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Nutrition - Healthy Versus Unhealthy Tori Gwilt & Kymberly Otremba Ferris State University


The purpose of this paper is to detail healthy versus unhealthy eating and show how it affects the human body. It will compare and contrast unhealthy versus healthy. It will explain the food pyramid and show the calculation for body mass index (BMI). A variety of resources were used to develop this paper and support our theory.

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY Nutrition - Healthy Versus Unhealthy Nutrition is a necessity of life. It is used to sustain each human as the body craves the vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fats, and other vital substances present in food. This aids in the

growth, strength, and continued activity of the human race. Food, however, is a way of life. It is used to celebrate and commemorate special occasions, grieve the loss of something or someone, and pass the time when boredom occurs. In todays society, food has become less about sustenance and more about indulgence and satisfaction. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast a healthy versus unhealthy diet. This paper will also address the health factors associated with each diet. In addition, this paper will briefly discuss some reasons for the vast obesity problem in America and its result in healthcare. According to an article written by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is a leading factor for many health related problems in humans. The cause of obesity may be related to many different factors, but the most common include increase caloric consumption coupled with a decrease in physical activity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that overweight and obesity and their associated health problems have a significant economic impact on the U.S. health care system (2012). This same article states that the medical care costs of obesity in the United Statestotaled about $147 billion in 2008 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). Healthy Diet The importance of a healthy and nutritious diet is not to be underestimated. The United States Department of Agriculture developed and published a guide in an effort to aid and direct citizens of this country in choosing the proper types and amount of foods to consume. This booklet, entitled The Food Guide Pyramid, depicts information about the nutritional content of

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY different foods. This guide also contains an illustration to show readers six different food groups, each with a recommended consumption rate. According to this guide, each person should consume between 6-11 servings of grains, 3-5 portions of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, 2-3 portions of protein from meat, beans, nuts, and eggs, 2-3 servings of milk and cheese, and a very small amount of fats, oils, and sugar per day. According to the United States

Department of Agriculture (2013), the Food Pyramid is not a rigid prescription, but a general guide that lets you choose a healthful diet thats right for you. An article written by the National Institute of Health states that the best way to give your body the balanced nutrition it needs is by eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day (2013). In correlation with this statement, one section in The Food Guide Pyramid details the optimal dietary recommendations specific to Americans. This guide recommends eating a diet filled with healthy grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins in order to sustain and energize the body. A food regimen that contains a decreased amount of fats and cholesterol will aid in diminishing the chance of a myocardial infarction as well as help with weight reduction and maintenance. Although many Americans consume many sugary substances, this guide recommends a restrained amount of sugar due to its high caloric content and low health content. Eating an abundance of sugar will not only increase the amount of calories consumed, but also promote degeneration of the teeth. In addition, if alcohol is consumed, it is recommended in limited quantities. Alcohol is full of sugar and provides many calories, yet little nutritional support. Also, excessive alcohol use has the ability to cause degeneration to the liver as well as physical dependence issues. This guide states the importance of following a proportional eating and exercise plan in an effort to increase the health of the human body. This proposal states that abiding by this plan will aid in weight management as well as healthy organs, such as the heart

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY and lungs. This type of plan will also decrease the probability of dealing with health related

issues such as hypertension, cerebrovascular accident, type II diabetes, and some types of cancer (United States Department of Agriculture, 2013). In light of this information, it is important to note that a healthy diet in conjunction with regular exercise can surely promote a healthy lifestyle. The United States Department of Agriculture notes that each of these food groups provides some, but not all, of the nutrients you needno one food group is more important than another for good health, you need them all (2013).

Unhealthy Diet Americans obsession with fast food, sugary treats and processed carbohydrates aid in expanding waistlines and clogging arteries. When a person indulges in unhealthy foods such as fast food items, processed foods and refined sugars, you are depriving your body of the healthy nutrients it needs to perform properly. You do not get the vitamins you need from these foods. When and how you eat may be just as important as what you eat. When you skip meals, eat out of boredom or consume unnecessary or unhealthy foods, you are creating and maintaining bad habits that contribute to a poor diet. Poor eating habits will make you overweight, prone to sickness or serious illness. According to an article by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the top three causes of death are related to poor diet. (2011). Obesity increases your risk for chronic health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some kinds of cancer. There are many easy things that can be done to change unhealthy eating habits. Small changes can lead to weight loss, a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and increased overall health.

NUTRITION - HEALTHY VERSUS UNHEALTHY Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. To calculate your BMI you multiply your height by your weight. There are four result categories, underweight: BMI < 18.5, Normal weight: BMI 18.5-24.9, Overweight: BMI 25-29.9, and Obesity: BMI > 30. 35% of Americans are obese and Michigan is even more obese at 37.5%. Proper nutrition and exercise will help reduce a BMI and create overall health. As mentioned

before, the Department of Agriculture (2013) states the food pyramid is a general guide that lets you choose a healthy diet thats right for you. A major problem in the United States is the consumption of fast food. According to McDonalds (2012), Continuous improvement is a journey, not a destination. Over the last 55 years McDonalds claims to continuously change their menu to meet the needs of evolving clients. They state, They have a goal of giving you and your family a nutritious meal you can feel good about. Here are the facts: a cheeseburger, small French fry, and small diet coke meal at McDonalds has a combined 530 calories, 23 grams of fat and 840 mg of sodium. When comparing this to the recommended food pyramid guide, you can see the numbers are off the charts, and do not include have of the pyramid. This is one meal and one of the smallest meals that are offered at McDonalds restaurant. This is not nutritious or a meal that you or your family can feel good about. Conclusion In conclusion, nutrition is a necessity of life to maintain overall health and prevent disease. Food needs to be used to fuel the body. Obesity is the leading health problem in the United States and caused mainly by increased caloric intake and low physical activity. A healthy BMI of 18.5 24.9 is essential to disease prevention and overall health. The food pyramid is a guide to proper consumption to aid in choosing a healthy diet that is right for you.


References McDonalds Restaurant. (2012) Food, Quality, and Nutrition. Retrieved from Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Causes and consequences what causes overweight and obesity? Retrieved from obesity/adult/causes/index.html The National Institute of Health. (2013). Healthy eating plan. Departmnt of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from obesity/lose_wt/calories.htm United States Department of Agriculture. (2013). The food guide pyramid. Retrieved from FGP/FGPPamphlet.pdf