and mothers. Maternity care practices in the first hours and days after birth can influence whether and how long infants are breastfed.

CDC funds programs that help hospitals use maternity care practices that support breastfeeding . These programs have helped increase the percentage of infants born in hospitals that implement recommended practices 1. CDC also works with partners to support programs designed to improve continuity of care and community support for breastfeeding mothers.

girl with a health lunch at school

Nearly 56 million US children spend time in early care and education (ECE) facilities or public schools. These settings can directly influence what children eat and drink and how active they are—and build a foundation for healthy habits.

CDC is helping our nation’s children grow up healthy and strong by:

  • Creating resources to help partners improve obesity prevention programs and use nutrition standards.
  • Investing in training and learning networks that help child care providers and state and local child care leaders meet standards and use and share best practices .
  • Providing technical assistance, such as training school staff how to buy, prepare, and serve fruits and vegetables or teach children how to grow and prepare fruits and vegetables.

The CDC Healthy Schools  program works with states, school systems, communities, and national partners to promote good nutrition . These efforts include publishing guidelines and tips on how schools and parents can model healthy behaviors and offer healthier school meals, smart snacks , and water access.

CDC also works with national groups to increase the number of salad bars  in schools. As of 2021, the Salad Bars to School program has delivered almost 6,000 salad bars to schools across the nation, giving over 2.9 million children and school staff better access to fruits and vegetables.

Millions of US adults buy foods and drinks while at work. CDC develops and promotes food service guidelines that encourage employers and vendors to increase healthy food options  for employees. CDC-funded programs are working to make healthy foods and drinks (including water) more available in cafeterias, snack shops, and vending machines. CDC also partners with states to help employers comply with the federal lactation accommodation law and provide breastfeeding mothers with places to pump and store breast milk, flexible work hours, and maternity leave benefits.

Mom and daughter grocery shopping

People living in low-income urban neighborhoods, rural areas, and tribal communities often have little access to affordable, healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. CDC’s State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program , High Obesity Program , and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program fund states and communities to improve food systems in these areas through food hubs, local stores, farmers’ markets, and bodegas.

These programs, which also involve food vendors and distributors, help increase the variety and number of healthier foods and drinks available and help promote and market these items to customers.

CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program  (National DPP) is a partnership of public and private organizations working to build a nationwide delivery system for a lifestyle change program proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in adults with prediabetes. Participants in the National DPP lifestyle change program learn to make healthy food choices, be more physically active, and find ways to cope with stress. These changes can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58% (71% for those over 60).


Get Email Updates

To receive email updates about this page, enter your email address:

Exit Notification / Disclaimer Policy

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
  • Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.
  • You will be subject to the destination website's privacy policy when you follow the link.
  • CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance (accessibility) on other federal or private website.
  • Share full article


Supported by

Our Food Is Killing Too Many of Us

Improving American nutrition would make the biggest impact on our health care.

poor diet essay

By Dariush Mozaffarian and Dan Glickman

Dr. Mozaffarian is dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Mr. Glickman was the secretary of agriculture from 1995 to 2001.

The Democratic debate on health care has to date centered around who should be covered and who should pay the bill. That debate, which has been going on for decades, has no clear answers and cannot be easily resolved because of two fundamental realities: Health care is expensive, and Americans are sick.

Americans benefit from highly trained personnel, remarkable facilities and access to the newest drugs and technologies. Unless we eliminate some of these benefits, our health care will remain costly. We can trim around the edges — for example, with changes in drug pricing, lower administrative costs, reductions in payments to hospitals and providers, and fewer defensive and unnecessary procedures. These actions may slow the rise in health care spending, but costs will keep rising as the population ages and technology advances.

And Americans are sick — much sicker than many realize. More than 100 million adults — almost half the entire adult population — have pre-diabetes or diabetes. Cardiovascular disease afflicts about 122 million people and causes roughly 840,000 deaths each year, or about 2,300 deaths each day . Three in four adults are overweight or obese . More Americans are sick, in other words, than are healthy.

Instead of debating who should pay for all this, no one is asking the far more simple and imperative question: What is making us so sick, and how can we reverse this so we need less health care? The answer is staring us in the face, on average three times a day: our food.

Poor diet is the leading cause of mortality in the United States, causing more than half a million deaths per year. Just 10 dietary factors are estimated to cause nearly 1,000 deaths every day from heart disease, stroke and diabetes alone. These conditions are dizzyingly expensive. Cardiovascular disease costs $351 billion annually in health care spending and lost productivity, while diabetes costs $327 billion annually. The total economic cost of obesity is estimated at $1.72 trillion per year , or 9.3 percent of gross domestic product.

These human and economic costs are leading drivers of ever-rising health care spending, strangled government budgets, diminished competitiveness of American business and reduced military readiness .

Fortunately, advances in nutrition science and policy now provide a road map for addressing this national nutrition crisis. The “ Food Is Medicine” solutions are win-win, promoting better well-being, lower health care costs, greater sustainability, reduced disparities among population groups, improved economic competitiveness and greater national security.

Some simple, measurable improvements can be made in several health and related areas. For example, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurers and hospitals should include nutrition in any electronic health record ; update medical training, licensing and continuing education guidelines to put an emphasis on nutrition ; offer patient prescription programs for healthy produce ; and, for the sickest patients, cover home-delivered, medically tailored meals . Just the last action, for example, can save a net $9,000 in health care costs per patient per year .

Taxes on sugary beverages and junk food can be paired with subsidies on protective foods like fruits, nuts, vegetables, beans, plant oils, whole grains, yogurt and fish. Emphasizing protective foods represents an important positive message for the public and food industry that celebrates and rewards good nutrition. Levels of harmful additives like sodium, added sugar and trans fat can be lowered through voluntary industry targets or regulatory safety standards .

Nutrition standards in schools, which have improved the quality of school meals by 41 percent, should be strengthened; the national Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program should be extended beyond elementary schools to middle and high schools; and school garden programs should be expanded. And the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which supports grocery purchases for nearly one in eight Americans, should be leveraged to help improve diet quality and health .

The private sector can also play a key role. Changes in shareholder criteria (e.g., B-Corps , in which a corporation can balance profit versus purpose with high social and environmental standards) and new investor coalitions should financially reward companies for tackling obesity, diabetes and other diet-related illness. Public-private partnerships should emphasize research and development on best agricultural and food-processing practices. All work sites should demand healthy food when negotiating with cafeteria vendors and include incentives for healthy eating in their wellness benefits.

Coordinated federal leadership and funding for research is also essential. This could include, for example, a new National Institute of Nutrition at the National Institutes of Health. Without such an effort, it could take many decades to understand and utilize exciting new areas, including related to food processing, the gut microbiome, allergies and autoimmune disorders, cancer, brain health, treatment of battlefield injuries and effects of nonnutritive sweeteners and personalized nutrition.

Government plays a crucial role . The significant impacts of the food system on well-being, health care spending, the economy and the environment — together with mounting public and industry awareness of these issues — have created an opportunity for government leaders to champion real solutions.

Yet with rare exceptions , the current presidential candidates are not being asked about these critical national issues. Every candidate should have a food platform, and every debate should explore these positions. A new emphasis on the problems and promise of nutrition to improve health and lower health care costs is long overdue for the presidential primary debates and should be prominent in the 2020 general election and the next administration.

Dariush Mozaffarian ( @Dmozaffarian ) is a cardiologist and dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy. Dan Glickman ( @DanRGlickman ) was the secretary of agriculture from 1995 to 2001.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram .

Poor Nutrition and its Effects on Learning

How it works

Nutrition is essential to human welfare, however, numerous number of people are badly affected by poor nutrition especially children. Malnutrition is a major concern which ranges from undernutrition to problems of overweight and obesity. It’s usually caused by deficiency in essential vitamins and nutrients needed for intellectual development and learning. The most critical stage for brain development is mainly from conception to the first 2 years of life. It’s highly important that pregnant mothers are given the necessary vitamins and nutrients required to enable the baby develop to its full potential.

Poverty plays a major role in lack of good nutrition and it’s a fundamental cause of malnutrition. Poverty-stricken families don’t have enough funds to spend on food. In most cases, their kids are sent to school without nutritional meal and are unable to concentrate in school.

According to Carlos Lee in his thesis,“Poverty, regardless of level, is robustly linked to reduced academic achievement. Students who live in poverty come to school every day without the proper tools for success. As a result, they are commonly behind their classmates physically, socially, emotionally or cognitively.” Some of the kids tend to become withdrawn or become aggressive towards their peers in school. For instance, a child going to school without have breakfast would make the child absent minded which would lead to lagging behind in class. Several measures has been put in place to eradicate poverty on the long run. However, some of the short term solutions include; Government should provide aids for parents in low-income families, it would enable them gain appropriate education, training, and working skills which would help them get better paid jobs. Also, social workers in schools should identify children from low income households and give them nutritious meals for free. It would help them develop mentally and physically. Another major problem of poor nutrition is caused by change in climate. It affects the society in several ways which includes human health, influences yield from crops, and in most cases alters rainfall that results in drought. For instance, When drought occurs, it leads to severe poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition. Alice Moyo, project manager for CRS’ vulnerable children programs stated, “Drought is very connected to education in many ways. To start with, there’s no food if there’s drought. Children concentrate less when they’re hungry, and also there’s a lot of running that takes place at school,” To solve this problem, the government should enforce policies on recycling waste water and desert landscaping to enable areas with drought get good clean water. Also, the government can use advanced transportation means to move water from areas where it rains to areas with drought. Lastly, Food insecurity can delay a child’s learning abilities if not attended to.

Research has shown that in the US, a considerable number of kids under the age of 5 live in households that lack adequate quality of food that is needed to improve healthy and energetic living. Anna Johnson, an assistant professor at Georgetown University declared, ‘In our study, food insecurity in infancy and toddlerhood predicted lower cognitive and social-emotional skills in kindergarten, skills that can predict later success in academics and life.’ To this end, it is imperative for the government to provide food pantry in each communities whereby low income families can fed at least twice a day. In conclusion, it is obvious that malnutrition has a major effect on the learning , most especially in third world countries whereby people are affected by poverty, climate change, and food insecurity. The government can do its bit in eradicating poverty but the onus still lies with the entire community who live among the poor to ensure that all the policies are implemented.


Cite this page

Poor Nutrition and Its Effects on Learning. (2022, Apr 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/poor-nutrition-and-its-effects-on-learning/

"Poor Nutrition and Its Effects on Learning." PapersOwl.com , 10 Apr 2022, https://papersowl.com/examples/poor-nutrition-and-its-effects-on-learning/

PapersOwl.com. (2022). Poor Nutrition and Its Effects on Learning . [Online]. Available at: https://papersowl.com/examples/poor-nutrition-and-its-effects-on-learning/ [Accessed: 6 May. 2024]

"Poor Nutrition and Its Effects on Learning." PapersOwl.com, Apr 10, 2022. Accessed May 6, 2024. https://papersowl.com/examples/poor-nutrition-and-its-effects-on-learning/

"Poor Nutrition and Its Effects on Learning," PapersOwl.com , 10-Apr-2022. [Online]. Available: https://papersowl.com/examples/poor-nutrition-and-its-effects-on-learning/. [Accessed: 6-May-2024]

PapersOwl.com. (2022). Poor Nutrition and Its Effects on Learning . [Online]. Available at: https://papersowl.com/examples/poor-nutrition-and-its-effects-on-learning/ [Accessed: 6-May-2024]

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Hire a writer to get a unique paper crafted to your needs.


Our writers will help you fix any mistakes and get an A+!

Please check your inbox.

You can order an original essay written according to your instructions.

Trusted by over 1 million students worldwide

1. Tell Us Your Requirements

2. Pick your perfect writer

3. Get Your Paper and Pay

Hi! I'm Amy, your personal assistant!

Don't know where to start? Give me your paper requirements and I connect you to an academic expert.

short deadlines

100% Plagiarism-Free

Certified writers

12.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth" by Lily Tran

Learning outcomes.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Analyze how writers use evidence in research writing.
  • Analyze the ways a writer incorporates sources into research writing, while retaining their own voice.
  • Explain the use of headings as organizational tools in research writing.
  • Analyze how writers use evidence to address counterarguments when writing a research essay.


In this argumentative research essay for a first-year composition class, student Lily Tran creates a solid, focused argument and supports it with researched evidence. Throughout the essay, she uses this evidence to support cause-and-effect and problem-solution reasoning, make strong appeals, and develop her ethos on the topic.

Living by Their Own Words

Food as change.

public domain text For the human race to have a sustainable future, massive changes in the way food is produced, processed, and distributed are necessary on a global scale. end public domain text

annotated text Purpose. Lily Tran refers to what she sees as the general purpose for writing this paper: the problem of current global practices in food production, processing, and distribution. By presenting the “problem,” she immediately prepares readers for her proposed solution. end annotated text

public domain text The required changes will affect nearly all aspects of life, including not only world hunger but also health and welfare, land use and habitats, water quality and availability, energy use and production, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, economics, and even cultural and social values. These changes may not be popular, but they are imperative. The human race must turn to sustainable food systems that provide healthy diets with minimal environmental impact—and starting now. end public domain text

annotated text Thesis. Leading up to this clear, declarative thesis statement are key points on which Tran will expand later. In doing this, she presents some foundational evidence that connects the problem to the proposed solution. end annotated text


public domain text The world population has been rising exponentially in modern history. From 1 billion in 1804, it doubled to approximately 2 billion by 1927, then doubled again to approximately 4 billion in 1974. By 2019, it had nearly doubled again, rising to 7.7 billion (“World Population by Year”). It has been projected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050 (Berners-Lee et al.). At the same time, the average life span also has been increasing. These situations have led to severe stress on the environment, particularly in the demands for food. It has been estimated, for example, that by 2050, milk production will increase 58 percent and meat production 73 percent (Chai et al.). end public domain text

annotated text Evidence. In this first supporting paragraph, Tran uses numerical evidence from several sources. This numerical data as evidence helps establish the projection of population growth. By beginning with such evidence, Tran underscores the severity of the situation. end annotated text

public domain text Theoretically, the planet can produce enough food for everyone, but human activities have endangered this capability through unsustainable practices. Currently, agriculture produces 10–23 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases—the most common being carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor— trap heat in the atmosphere, reradiate it, and send it back to Earth again. Heat trapped in the atmosphere is a problem because it causes unnatural global warming as well as air pollution, extreme weather conditions, and respiratory diseases. end public domain text

annotated text Audience. With her audience in mind, Tran briefly explains the problem of greenhouse gases and global warming. end annotated text

public domain text It has been estimated that global greenhouse gas emissions will increase by as much as 150 percent by 2030 (Chai et al.). Transportation also has a negative effect on the environment when foods are shipped around the world. As Joseph Poore of the University of Oxford commented, “It’s essential to be mindful about everything we consume: air-transported fruit and veg can create more greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram than poultry meat, for example” (qtd. in Gray). end public domain text

annotated text Transition. By beginning this paragraph with her own transition of ideas, Tran establishes control over the organization and development of ideas. Thus, she retains her sources as supports and does not allow them to dominate her essay. end annotated text

public domain text Current practices have affected the nutritional value of foods. Concentrated animal-feeding operations, intended to increase production, have had the side effect of decreasing nutritional content in animal protein and increasing saturated fat. One study found that an intensively raised chicken in 2017 contained only one-sixth of the amount of omega-3 fatty acid, an essential nutrient, that was in a chicken in 1970. Today the majority of calories in chicken come from fat rather than protein (World Wildlife Fund). end public domain text

annotated text Example. By focusing on an example (chicken), Tran uses specific research data to develop the nuance of the argument. end annotated text

public domain text Current policies such as government subsidies that divert food to biofuels are counterproductive to the goal of achieving adequate global nutrition. Some trade policies allow “dumping” of below-cost, subsidized foods on developing countries that should instead be enabled to protect their farmers and meet their own nutritional needs (Sierra Club). Too often, agriculture’s objectives are geared toward maximizing quantities produced per acre rather than optimizing output of critical nutritional needs and protection of the environment. end public domain text


Hunger and nutrition.

annotated text Headings and Subheadings. Throughout the essay, Tran has created headings and subheadings to help organize her argument and clarify it for readers. end annotated text

public domain text More than 820 million people around the world do not have enough to eat. At the same time, about a third of all grains and almost two-thirds of all soybeans, maize, and barley crops are fed to animals (Barnard). According to the World Health Organization, 462 million adults are underweight, 47 million children under 5 years of age are underweight for their height, 14.3 million are severely underweight for their height, and 144 million are stunted (“Malnutrition”). About 45 percent of mortality among children under 5 is linked to undernutrition. These deaths occur mainly in low- and middle-income countries where, in stark contrast, the rate of childhood obesity is rising. Globally, 1.9 billion adults and 38.3 million children are overweight or obese (“Obesity”). Undernutrition and obesity can be found in the same household, largely a result of eating energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars. The global impact of malnutrition, which includes both undernutrition and obesity, has lasting developmental, economic, social, and medical consequences. end public domain text

public domain text In 2019, Berners-Lee et al. published the results of their quantitative analysis of global and regional food supply. They determined that significant changes are needed on four fronts: end public domain text

Food production must be sufficient, in quantity and quality, to feed the global population without unacceptable environmental impacts. Food distribution must be sufficiently efficient so that a diverse range of foods containing adequate nutrition is available to all, again without unacceptable environmental impacts. Socio-economic conditions must be sufficiently equitable so that all consumers can access the quantity and range of foods needed for a healthy diet. Consumers need to be able to make informed and rational choices so that they consume a healthy and environmentally sustainable diet (10).

annotated text Block Quote. The writer has chosen to present important evidence as a direct quotation, using the correct format for direct quotations longer than four lines. See Section Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations for more information about block quotes. end annotated text

public domain text Among their findings, they singled out, in particular, the practice of using human-edible crops to produce meat, dairy, and fish for the human table. Currently 34 percent of human-edible crops are fed to animals, a practice that reduces calorie and protein supplies. They state in their report, “If society continues on a ‘business-as-usual’ dietary trajectory, a 119% increase in edible crops grown will be required by 2050” (1). Future food production and distribution must be transformed into systems that are nutritionally adequate, environmentally sound, and economically affordable. end public domain text

Land and Water Use

public domain text Agriculture occupies 40 percent of Earth’s ice-free land mass (Barnard). While the net area used for producing food has been fairly constant since the mid-20th century, the locations have shifted significantly. Temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Russia have lost agricultural land to other uses, while in the tropics, agricultural land has expanded, mainly as a result of clearing forests and burning biomass (Willett et al.). Seventy percent of the rainforest that has been cut down is being used to graze livestock (Münter). Agricultural use of water is of critical concern both quantitatively and qualitatively. Agriculture accounts for about 70 percent of freshwater use, making it “the world’s largest water-consuming sector” (Barnard). Meat, dairy, and egg production causes water pollution, as liquid wastes flow into rivers and to the ocean (World Wildlife Fund and Knorr Foods). According to the Hertwich et al., “the impacts related to these activities are unlikely to be reduced, but rather enhanced, in a business-as-usual scenario for the future” (13). end public domain text

annotated text Statistical Data. To develop her points related to land and water use, Tran presents specific statistical data throughout this section. Notice that she has chosen only the needed words of these key points to ensure that she controls the development of the supporting point and does not overuse borrowed source material. end annotated text

annotated text Defining Terms. Aware of her audience, Tran defines monocropping , a term that may be unfamiliar. end annotated text

public domain text Earth’s resources and ability to absorb pollution are limited, and many current agricultural practices undermine these capacities. Among these unsustainable practices are monocropping [growing a single crop year after year on the same land], concentrated animal-feeding operations, and overdependence on manufactured pesticides and fertilizers (Hamilton). Such practices deplete the soil, dramatically increase energy use, reduce pollinator populations, and lead to the collapse of resource supplies. One study found that producing one gram of beef for human consumption requires 42 times more land, 2 times more water, and 4 times more nitrogen than staple crops. It also creates 3 times more greenhouse gas emissions (Chai et al.). The EAT– Lancet Commission calls for “halting expansion of new agricultural land at the expense of natural ecosystems . . . strict protections on intact ecosystems, suspending concessions for logging in protected areas, or conversion of remaining intact ecosystems, particularly peatlands and forest areas” (Willett et al. 481). The Commission also calls for land-use zoning, regulations prohibiting land clearing, and incentives for protecting natural areas, including forests. end public domain text

annotated text Synthesis. The paragraphs above and below this comment show how Tran has synthesized content from several sources to help establish and reinforce key supports of her essay . end annotated text

Greenhouse Gas and Climate Change

public domain text Climate change is heavily affected by two factors: greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration. In nature, the two remain in balance; for example, most animals exhale carbon dioxide, and most plants capture carbon dioxide. Carbon is also captured, or sequestered, by soil and water, especially oceans, in what are called “sinks.” Human activities have skewed this balance over the past two centuries. The shift in land use, which exploits land, water, and fossil energy, has caused increased greenhouse-gas emissions, which in turn accelerate climate change. end public domain text

public domain text Global food systems are threatened by climate change because farmers depend on relatively stable climate systems to plan for production and harvest. Yet food production is responsible for up to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (Barnard). While soil can be a highly effective means of carbon sequestration, agricultural soils have lost much of their effectiveness from overgrazing, erosion, overuse of chemical fertilizer, and excess tilling. Hamilton reports that the world’s cultivated and grazed soils have lost 50 to 70 percent of their ability to accumulate and store carbon. As a result, “billions of tons of carbon have been released into the atmosphere.” end public domain text

annotated text Direct Quotation and Paraphrase. While Tran has paraphrased some content of this source borrowing, because of the specificity and impact of the number— “billions of tons of carbon”—she has chosen to use the author’s original words. As she has done elsewhere in the essay, she has indicated these as directly borrowed words by placing them within quotation marks. See Section 12.5 for more about paraphrasing. end annotated text

public domain text While carbon sequestration has been falling, greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing as a result of the production, transport, processing, storage, waste disposal, and other life stages of food production. Agriculture alone is responsible for fully 10 to 12 percent of global emissions, and that figure is estimated to rise by up to 150 percent of current levels by 2030 (Chai et al.). Münter reports that “more greenhouse gas emissions are produced by growing livestock for meat than all the planes, trains, ships, cars, trucks, and all forms of fossil fuel-based transportation combined” (5). Additional greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxide, are produced by the decomposition of organic wastes. Methane has 25 times and nitrous oxide has nearly 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide (Curnow). Agricultural and food production systems must be reformed to shift agriculture from greenhouse gas source to sink. end public domain text

Social and Cultural Values

public domain text As the Sierra Club has pointed out, agriculture is inherently cultural: all systems of food production have “the capacity to generate . . . economic benefits and ecological capital” as well as “a sense of meaning and connection to natural resources.” Yet this connection is more evident in some cultures and less so in others. Wealthy countries built on a consumer culture emphasize excess consumption. One result of this attitude is that in 2014, Americans discarded the equivalent of $165 billion worth of food. Much of this waste ended up rotting in landfills, comprised the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste, and contributed a substantial portion of U.S. methane emissions (Sierra Club). In low- and middle-income countries, food waste tends to occur in early production stages because of poor scheduling of harvests, improper handling of produce, or lack of market access (Willett et al.). The recent “America First” philosophy has encouraged prioritizing the economic welfare of one nation to the detriment of global welfare and sustainability. end public domain text

annotated text Synthesis and Response to Claims. Here, as in subsequent sections, while still relying heavily on facts and content from borrowed sources, Tran provides her synthesized understanding of the information by responding to key points. end annotated text

public domain text In response to claims that a vegetarian diet is a necessary component of sustainable food production and consumption, Lusk and Norwood determined the importance of meat in a consumer’s diet. Their study indicated that meat is the most valuable food category to consumers, and “humans derive great pleasure from consuming beef, pork, and poultry” (120). Currently only 4 percent of Americans are vegetarians, and it would be difficult to convince consumers to change their eating habits. Purdy adds “there’s the issue of philosophy. A lot of vegans aren’t in the business of avoiding animal products for the sake of land sustainability. Many would prefer to just leave animal husbandry out of food altogether.” end public domain text

public domain text At the same time, consumers expect ready availability of the foods they desire, regardless of health implications or sustainability of sources. Unhealthy and unsustainable foods are heavily marketed. Out-of-season produce is imported year-round, increasing carbon emissions from air transportation. Highly processed and packaged convenience foods are nutritionally inferior and waste both energy and packaging materials. Serving sizes are larger than necessary, contributing to overconsumption and obesity. Snack food vending machines are ubiquitous in schools and public buildings. What is needed is a widespread attitude shift toward reducing waste, choosing local fruits and vegetables that are in season, and paying attention to how foods are grown and transported. end public domain text

annotated text Thesis Restated. Restating her thesis, Tran ends this section by advocating for a change in attitude to bring about sustainability. end annotated text


annotated text Counterclaims . Tran uses equally strong research to present the counterargument. Presenting both sides by addressing objections is important in constructing a clear, well-reasoned argument. Writers should use as much rigor in finding research-based evidence to counter the opposition as they do to develop their argument. end annotated text

public domain text Transformation of the food production system faces resistance for a number of reasons, most of which dispute the need for plant-based diets. Historically, meat has been considered integral to athletes’ diets and thus has caused many consumers to believe meat is necessary for a healthy diet. Lynch et al. examined the impact of plant-based diets on human physical health, environmental sustainability, and exercise performance capacity. The results show “it is unlikely that plant-based diets provide advantages, but do not suffer from disadvantages, compared to omnivorous diets for strength, anaerobic, or aerobic exercise performance” (1). end public domain text

public domain text A second objection addresses the claim that land use for animal-based food production contributes to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and is inefficient in terms of nutrient delivery. Berners-Lee et al. point out that animal nutrition from grass, pasture, and silage comes partially from land that cannot be used for other purposes, such as producing food directly edible by humans or for other ecosystem services such as biofuel production. Consequently, nutritional losses from such land use do not fully translate into losses of human-available nutrients (3). end public domain text

annotated text Paraphrase. Tran has paraphrased the information as support. Though she still cites the source, she has changed the words to her own, most likely to condense a larger amount of original text or to make it more accessible. end annotated text

public domain text While this objection may be correct, it does not address the fact that natural carbon sinks are being destroyed to increase agricultural land and, therefore, increase greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. end public domain text

public domain text Another significant dissenting opinion is that transforming food production will place hardships on farmers and others employed in the food industry. Farmers and ranchers make a major investment in their own operations. At the same time, they support jobs in related industries, as consumers of farm machinery, customers at local businesses, and suppliers for other industries such as food processing (Schulz). Sparks reports that “livestock farmers are being unfairly ‘demonized’ by vegans and environmental advocates” and argues that while farming includes both costs and benefits, the costs receive much more attention than the benefits. end public domain text


public domain text The EAT– Lancet Commission calls for a transformation in the global food system, implementing different core processes and feedback. This transformation will not happen unless there is “widespread, multi-sector, multilevel action to change what food is eaten, how it is produced, and its effects on the environment and health, while providing healthy diets for the global population” (Willett et al. 476). System changes will require global efforts coordinated across all levels and will require governments, the private sector, and civil society to share a common vision and goals. Scientific modeling indicates 10 billion people could indeed be fed a healthy and sustainable diet. end public domain text

annotated text Conclusion. While still using research-based sources as evidence in the concluding section, Tran finishes with her own words, restating her thesis. end annotated text

public domain text For the human race to have a sustainable future, massive changes in the way food is produced, processed, and distributed are necessary on a global scale. The required changes will affect nearly all aspects of life, including not only world hunger but also health and welfare, land use and habitats, water quality and availability, energy use and production, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, economics, and even cultural and social values. These changes may not be popular, but they are imperative. They are also achievable. The human race must turn to sustainable food systems that provide healthy diets with minimal environmental impact, starting now. end public domain text

annotated text Sources. Note two important aspects of the sources chosen: 1) They represent a range of perspectives, and 2) They are all quite current. When exploring a contemporary topic, it is important to avoid research that is out of date. end annotated text

Works Cited

Barnard, Neal. “How Eating More Plants Can Save Lives and the Planet.” Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine , 24 Jan. 2019, www.pcrm.org/news/blog/how-eating-more-plants-can-save-lives-and-planet. Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Berners-Lee, M., et al. “Current Global Food Production Is Sufficient to Meet Human Nutritional Needs in 2050 Provided There Is Radical Societal Adaptation.” Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene , vol. 6, no. 52, 2018, doi:10.1525/elementa.310. Accessed 7 Dec. 2020.

Chai, Bingli Clark, et al. “Which Diet Has the Least Environmental Impact on Our Planet? A Systematic Review of Vegan, Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diets.” Sustainability , vol. 11, no. 15, 2019, doi: underline 10.3390/su11154110 end underline . Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Curnow, Mandy. “Managing Manure to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” Government of Western Australia, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, 2 Nov. 2020, www.agric.wa.gov.au/climate-change/managing-manure-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions. Accessed 9 Dec. 2020.

Gray, Richard. “Why the Vegan Diet Is Not Always Green.” BBC , 13 Feb. 2020, www.bbc.com/future/article/20200211-why-the-vegan-diet-is-not-always-green. Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Hamilton, Bruce. “Food and Our Climate.” Sierra Club, 2014, www.sierraclub.org/compass/2014/10/food-and-our-climate. Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Hertwich. Edgar G., et al. Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production. United Nations Environment Programme, 2010, www.resourcepanel.org/reports/assessing-environmental-impacts-consumption-and-production.

Lusk, Jayson L., and F. Bailey Norwood. “Some Economic Benefits and Costs of Vegetarianism.” Agricultural and Resource Economics Review , vol. 38, no. 2, 2009, pp. 109-24, doi: 10.1017/S1068280500003142. Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Lynch Heidi, et al. “Plant-Based Diets: Considerations for Environmental Impact, Protein Quality, and Exercise Performance.” Nutrients, vol. 10, no. 12, 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10121841. Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Münter, Leilani. “Why a Plant-Based Diet Will Save the World.” Health and the Environment. Disruptive Women in Health Care & the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2012, archive.epa.gov/womenandgirls/web/pdf/1016healththeenvironmentebook.pdf.

Purdy, Chase. “Being Vegan Isn’t as Good for Humanity as You Think.” Quartz , 4 Aug. 2016, qz.com/749443/being-vegan-isnt-as-environmentally-friendly-as-you-think/. Accessed 7 Dec. 2020.

Schulz, Lee. “Would a Sudden Loss of the Meat and Dairy Industry, and All the Ripple Effects, Destroy the Economy?” Iowa State U Department of Economics, www.econ.iastate.edu/node/691. Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Sierra Club. “Agriculture and Food.” Sierra Club, 28 Feb. 2015, www.sierraclub.org/policy/agriculture/food. Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Sparks, Hannah. “Veganism Won’t Save the World from Environmental Ruin, Researchers Warn.” New York Post , 29 Nov. 2019, nypost.com/2019/11/29/veganism-wont-save-the-world-from-environmental-ruin-researchers-warn/. Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

Willett, Walter, et al. “Food in the Anthropocene: The EAT– Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems.” The Lancet, vol. 393, no. 10170, 2019. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31788-4. Accessed 6 Dec. 2020.

World Health Organization. “Malnutrition.” World Health Organization, 1 Apr. 2020, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malnutrition. Accessed 8 Dec. 2020.

World Health Organization. “Obesity and Overweight.” World Health Organization, 1 Apr. 2020, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight. Accessed 8 Dec. 2020.

World Wildlife Fund. Appetite for Destruction: Summary Report. World Wildlife Fund, 2017, www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2017-10/WWF_AppetiteForDestruction_Summary_Report_SignOff.pdf.

World Wildlife Fund and Knorr Foods. Future Fifty Foods. World Wildlife Fund, 2019, www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-02/Knorr_Future_50_Report_FINAL_Online.pdf.

“World Population by Year.” Worldometer , www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-by-year/. Accessed 8 Dec. 2020.

Discussion Questions

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/writing-guide/pages/1-unit-introduction
  • Authors: Michelle Bachelor Robinson, Maria Jerskey, featuring Toby Fulwiler
  • Publisher/website: OpenStax
  • Book title: Writing Guide with Handbook
  • Publication date: Dec 21, 2021
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Book URL: https://openstax.org/books/writing-guide/pages/1-unit-introduction
  • Section URL: https://openstax.org/books/writing-guide/pages/12-4-annotated-student-sample-healthy-diets-from-sustainable-sources-can-save-the-earth-by-lily-tran

© Dec 19, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.

155 Diet Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best diet topic ideas & essay examples, 💡 most interesting diet topics to write about, 🎓 good research topics about diet, ⭐ simple & easy diet essay titles.

  • Perfect Diet for a Women’s College Basketball Player Due to their complexity, proteins take a while in the body and that means that a lot of energy will be kept in the body only to be released at intervals when the body needs […]
  • The Egyptian Diet: Sociology of Food and Nutrition This paper compares and contrasts the concept of food and the culinary practices of the Indian and Egyptian cultures and their effect on the health outcomes of the people. We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • Vegan vs. Vegetarian Diets: Impacts on Health However, vegetarians have the option of consuming animal products like eggs and milk, but this option is not available to vegans; vegetarians tend to avoid the intake of all the animal proteins.
  • Can Vegetarian Diets Be Healthy? The analysis of the effectiveness of such a nutritional principle for the body can confirm, or, on the contrary, refute the theory about the advantages of vegetarianism and its beneficial effect on body functions.
  • The Gluten-Free Diet: Advantages and Disadvantages The research aims to address the advantages and disadvantages of the gluten-free diet. Therefore, gluten-free food substances will enable the individual with celiac disease to regain weight and eliminate nutritional deficiencies.
  • How Can Societal Marketing Concept Be Used to Influence Children to Eat a Healthier Diet? Parents and other interested groups have a responsibility in ensuring that societal marketing is done as claimed by the food marketers and that those that are not doing so are pressured to adopt better promotion […]
  • Impact of Food on Human Health and the Content of Diet People who are living in cities never get the chance to taste catfish so they even say that catfish is used by the people of low status.
  • The Differences in Diet Between Chinese and Western People The paper presents the major aspects of Chinese and Western diets and reflects on them, discussing individuals’ needs and wants, the question of opportunity costs, and supply-demand concept.
  • Importance of Health Diet for Modern Person I found that this project was valuable not just in terms of my health but also in terms of the additional knowledge it provided me with to help me establish and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
  • Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Healthier Diet The first and foremost is that a vegetarian diet is one of the best weapons that can be used against overweight and obesity.
  • How a Book, Healthy Diet and Exercise Changed My Life Before I read the book, my lifestyle was far from healthy; mostly due to the lack of interest in sports and the fact that I spent almost all my time sitting.
  • Comprehensive Analysis of Diet As the functions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fat are crucial for organism operation, it is necessary to control its number in food.
  • Diets and Climate Change Thus, changing the diet is a feasible method to address the problem of climate change. One of the ways I try to minimize my environmental impact is to eat less meat.
  • Brand Overview: Diet Coke One of such drinks is Diet Coke, a product of the Coca-Cola Company, the leading soft drink maker in the world.
  • Avoiding the Use of Diet Pills Side effects of diet pills are unknown and rarely mentioned because they would harm the reputation of the pills that need to be promoted.
  • Schools and Good Diet On the other hand, there is need for schools to include in their menus healthy diets, because it will be of no significance for schools to eliminate eateries that sale junk foods while maintaining their […]
  • Good Nutrition and Balanced Diet This could be due to the fact that vitamin D is important in the transmission of messages between the brain and the body.
  • Atkins Diet: Pros and Cons In this regard, it is possible to conclude that Atkins diet partially meets the requirement of moderation. It is possible to conclude that Atkins diet may only partially suit the criterion of variety.
  • The Effects of Capitalism on People’s Diet Food capitalism has brought about new changes in the human diet and has changed the nutritional value of foods eaten by human beings.
  • Vegan Parents’ Influence on Their Children’s Diet The first reason why a vegan diet should not be imposed on children is that every parent should pay close attention to the needs of their toddlers.
  • Human Diet and Its Historical Background The peculiarities of the human diet derive from our history and evolution, in which we acquired eating habits, and the structure of the teeth and digestive apparatus gradually changed.
  • “Scientific” Assertions on the Paleo Diet Warinner in the TEDx Talks has explained the fact that people are being skeptical about the consumption of meat and showed how accurate the assertion regarding the influence of dairy on humans is.
  • Reducing Hyperlipidemia in Adults with Diet and Exercise The causes of this condition are due to changes in people’s diets combined with a lack of physical activity, which leads to a decrease in public health.
  • Anthropology: Pre-Agriculture Diet The assumed advantage of consuming human flesh in the prehistoric era might be the satisfaction of the cultural and ritual needs of the people, as well as a means of their survival in turbulent times.
  • Effects of Plant-Based Diet on Human Body The surgeon supports the intake of plant-based foods since the practice has the potential to reverse most of the symptoms associated with heart disease.
  • The Need for Protein in a Diet For older individuals who consume less protein the protein synthesis of their muscle protein is increased by resistance training. To improve muscle function and mass, boost protein consumption in older adults who consume insufficient amounts […]
  • Adding Molasses in the Dairy Cow Diet Nonetheless, there is limited evidence to indicate how adding sugar in the form of molasses in the dairy cow diet improves the cow’s rumen fermentation and fiber digestion.
  • Analyzing Personal Diet and Intake Pattern The second and fourth days have a higher intake of fats and proteins because meat and flour were the main items on the menu during the day.
  • Low-Carb Diets and Their Crucial Benefits Low-carb diets are the replacement for a high carbs diet which is mainly composed of carbohydrates. The effect of low-carb foods is tremendous and ensures that other nutrients are included in the diet.
  • The Aspects of the Ketogenic Diet The claim behind the ketogenic diet is that it is beneficial to one’s health because it is low in carbohydrates and rich in fat.
  • Aspects of the Ketogenic Diet: Pros and Cons The given evaluation will mainly focus on the weight loss claim to ensure the precision and specificity of the assessment. The reviewer is a Master of Science and a Registered Dietitian, which is why her […]
  • Colorectal Cancer: Promoting a Healthy Diet The aims and goals were to analyze the goals, techniques of solution, and outcomes of particular research and enhance knowledge about the topic area based on a review of freshly released data. I would also […]
  • Promoting Sustainability and Diet Quality The aim of the proposed qualitative research is to identify the causes of food waste to subsequently make recommendations regarding population education and assess the factors associated with sustainability and diet quality. Identifying the main […]
  • Analysis of Health Diet Benefits While there is a variety of weekly planned diets accessible on the Internet, I made an effort to monitor what I ate during the past week and see what adjustments my nutrition needs.
  • A Healthy Diet: Influencing Factors and Culture Diets are a valuable method to assist individuals in their needs, be it health problems, lack of income, or personal beliefs, as in the case of vegans or religious restrictions.
  • Diet Quality and Late Childhood Development The analytics of the children with low diet quality brain functioning shows the regression leading to the mental health deviation. Thus, the dieting quality is an essential factor in developing the physical and psychological health […]
  • School-Based Diet and Nutrition Focused Behavioral Change Intervention in Bangladesh Moreover, the use of this method in a school setting in Bangladesh may be effective since it will be directly based on the opinion of the public.
  • The Impact of Vegan and Vegetarian Diets on Diabetes Vegetarian diets are popular for a variety of reasons; according to the National Health Interview Survey in the United States, about 2% of the population reported following a vegetarian dietary pattern for health reasons in […]
  • Trends in Food Sources and Diet Quality Among US Children and Adults Liu et al.conducted a case study to examine food sources and diet quality trends among US children and adults. The results also revealed that restaurants had a worse percentage of poor diet in children and […]
  • Very-Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet and Kidney Failure Thus, the purpose of the study was to assess the effect of VLCKD on health outcomes and kidney function in patients with mild kidney failure.
  • Nutritional Teaching Plan for a Protein Restricted Diet Therefore, the patient can be encouraged to use herbs such as garlic and turmeric in their rice dishes to ensure that the food is relatable, ideal, and of high nutritional value to substitute the unhealthy […]
  • Importance of Healthy Diet for Immunity Proteins are vital in the diet in that they are the construction blocks of a lifetime; each cell in the human body comprises protein.
  • Diets to Prevent Heart Disease, Cancer, and Diabetes In order to prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, people are required to adhere to strict routines, including in terms of diet. Additionally, people wanting to prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes also need to […]
  • Mediterranean Diet: Recipes and Marketing The growing trend to adopt healthy eating habits due to the pandemic has led people to embrace the Mediterranean diet due to its simplicity in preparing and the easy availability of ingredients.
  • Social Media Campaign: Awareness of Healthy Diets The social media campaign aims to increase awareness of healthy diets among high-risk obese teenagers in Georgia’s African American and Latina communities.
  • The Issue of Western Diets for Human Health Fleming investigates the impact of the western diet and analyzes the existing psychological and physiological outcomes. Therefore, the study proves the negative effects of the western diet and prepares the reader to find out the […]
  • The Role of Genetics and Diet of Acne in Teenagers It is significant that the number of relapses, the duration of the course of therapy, and the increase in the number of patients with moderate and severe forms of acne directly depend on the adherence […]
  • Ketogenic Diet: Potential Health Benefits and Risks The diet originated from the culture of ancient Greek and ancient Indian where physicians adopted the role of fasting and alteration of diet for disease treatment.
  • Keto and Gluten Free Diet Nutrition Essays The point of this approach is to place the body in a particular state, ketosis, in which it is forced to use a different type of fuel and not the usual glucose.
  • Diet and Physical Exercise in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Management Experiments were conducted in some of the articles to determine the effective implementations in the management of PCOS. The two approaches of management produce the best outcomes when combined in the treatment and prevention of […]
  • Proper Nutrition and Balanced Diet in Nursing Practice The first campaign is wooing more volunteers to come and help the community reach its goals of having a good public health status.
  • “Escape from the Western Diet” by Michael Pollan In the end, these two points of view disprove Pollan’s theory in terms of its usefulness in the real world. In my opinion, we should follow Maxfield’s principle to appreciate food instead of limiting ourselves […]
  • A Healthy Lifestyle and a Well Balanced Diet My high inspiration and the ability to work individually and in a team is a traits that can be well-implemented in this sphere of work.
  • Changing the Daily Diet as an Intervention The interest in vegan and vegetarian alternatives is becoming more and more prominent with the passage of time, due to a variety of factors.
  • Sports Nutrition: High-Protein Diet for Athletes Therefore, the necessity to conduct research on the issue of harmfulness and usefulness of a high-protein diet for female and male people, who are engaged in sports activities professionally, is evident.
  • Various Approaches to Diet: Review The theories, which seem to be of particular concern, include the macrobiotic diet, the theory of Ayurveda, the Okinawan eating practice and the caveman diet.
  • Mediterranean Diet Affects Risk of Stroke The research question is as follows: “How does awareness of risk factors among the Nairobi population affect the prevention and development of cardiovascular diseases?” The study conducted by El-Hajj et al.will be used in terms […]
  • Ketogenic Diet: Overview In order to prevent unnecessary health issues and achieve the desired effect, nutritionists offer patients to use the rules of the popular ketogenic diet.
  • Nutritional Science: Diets Overview A low-glycemic diet is based on the principles of the glycemic response and glycemic index of foods in nutritional science. It is solid fat such as saturated and trans fats that are negative from the […]
  • Steps in Ensuring a Healthy Diet in College During their first year in college, many college students suffer from freshman 15 or a considerable gain in weight due to such factors as changes in food, diet patterns, stress and sedentary lifestyle.
  • Diet and Medication for Anemic Pregnant Women It will highlight intervention strategies intended to lessen the anemia among pregnant women with special emphasis on the dependant and independent variables The development of the maternal environment is a complicated process that involves a […]
  • Diet and Nutrition: Mr. Begums’ Meal Plan The reason is that the BMI indicates a figure that is outside healthy brackets. In addition, it is important to mention that his meal plan consists of high lipoproteins and cholesterol.
  • A Healthy Diet While Attending College It is however recommended that to derive the full breakfast meals benefits, the breakfast meal should have proteins, carbohydrates, and a bit of fat.
  • Effects of Diet and Physical Activity on Weight Loss and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Severely Obese Adults The study wanted to establish whether the outcomes of the African American people differed from those of white people. In addition, the human ethics committee of the university evaluated and endorsed the study.
  • Obesity Diet: Low Carbohydrates Consumption and High Proteins Consumption A different study that aimed to bring some light to the issue of the most desirable diet for an obese patient recommended the consumption of the liquid diet.
  • Pros and Cons of the New Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Diet Programme It must also be noted that such a restrictive diet is not recommended at all for active individuals due to the problems it presents in terms of fatigue, drowsiness, a distinct lack of energy, and […]
  • Cardiovascular Diet Review Forty five minutes of reasonable bodily action every day may be satisfactory to increase fitness of the heart and lungs which later diminishes risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Heart Disease and Low Carbohydrate Diets My opinion about the connection between heart diseases and low-carb diets is based on the article written by Sacks and his team for the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2014 where the authors […]
  • Unhealthy Fad Diets: Fact or Hoax Many of them can in reality undermine the person’s health and cause a physical imbalance in the organism, not to mention the mental frustration when the lost weight comes back.
  • Consuming Chocolate in a Nutritious Diet The nutritional content of chocolate highly depends on its recipe; as natural dark chocolate differs from the majority of chocolate bars we buy in the supermarkets a lot. The main reason to include chocolate in […]
  • Diet Therapy & Cardiovascular Disease The authors have attributed the increase to “the combined effect of population growth, the aging of populations, and epidemiologic changes in cardiovascular disease”.
  • The Dash Diet and Insulin Sensitivity by Hinderliter et al. The investigators have used the introduction section to contextualize the problem within the framework of the existing knowledge. The authors included the aspects of weight loss and exercise in the study because the baseline research […]
  • Ketogenic Diets: Carbohydrate Count This literature review explores carbohydrate count by focusing on ketogenic diets because of the increased interest in the topic in the recent years as an intervention for obesity and overweight management.
  • Analysis of the Diet and Recommendations for Better Nutrition Because of the necessity to take not only the type of food consumed but also the daily intake of calories, one must carry out a vast analysis of the meals eaten in the course of […]
  • Health Education: Choosing a Proper Diet Though the authors needed to consider a range of factors, particularly, the environment that creates the premises for cancer development, the properties of a range of meals, etc, they have managed to come up with […]
  • Multiple Sclerosis: Use of “Best Diet” The second aspect of the process involves taking large quantities of minerals, vitamins and herbal supplements in the diet. In these patients, the wall of the gastrointestinal tract is affected to an extent that it […]
  • Ketogenic Diets and It Uses for Epilepsy Management in Children The ketogenic diet was composed of high fat and low carbohydrate in the ratio of 4:1. The efficacy of the ketogenic diet on seizure was 51.
  • Can Energy-Restricted Diets Help in Controlling Obesity? The results showed a considerable reduction in the waist size of the participating women. In addition to the weight loss, it was also noticed that the women showed fewer indications of cardiovascular diseases and breast […]
  • Diet and Digestive Modification The building blocks for protein are amino acids, whose structure is in the form of long chains. They are therefore absorbed in the form of amino acids, which are small and simple molecules.
  • Health Benefits of Probiotic Yogurt Diet In the first place, it is necessary to note that Activia is claimed to be effective due to the great number of probiotics which are regarded as important bacteria for preventing gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Diet During Pregnancy and Children’s Dietary Preferences The researchers published the study in the Journal of Developmental Psychobiology. Therefore, the study suggests that the prenatal environment has the potential of triggering the chemosensory stimuli of fetuses.
  • Diet, Physical Activity and Lifestyle in the Elderly The life expectancy was shorter prior to the onset of research and studies that opened a floodgate to medical cures increasing health and extending life.
  • Diabetic Diet and Food Restrictions Diabetes is a disease caused by the inability of the body to control blood sugar because of the lack or inadequate production of insulin by the B cells of the pancreas.
  • The Diet and Nutrition Research It is therefore in the hallmark of this understanding that the author of this report engenders to account for the findings that came up upon a study on two individuals, who for confidentiality purposes were […]
  • Diet and Water as an Overlooked Essential Nutrient Water is a very important nutrient in the body because it maintains homeostasis, and enhances the transport of other nutrients and minerals from their point of absorption to other parts of the body.
  • Diarrhea: Nutrition and Diet Therapy Diarrhea can be treated a number of ways. Nutrition therapy can also be used for treatment of diarrhea.
  • The 40-30-30 Diet Overview The theory was developed in the contradiction to the popular diets of the 90-ies, which approved of low fat intake. Sears rejects the idea of necessity to limit the consumption of the products of a […]
  • Sport-Specific Nutrition: Diet for Adam Nevertheless, it is the constant loss of weight in Adam’s case, which implies that the energy expenditures exceed the energy intake, causing the loss of weight over the period of six months.
  • Fad Diets and Fat Burners Versus Eating Right and Exercising for Results A fad diet basically advocates the intake of macronutrients in a particular proportion or the intake or avoidance of specific foods with the intention of losing weight.
  • Dietetics Care Plan: Gluten-Free Diet Since the diagnosis, Emily has been recommended a gluten-free diet, which she is trying to stick to. Another option for Emily is to call the manufacturer and ask for the gluten-free products, this can save […]
  • Analysis of Low Carb and High-Fat Diets Before adopting a diet and deciding upon adapting one’s lifestyle in accordance to a specific diet, it is necessary to evaluate the amount of commitment that one is willing to give to the diet. One […]
  • Different Types of Diets and Children’s ADHD Treatment The last factor is a trigger that can lead to the development of a child’s genes’ reaction. Thus, diet is one of the factors that can help prevent the development of ADHD.
  • Pros and Cons of Different Diets Consequently, the body uses up the ketone bodies for the generation of energy in a process that translates to increased efficiency in the burning of fats.
  • Menopause: Medical Problems, Treatments, and a Suggested Diet Here are the most frequent medical problems that prohibit usage of this treatment: One of the common risks is a chance of breast, endometrial, and other hormone-dependent cancers.
  • Is the Sirtfood Diet Effective? There is little evidence to confirm the efficiency of the sirtfood diet. Another downside to the sirtfood diet is the lack of sustainability.
  • The Coffee Diet: Cut Appetite, Burn Fat, and Boost Metabolism The purpose of this paper is to discuss whether the coffee diet is applicable in most cases and express a personal opinion.
  • Understanding and Adherence to a Renal Diet After Kidney Transplantation The key goals of such an education are to develop lasting and strong knowledge and to provide the support that enhances adherence.
  • Paleo Fad Diet: Advantages and Disadvantages This results in both causing the discussed diet to enjoy the reputation of being ‘tasty’, on one hand, and showing that its provisions are continually updated to correlate with the latest discoveries in the field […]
  • Protein Requirements in the Atkins 20 Diet The Atkins 20 diet is useful in the shedding of weight in the short term. The advantages of a high-protein diet are that it contains adequate proteins to meet the needs of people with high […]
  • Healthy Nutrition: Low-Fat vs. Low-Carb Diet The next step of the research is based on surveying people and health specialists on the matters of eating habits and patterns associated with the consumption and usefulness of fats and carbs in the everyday […]
  • Current and Ideal Diet Habits for Health For me to improve my exercise habits, I would first need to appreciate the importance of physical exercise in promoting my health and wellbeing.
  • A Balanced Diet: Definition and Examples Often, this feature of a person’s life is not given the same focus as what is taken in to nourish the body, and yet it is a key component to one’s mental and emotional health.
  • Ecological Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet The final level of the food sequence is carried out by organisms that help in the decomposition of the primary; secondary; and tertiary organisms back to the food flow by acting as nutrients and manure […]
  • Right Diet as the Most Important Aspects of Good Life The obese people eat a lot of fat in their diet and the fat is mainly because of the junk food that they eat.
  • Fad Diets: Term Definition And millions of people are now being lured into various fad diets and their promises for miracle cures but which are nevertheless doomed to fail because they too, restrict foods that are nutritionally very essential […]
  • Diet Pills and Government Control Companies that are in the field of diet pills do not tell the consumers of the side effects and consequences that the usage of these drugs may expose them to.
  • Breast Cancer and the Effects of Diet The information in noted clause is only a part of results of the researches spent in the field of the analysis of influence of a diet on a risk level of disease in cancer.
  • College and University Program: Diet and Exercise This proposal for this program is as a result of careful observation of health behaviors among the citizens of Illinois and in particular the aged living at Warren Township.
  • Cardiovascular Diseases: Statistics, Factors, Diets Some of the most highlighted diet-related information highlighted in this paper is the roles played by the dietary fats (saturated fat, MUFA, PUFA, trans-fat, carbohydrates, dietary Fibres, anti-oxidants, and much more in the prevention of […]
  • Low-Carb Diets as a Cause of Premature Death There are various claims and misconceptions in the field of nutrition due to the fact that it is highly difficult to identify the core influencing factors.
  • Vegetarian Diet and Proper Amount of Vitamins Issue This difference was accounted for by 14% lower zinc levels in the vegetarian diet and 21% less efficient absorption of zinc while eating it.
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid for Diet and Health CLA is a conjugated system, and in the United States, trans linkages in a conjugated system are not counted as trans fat for the purposes of nutritional regulations and labeling.
  • Personal Diet and Physical Activity Assessment I try to avoid snacking, and in case I skip a meal, I prefer to wait for the next one instead of snacking.
  • Extending Existing Knowledge in the Area of Schools Foods and Their Influence on Children’s Diets One of the major limitations to the recent research on the matter is the lack of longitudinal studies regarding the outcomes of school-based projects that persist in participants’ adulthood.
  • Can a Plant-Based Diet Improve Earth? One of the acutest problems of modern humanity, affecting the question of its successful development in the future, is the need to preserve the ecosystem and resources of the planet.
  • Preoperative Diets Implementation for Adult Patients Diets that may be offered to preoperative patients can vary, and the investigations of Mackie show that a liquid diet is one of the most terrifying for patients.
  • Popular Diets: The Ketogenic Diet The diet is based on the principle of ketosis, which is a metabolic process of burning stored fats when there is a lack of glucose.
  • Proteins, Fats, and Carbohydrates in Diets I, for one, think that none of the listed elements is the essential one: proteins might be the building blocks for our bodies, but fats and carbohydrates are the fuels.
  • Healthy Nutrition and Unhealthy Diets The lack of necessary vitamins and substances that are usually found in plants also is a danger, forcing users of the diet to employ food supplements.
  • Diet and Lifestyle of Italians Eating habits of the Italian people involve a variety of food groups, most of which contain a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fat, minerals, vitamins, and water.
  • Ambition Diabetes and Diet on Macbeths’ Example The man kills his kinsman, Duncan, because he wants to be a king but understands that he is suspected of this crime.
  • Rice as a Part of a Healthy Diet Scholars all around the world recognize rice as one of the most important nutritional crops; it is an important dietary product that serves as the source of the major portion of the daily calories of […]
  • Food Choices: Diets and Diseases In addition, there is stress on the liver and kidneys and increases the risk of cancer. Any type of meat is mostly the muscle of animals, high in fat, protein, and cholesterol.
  • Oat Chocolate Cookies Recipe for Weight Loss Diet The association of cookies with weight gain and obesity has led to a significant decline in the consumption of cookies over the last few years. The role of oats in the recipe is to enrich […]
  • “Quit Meat” Vegetarian Diet: Pros and Cons Although many dieticians think that meat is an essential nutrient, the reality is that it is inappropriate to eat animals because it is unhealthy and unethical.
  • Protein Diet, Telomere Length, and Cancer Based on the premise that cancerous cells rely on the process of glycolysis in generating high energy, Ho et al.undertook a study to determine the effect of diets with low carbohydrate and high protein and […]
  • Healthy Diet at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital The media, the models, and the promotion of the fresh farm produce are primary methods for enhancing healthy food practices. The hospital should improve the quality of the food it is offering to the patients.
  • Vegetarian Diet: Pros and Cons On the contrary, the study A Comparison of Some of the Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Vegetarian and Omnivorous Turkish Females by Karabudak, Kiziltan, and Cigerim portrayed that vegetarians had higher risks of hyperhomocysteinaemia and lower […]
  • Healthy You: Diets and Food This kind of diet is one of the reasons for the nation’s obesity problem. Adding more fruits and vegetables those to the menu instead of a sandwich would help me facilitate a healthier diet.
  • American Health and Diet Improvement Content analysis and the description of American food literacy may create a solid basis for future research in terms of which it is possible to develop new interventions for the population and helpful healthy eating […]
  • Lifelong Activity Plan: Movement, Relationships, Diet As long as one feels that someone will provide assistance in case of an obstacle or a problem, the possibility of following the program will increase. Contrary to what one might assume, losing a certain […]
  • Exercise vs. Diet for Weight Loss The starting point of their research is formulated in the following hypothesis: insufficient physical activity or lack thereof is not a contributor to the global problem of obesity.
  • Wellness Goal: Diets and Exercises for Gaining Lean Body Mass According to the study, the participants who had 33 grams of protein a day during the training period gained lean body mass, while the control group’s results showed no changes in lean body mass.
  • The Motivation to Take a Healthy Diet Various intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence the execution of brain in motivating a person to eat a healthy diet. The limbic structure is directly responsible for reward and motivation, a prerequisite factor for changing of […]
  • The Exercise and Diet’ Implications on Aging Studies have also shown that regular exercise and healthy eating habits among the aging population helps to improve the rate of glucose metabolism in the body.
  • Diet and Nutrition: European Diabetes Also, it is tough to maintain a diet regiment, and it is one of the most significant issues that are present.
  • Fad Diets – Temporary Satisfication These diets are referred to as fad diets, and their major characteristic is that they are extreme diets that people follow as a trend to lose weight.
  • Nutrition: Flexitarian Diet Benefits Today I will demonstrate why adopting a flexetarian diet is good for the animals, the environment, and your health, and suggest how you can become a flexetarian.
  • Fish as a Staple of the Human Diet This resulted in the creation of the earliest agriculture and farming practices which included various means of animal domestication, in the case of fish this came in the form of the first known instances of […]
  • Anti-Inflammatory Diet and IBD Management in Adults The study involved a review of 161 qualitative and quantitative studies to support treatment guidelines for the management of pediatric IBD in the UK.
  • Diet and Exercise Controversies With regard to exercises, some individuals think that they have negative effects while others argue that it is important to exercise regularly.
  • Literature Review on Organic Food and Healthy Diet This paper analyses the prevalence of chronic disease like diabetes and obesity in populations that eat junk foods as opposed to the healthy eating population. The studies of Binkley et al.reveal the link that exists […]
  • Marketing Plan – Halal Diet in the United States The first thing will be the branding of the diet since it will give the diet the aspect of uniqueness in the market.
  • Halal Diet Marketing Plan The last section of this plan discusses marketing control and its applicability; market implementation; the organization of marketing activities; and the contingency planning in marketing, which highlights the potential risks in marketing and alternative measures […]
  • Diet Food Center at the University of California This report is created with the purposes of shedding light on the benefits of establishing diet food center within the University, the need for such a project, literature supporting the idea, and provision of a […]
  • Vegetarian Diet as a Health-Conscious Lifestyle Making a transition from omnivore to vegetarian lifestyle, besides the impact on the person’s health, people consider the public opinion and the community’s reaction on their decision.
  • Medical, Social and Diet Changes and Heart Disease in Middle-Aged Men The questions seek to establish the relationship between the potential causes of heart disease and the occurrence of the disease in the surveyed population.
  • The Problem with Calorie Restrictive Diets However, since they are on a calorie restrictive diet, it is unlikely that they would have the energy to do so.
  • Their Benefits Aside, Human Diets Are Polluting the Environment and Sending Animals to Extinction The fact that the environment and the entire ecosystem have been left unstable in the recent times is in no doubt.
  • When Human Diet Costs Too Much: Biodiversity as the Ultimate Answer to the Global Problems Because of the unreasonable use of the natural resources, environmental pollution and inadequate protection, people have led a number of species to extinction; moreover, due to the increasing rates of consumerist approach towards the food […]
  • Environmental Impact From Meat Based Diets The Water Education Foundation estimates that in order to produce a single pound of beef in the state of California, we require about 2,464 gallons of water.
  • Vegetarian or carnivorous diet However, a diet rich in meat and animal products has been found to have severe detrimental effects to people’s health. A well balanced diet that incorporates both meat and vegetables is essential.
  • Today’s Society Should Move toward Adopting Vegetarian Diet: Arguments For While it is hard for many people to reduce the necessity of eat meat-based products and to increase the use of vegetables and other vegetarian products, however, there is a necessity “to reconsider the increasing […]
  • Balanced Diet and Proper Exercise as Weight Lost Foundation Exercises It is of great importance that any person intending to lose weight embarks on exercising, as this is the other way that one gets to lose some of the weight in the body.
  • Why the Government Should Review and Add Laws Governing Diet Pills Introduction Although such is the case, it is important to note that, majority of diet control pills have adverse effects on individual health, if such individuals never take precaution in their usage.
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2024, February 25). 155 Diet Essay Topic Ideas & Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/diet-essay-topics/

"155 Diet Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." IvyPanda , 25 Feb. 2024, ivypanda.com/essays/topic/diet-essay-topics/.

IvyPanda . (2024) '155 Diet Essay Topic Ideas & Examples'. 25 February.

IvyPanda . 2024. "155 Diet Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." February 25, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/diet-essay-topics/.

1. IvyPanda . "155 Diet Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." February 25, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/diet-essay-topics/.


IvyPanda . "155 Diet Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." February 25, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/diet-essay-topics/.

  • Weight Loss Essay Titles
  • Dietary Supplements Questions
  • Metabolism Research Topics
  • Obesity Ideas
  • Anorexia Essay Ideas
  • Sugar Paper Topics
  • Allergy Research Ideas
  • Childhood Obesity Research Ideas
  • Diabetes Questions
  • Veganism Essay Ideas
  • Malnutrition Titles
  • Fast Food Essay Titles
  • Vitamins Research Topics
  • Fitness Topics
  • Bulimia Topics

Search form

Ncd alliance.

Unhealthy diets and malnutrition

Unhealthy diets and malnutrition

Home / why ncds / risk factors & prevention / unhealthy diets and malnutrition.

poor diet essay

  • Unhealthy diets and the resulting malnutrition are major drivers of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) around the world.
  • Malnutrition includes undernutrition, overweight and obesity, and other diet-related NCDs like type 2 diabetes , cardiovascular disease (heart diseases) and stroke, and some cancers .
  • What people eat has changed dramatically over the last few decades. This has been driven by shifts towards calorific and fatty foods, eating out, and an increase in food portion sizes, combined with a lower intake of fruit, vegetables, and high-fibre foods.
  • Healthy diets are unaffordable for the poor in every region of the world and people are increasingly exposed to ultra-processed, unhealthy foods and diets that lead to poorer health.
  • Policy solutions to tackle poor diets are considered low-cost. The World Health Organization (WHO) ‘Best Buys’ include interventions to reduce salt and sugar intake, such as front-of-pack labelling, fiscal tools and educational initiatives, and measures to eliminate industrial trans-fats.

Malnutrition occurs when the body is not receiving enough of the right nutrients to function properly. This can present as under-nutrition, such as wasting and stunting, but also as overweight, obesity, and diet-related NCDs such as cardiovascular disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Many countries now experience a ‘double burden’ of malnutrition. This is where under-nutrition occurs alongside over-nutrition, where unhealthy diets are contributing to unhealthy weight gain and diet-related poor health.[ 1] These unhealthy diets consist of food and drinks with high levels of energy (calories), salt, sugar, and fats, notably industrial trans fats (also known as trans-fatty acids, TFAs or iTFA).

Around the world, 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese, while 462 million are underweight.[ 2 ] In a study that looked at global deaths from 1990 to 2017, it was found that one in every five deaths were the result of poor nutrition. [3 ]

What is a healthy diet?

According to the WHO, healthy diets are rich in fibre, fruit, vegetables, lentils, beans, nuts, and wholegrains. These diets are balanced, diverse and meet a person’s macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate and fibre) and micronutrient (minerals and vitamins) needs depending on their stage of life.

Generally, healthy diets contain:

  • Fat intake of less than 30% of total energy. These should be mainly unsaturated fats, with less from saturated fats. Trans fats should not be consumed.
  • Sugar intake of less than 10% of total energy, but preferably less than 5%.
  • Salt intake of less than 5g per day.
  • Fruit and vegetables intake at least 400g per day.[ 4 ]

Food systems and changes in the way we eat

A person’s ability to maintain a healthy diet is often not within their control – it is influenced by the food environment where they live, early life nutrition, income, and accessibility.[ 5 ] The ‘food system’ refers to all processes of getting food from production to our plates. The food system is often dictated by location, climate, culture, consumer behaviour, industry practices and the regulatory environment, among other factors.

Rise in ultra-processed foods and drinks

Over several decades, dietary habits have changed dramatically around the world. Globalisation and urbanisation have paved the way for a rise in convenience food and drinks products, junk food, and eating out, with fewer people growing or making their food from scratch.

These cheap and ready-to-consume food and drinks products are often ‘ultra-processed’ and high in calories, fats, salt and sugar and low in nutrients. They are produced to be hyper-palatable and attractive to the consumer, like burgers, crisps, biscuits, confectionery, cereal bars, and sugary drinks.[ 6 ]

Ultra-processed foods and drinks typically have a long shelf life, making them appealing for businesses like supermarkets, rather than highly perishable fresh goods. Intensive marketing by the industry – especially to children – has also increased the consumption of these types of goods. Increasingly, these products are displacing fresh, nutritious, and minimally processed goods, shifting population diets and food systems.

Vulnerable populations and poorer people in all parts of the world struggle to access and maintain a healthy diet. It is in these settings where ultra-processed food and beverage products are most prevalent. An estimated three billion people cannot afford healthier food choices with poverty negatively impacting the nutritional quality of food.[ 7 ]

Which diseases are linked to unhealthy diets and malnutrition?

Unhealthy diets and resulting malnutrition are linked to several noncommunicable diseases, including:

  • Overweight and obesity – also associated with elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, cancers and resistance to the action of insulin.
  • Cardiovascular disease (heart disease) and stroke.
  • Type 2 diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Some cancers – including oesophageal cancer; tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer; lip and oral cavity cancer; nasopharynx cancer; colon and rectum cancer.[ 8 ]

These diseases are driven by common dietary risk factors, including:

  • High salt intake – a leading dietary risk factor for death and illness worldwide. High salt consumption increases blood pressure, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, chronic kidney disease and some cancers.
  • High sugar intake – excess sugars can contribute to tooth decay and weight gain, leading to overweight and obesity, as well as higher blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and some cancers.[ 9 ]
  • High trans fats intake – linked to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Low fruit and veg intake – linked to several cancers, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Low intake of fibres, grains, nuts, seeds, micronutrients – linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and some cancers.[ 10 ]

Childhood malnutrition

Early life nutrition has important impacts on the likelihood of disease and poor health later in life. But childhood malnutrition remains one of the biggest challenges in public health today.

In 2020, an estimated 22% and 7% of children under five were affected by stunting and wasting, respectively, and 7% were overweight. Most of these children live in lower- and middle-income countries. Asia and Africa account for nine out of ten of all children with stunting and wasting and more than seven out of ten children who are affected by overweight. [11 ]

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure the development of a healthy immune system in children, protecting against childhood malnutrition and poor health throughout the life course. But aggressive marketing of formula and baby foods seeds doubt in mothers, compromising breastfeeding and other healthy feeding practices in early childhood.[ 12 ] Policies that protect and promote breastfeeding, including the regulation of breast milk substitute industry, are critical public health interventions.

What can be done to tackle unhealthy diets and malnutrition?

Strategies to tackle unhealthy diets and malnutrition – leading to overweight, obesity and many noncommunicable diseases – should be part of a comprehensive package of policies that aim to improve the food system.

One of the most straightforward nutrition policies is the elimination of industrially-produced trans fats, or trans fatty acids (iTFA), from the global food supply. If all countries removed this harmful compound that causes heart disease, 17 million lives could be saved by 2040. An additional estimated 2.5 million deaths could be prevented each year if global salt consumption were reduced to the recommended level. [13 ]

Implementing strong nutrition policies will not only accelerate progress towards global NCD targets – but is essential to build healthier and more resilient populations that are better prepared to deal with future health emergencies, such as COVID-19.

What’s more, many nutrition measures are considered cost-effective by the WHO and included in their ‘Best Buys’ of recommended interventions to reduce the burden of NCDs around the world. [14 ]

Specific measures include:

  • Reformulation of food and drinks products to contain less salt, sugar and fats – with the goal of eliminating all trans-fats.
  • Limiting marketing and promotion of unhealthy food and drink products – especially to children and adolescents, including online and in places where they congregate.
  • Front-of-pack nutrition labels which clearly warn of the high content of ingredients including fats, sugar, and salt. Front-of-pack labelling systems have now been implemented in more than 30 countries (where governments have led and supported their development), and systems are under development in many other countries.
  • Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce sugar consumption.
  • Subsidies on fruit and vegetables to increase intake of healthier food choices.
  • Increasing incentives for producers and retailers to grow, use and sell fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Protecting and promoting breastfeeding.
  • Promoting awareness of better nutrition through mass media campaigns.
  • Nutrition education and counselling in preschools, schools, workplaces and health centres.

Case study: Bold action in Mexico leads the way

*NCD Alliance acknowledges support from Resolve to Save Lives in the production of this video.

Mexico has among the highest prevalence of diet-related NCDs and obesity in the world. Around three-quarters of people in Mexico live with overweight or obesity, including one-third of all children. Diet-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension are rising in prevalence.

Mexico has been taking big steps to improve health by reducing the high prevalence of largely preventable chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. But the government and health civil society have faced fierce challenges from the big businesses behind the products that are making people sick. As the pandemic took hold in 2020, and world leaders debated the crisis, the Mexican Minister of Health drew attention to how neglecting to prevent NCDs had made the world’s people more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.

Health authorities urged Mexicans to transition to healthier diets and habits to reduce the COVID-19 burden. Yet the junk food industry continues to operate despite the government’s efforts, using the pandemic food crisis to put foods high in sugar, salt and fat into children’s hands as much as possible, with no regard to the harmful impact of these foods.

So, while the Mexican federal government persists with its effective soda tax, they have also strengthened their position with strong front-of-pack labelling and trans-fats elimination to create healthier environments for the people of Mexico.

“The tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Mexico is projected to prevent 239,900 instances of obesity, of which almost 40% would be among children.”

But impatient for Federal regulations to come into force and be implemented, Congress in the region of Oaxaca went a step further, voting to ban the sale of junk food to children altogether and placing the control of purchasing into the hands of parents. The Ley Anti Charra (Anti-Junk Food Law), applies to stores, schools and vending machines. Enforcement is complex, but there is strong public support to defend the health of the most vulnerable population: children. One thing is for sure, with rates of obesity and diet-related NCDs rising in most countries, more must take bigger, braver steps like Mexico to fix food systems and protect children from the foods and drinks that are making us all sick.

Page last updated in November 2021

Turning the table: Fighting back against the junk food industry

Turning the table: Fighting back against the junk food industry

In the lead up to World Diabetes Day on 14 November, and Nutrition for Growth Summit in December, this new blog from Lucy Westerman looks at governments taking action to ensure access to healthy diets for kids.

Subscribe to updates

The Effects of Poor Nutrition on Your Health

Closeup of home made burgers on wooden background

Poor nutrition habits can be a behavioral health issue, because nutrition and diet affect how you feel, look, think and act. A bad diet results in lower core strength, slower problem solving ability and muscle response time, and less alertness. Poor nutrition creates many other negative health effects as well.


Video of the Day

According to a National Center of Health Statistics 2003 survey, about 65.2 percent of American adults have overweight or obesity as a result of poor nutrition. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more. Having overweight puts people at risk for developing a host of disorders and conditions, some of them life-threatening.


The National Institutes of Health reports that hypertension is one of the possible outcomes of poor nutrition. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is called the silent killer, because it frequently remains undetected and thus untreated until damage to the body has been done. Eating too much ultra-processed food, fried food, salt, sugar, dairy products, caffeine and refined food can cause hypertension.

High Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Poor nutrition can lead to high cholesterol, which is a primary contributor to heart disease. High fat diets are common in the United States and Canada. The National Institutes of Health reports that more than 500,000 people in the United States die each year due to heart disease, which can be caused by a high fat diet. High cholesterol foods contain a large amount of saturated fat. Examples include ice cream, eggs, cheese, butter and beef. Instead of high fat foods, choose lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish and seafood and avoid processed foods.

Diabetes also can be linked to poor nutrition. Some forms of the disease can result from consuming a sugar- and fat-laden diet, leading to weight gain. According to the National Institute of Health, about 8 percent of the American population has diabetes.

A stroke that is caused by plaque that builds up in a blood vessel, then breaks free as a clot that travels to your brain and creates a blockage can be linked to poor nutrition. Strokes damage the brain and impair functioning, sometimes leading to death. Foods high in salt, fat and cholesterol increase your risk for stroke.

According to the National Institutes of Health, poor nutrition can lead to gout. With gout, uric acid buildup results in the formation of crystals in your joints. The painful swelling associated with gout can lead to permanent joint damage. A diet that is high in fat or cholesterol can cause gout. Some seafood--sardines, mussels, oysters and scallops--as well as red meat, poultry, pork, butter, whole milk, ice cream and cheese can increase the amount of uric acid in your body, causing gout.

According to the National Institutes of Health, several types of cancer, including bladder, colon and breast cancers, may be partially caused by poor dietary habits. Limit your intake of foods that contains refined sugars, nitrates and hydrogenated oils, including hot dogs, processed meats, bacon, doughnuts and french fries.

  • National Institutes of Health
  • International Association of Fire Fighters
  • National Center for Health Statistics

Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.

Report an Issue

Screenshot loading...

Home — Essay Samples — Nursing & Health — Eating Habits — The Causes, Effects, And Solution Of Poor Nutrition In Children


The Causes and Effects of Poor Nutrition in Children

  • Categories: Eating Habits

About this sample


Words: 1240 |

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Words: 1240 | Pages: 3 | 7 min read

Table of contents

Causes of poor nutrition, what are the effects of bad nutrition (essay), works cited.

  • Roblin, J. (2007). The influence of advertising on children’s food choices. Pediatrics & Child Health, 12(2), 105–108.
  • Pollert, G. A., Kauffman, M., & Veilleux, J. (2016). The effects of poor nutrition on children. In V. R. Preedy (Ed.), Handbook of Children’s Health: Global and Local Perspectives (pp. 149-159). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-14526-8_13
  • Brown, K. A., & Ogden, J. (2004). Children's eating attitudes and behaviour: A study of the modelling and control theories of parental influence. Health Education Research, 19(3), 261-271.
  • Cimino, A., Cerniglia, L., Paciello, M., & Alicart, H. (2019). An exploratory study on eating habits and their relation with psychological well-being in a sample of Italian primary school children. Eating and Weight Disorders, 24(4), 723–733. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-019-00680-3
  • Contento, I. R. (2008). Nutrition education: Linking research, theory, and practice. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
  • Nwokocha, L. M., & Williams, D. E. (2021). Understanding the global burden of childhood malnutrition: An overview of the causes, consequences, and solutions. Journal of Global Health Reports, 5, e2021035. https://doi.org/10.29392/joghr.5.e2021035
  • Lopes, L., Pinto, A., Rodrigues, L. P., & Moreira, P. (2020). Impact of parents’ eating habits and behavior on children’s food intake and preferences. Appetite, 146, 104512.
  • Serra-Majem, L., Ribas-Barba, L., & Salvador Castell, G. (2006). What and how much do we need to know about food and nutrition in children and young people? British Journal of Nutrition, 96(S1), S3-S9.
  • Skouteris, H., McCabe, M., Swinburn, B., Hill, B., & Busija, L. (2006). A parent-focused intervention to reduce infant obesity risk behaviors: A randomized trial. Pediatrics, 117(5), 1629-1638.
  • Veugelers, P. J., & Fitzgerald, A. L. (2005). Effectiveness of school programs in preventing childhood obesity: A multilevel comparison. American Journal of Public Health, 95(3), 432-435.

Image of Alex Wood

Cite this Essay

Let us write you an essay from scratch

  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours

Get high-quality help


Verified writer

  • Expert in: Nursing & Health


+ 120 experts online

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy . We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

No need to pay just yet!

Related Essays

2 pages / 864 words

2 pages / 1071 words

2 pages / 1019 words

2 pages / 1118 words

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

121 writers online

The Causes and Effects of Poor Nutrition in Children Essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled

Related Essays on Eating Habits

European Food Information Council. (n.d.). Mediterranean diet. Retrieved from 2274-2284.

Campbell, B., Kreider, R. B., Ziegenfuss, T., La Bounty, P., Roberts, M., Burke, D., ... & Antonio, J. (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society [...]

One of the perennial debates in the realm of high school education revolves around the question of whether students should have open campus lunch periods. Open campus lunch, which allows students to leave school grounds during [...]

As a college student, it can be challenging to balance academics, social life, and self-care. Many students overlook the significance of self-care and healthy eating, which can lead to burnout and other health issues. In this [...]

To have a generally healthy body, you should try to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, you are not maintaining a generally healthy body. Calories are a unit of measurement. You eat calories from food and that [...]

In Radley Balko’s essay “What You Eat Is Your Business,” he argues that what we put into our bodies is our business, and it is our responsibility to make healthy choices. The widespread epidemic of obesity can only be solved if [...]

Related Topics

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement . We will occasionally send you account related emails.

Where do you want us to send this sample?

By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

Be careful. This essay is not unique

This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

Download this Sample

Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts

Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.

Please check your inbox.

We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!

Get Your Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

We use cookies to personalyze your web-site experience. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy .

  • Instructions Followed To The Letter
  • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
  • Unique And Plagiarism Free

poor diet essay

Balanced Diet Essay for Students and Children

500 words essay on balanced diet.

We have grown up listening to the term ‘balanced diet’ in science. It refers to a diet that has all the essential nutrients and minerals that will keep us healthy. Having a balanced diet has been encouraged by our childhood. After all, it is important in keeping our health well.

Balanced Diet Essay

A person intakes appropriate amounts of proteins, minerals, and nutrients in a balanced diet. It is quite necessary for the smooth functioning of our body. If we consume a balanced diet regularly, we will always remain healthy. It lessens any chances of falling ill. Moreover, a balanced diet also boosts our immunity system.

Importance of a Balanced Diet

Most people believe that a balanced diet is definitely the key to a healthy lifestyle. It is rightly believed as even scientists say so. When we always consume a balanced diet, we will maintain our physical as well as mental health. A balanced diet must contain the proper foods that are consumed in apt quantities. A perfect balanced diet is composed of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, high fiber content, vitamins, and more.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Moreover, nowadays the trend of junk food is here to stay. People are not taking a balanced diet rather eating all sorts of harmful foods. It is more important than ever to tell people about the importance of a balanced diet. You cannot merely exercise and expect your body to stay fit. A balanced diet is crucial for that.

Most importantly, it is called a ‘balanced’ diet because it requires all the foods to be eaten in a balanced manner. For instance, if you intake large amounts of carbohydrates and a little amount of protein, then that will not be called a balanced diet, even if you are eating the right foods. The balance needs to be maintained for that.

How to Have a Balanced Diet?

One can always adopt a healthy lifestyle by starting to consume a balanced diet. Firstly, one must definitely increase the amount of liquid to consume in a day. Fluids are very important for the human body to function healthily. As almost 80% of our body is filled with water, we need it for good metabolism. Thus, start with drinking at least two to three liters of water every day. Moreover, try cutting down on the consumption of tea, coffee, alcohol, and other such addictive liquids.

Furthermore, one must always eat fresh vegetables and fruits. As fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of fiber and vitamins, we must consume them for good body growth. Try to avoid eating deep-fried or overcooked food as it loses all its nutrients. The balanced diet must have the five essential elements, i.e. bitter, sour, sweet, pungent and salty. Also, the emphasis is on fresh fruits because the processed or packed ones do not have nutrients.

Most importantly, always chew your food patiently. Do not just swallow it after chewing for four-five times. This way your food won’t get digested properly. Savor the food slowly and steadily. Next, do not eat in excess. You must know when to draw the line and stop when you don’t have the appetite. Therefore, we see how a balanced diet will keep you healthy and fit. It will improve the quality of your life and keep all the illnesses away.

FAQs on Balanced Diet Essay

Q.1 Why is a balanced diet important?

A.1 Balanced diet is important because it keeps us fit and fine. It also prevents any illnesses or diseases.

Q.2 How can we have a balanced diet?

A.2 One can have a balanced diet by having a good amount of water. Furthermore, one must always consume fresh foods and chew slowly for proper digestion.

Customize your course in 30 seconds

Which class are you in.


  • Travelling Essay
  • Picnic Essay
  • Our Country Essay
  • My Parents Essay
  • Essay on Favourite Personality
  • Essay on Memorable Day of My Life
  • Essay on Knowledge is Power
  • Essay on Gurpurab
  • Essay on My Favourite Season
  • Essay on Types of Sports

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Download the App

Google Play


  1. Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing?

    Poor nutrition may be a causal factor in the experience of low mood, and improving diet may help to protect not only the physical health but also the mental health of the population, say Joseph Firth and colleagues ### Key messages Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health conditions worldwide, making them a leading cause of disability.1 Even beyond diagnosed conditions ...

  2. Food Inequality: How Poor Nutrition Affects Health & Wealth

    In Virginia, 276 juvenile delinquents at a detention facility housing particularly hardened adolescents were put on the diet for two years. During that time, the incidence of theft dropped 77%, insubordination dropped 55%, and hyperactivity dropped 65%. In Los Angeles County probation detention halls, 1,382 youths were put on the diet.

  3. Poor Nutrition

    Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke. Current guidelines recommend getting less than 2,300 mg a day, but Americans consume more than 3,400 mg a day on average. Over 70% of the sodium that Americans eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought, and restaurant foods.

  4. Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing?

    The effects of certain foods or dietary patterns on glycaemia, immune activation, and the gut microbiome may play a role in the relationships between food and mood. More research is needed to understand the mechanisms that link food and mental wellbeing and determine how and when nutrition can be used to improve mental health. 3 fig 1 4.

  5. poor diet essay

    Poor Urban Community Diet Analysis. Jessica Cruz Professor Greer Philosophy 76 26 July 2015 Poor urban communities have unhealthy diets by choice According to current westernized medical knowledge and practices, diet plays a major role in human health. It is also understood, and clearly demonstrated, that poor urban populations tend to have ...

  6. Opinion

    The answer is staring us in the face, on average three times a day: our food. Poor diet is the leading cause of mortality in the United States, causing more than half a million deaths per year ...

  7. Poor Nutrition and its Effects on Learning

    Essay Example: Nutrition is essential to human welfare, however, numerous number of people are badly affected by poor nutrition especially children. Malnutrition is a major concern which ranges from undernutrition to problems of overweight and obesity. It's usually caused by deficiency in.

  8. Evaluation of Eating Habits and Their Impact on Health among

    Poor nutrition behaviours may contribute to many disorders, such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and posture defects . Unfortunately, the results of many studies in Poland indicate an increase in nutrition irregularities, especially among children and adolescents. According to the recommendations concerning nutrition ...

  9. Dietary Consumption: Strategies for Healthy Eating Essay (Speech)

    Poor nutrition. CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Web. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2021b). Only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits or vegetables. Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Web. DietaryGuidelines.gov. (2020). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. Web.

  10. 12.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Healthy Diets from ...

    Hunger and Nutrition. annotated text Headings and Subheadings. Throughout the essay, Tran has created headings and subheadings to help organize her argument and clarify it for readers. end annotated text. public domain text More than 820 million people around the world do not have enough to eat. At the same time, about a third of all grains and ...

  11. Defining a Healthy Diet: Evidence for the Role of Contemporary Dietary

    2. Components of a Healthy Diet and Their Benefits. A healthy diet is one in which macronutrients are consumed in appropriate proportions to support energetic and physiologic needs without excess intake while also providing sufficient micronutrients and hydration to meet the physiologic needs of the body [].Macronutrients (i.e., carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) provide the energy necessary ...

  12. Nutrition Essays

    The Best Nutrition Essay Prompts to Kickstart Your Writing. Embarking on the journey of writing a nutrition essay begins with understanding the prompt. A well-chosen prompt can illuminate the path to a compelling narrative, enriched with insightful analyses and groundbreaking conclusions. ... In humans, poor nutrition can cause deficiency ...

  13. 155 Diet Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

    The effect of low-carb foods is tremendous and ensures that other nutrients are included in the diet. The Aspects of the Ketogenic Diet. The claim behind the ketogenic diet is that it is beneficial to one's health because it is low in carbohydrates and rich in fat. Aspects of the Ketogenic Diet: Pros and Cons.

  14. Persuasive Essay on Eating Healthy

    With the rise in fast food and processed snacks, the need for a balanced and nutritious diet is often overlooked. The consequences of poor eating habits can be detrimental to our physical and mental health, leading to a myriad of health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, among others. This essay will explore the benefits of ...

  15. Nutrition Essay

    This essay will aim to discuss why nutrition is so essential, outline the components of a nutritious diet, and explore the consequences of poor nutrition. By understanding how our diet affects our overall health, we can strive towards making informed decisions about our food choices and work towards a healthier way of living.

  16. Diet Related Non Communicable Diseases

    This is where under-nutrition occurs alongside over-nutrition, where unhealthy diets are contributing to unhealthy weight gain and diet-related poor health.[1] These unhealthy diets consist of food and drinks with high levels of energy (calories), salt, sugar, and fats, notably industrial trans fats (also known as trans-fatty acids, TFAs or iTFA).

  17. The Effects of Poor Nutrition on Your Health

    According to the National Institutes of Health, poor nutrition can lead to gout. With gout, uric acid buildup results in the formation of crystals in your joints. The painful swelling associated with gout can lead to permanent joint damage. A diet that is high in fat or cholesterol can cause gout. Some seafood--sardines, mussels, oysters and ...

  18. The Causes and Effects of Poor Nutrition in Children

    This essay discusses the causes and effects of poor nutrition among children, as well as a proposed solution to the problem. Say no to plagiarism. Get a tailor-made essay on ... What are the effects of bad nutrition? (essay) Pollert, Kauffman, & Veilleux (2016) stated that, like all the problems in the world there are two sides of parts, one ...

  19. The relationship between nutrition and the immune system

    Introduction. Food, nutrition and health are highly interrelated and consumption of specific nutrients have a profound impact on human health. The amount and type of nutrients consumed are tightly linked to the metabolic stage and the immune health and thus, inappropriate nutrient consumption is associated with development of major human diseases due to an immune system not properly ...

  20. Balanced Diet Essay for Students and Children

    Try to avoid eating deep-fried or overcooked food as it loses all its nutrients. The balanced diet must have the five essential elements, i.e. bitter, sour, sweet, pungent and salty. Also, the emphasis is on fresh fruits because the processed or packed ones do not have nutrients. Most importantly, always chew your food patiently.

  21. The effect of poor diet

    Poor health, linked to diet, has increased across all social classes but is more pronounced among manual classes. ( Babb et al; 2004) Barry and Yuill (2008) highlight statistics that show that people living in poverty make bad nutritional choices and diets are often high in fat and sugar leading to heart disease and increased risk of certain ...

  22. the effects of poor diets essay

    You Are What You Eat: The Detrimental Effects of a Poor Diet. way or which it was intended food nourishes our body and keeps you alive, but when abused I can be fatal. According to an article by nbcnews.com in 1990 poor eating habits, smoking, and a lack of exercise was responsible for 700,000 premature deaths among Americans.